Right before you go for a big lift you need to be mentally ready. Many CrossFitters don’t know or take the proper steps before a max effort. Let’s take a deeper look at some key aspects of a pre-lift routine so that you can lift really heavy stuff.

Katie Hogan is one of the strongest women in CrossFit, she has competed in the CrossFit Games and she understands what it takes to make a big lift, when it counts. We collaborated on this topic to give you guys the best info possible.

katie_hoganPart 1 – Interview with Katie Hogan

Dawn: Why do you think people miss lifts (mental/psychological reasons)?

Katie: I think a lot of times athletes are not fully prepared for what they are about to do. Their body may have practiced it plenty of times, but there is a mental focus and intensity that is necessary for successfully executing heavy lifts. Just watch any competitive lifter (power or Olympic) and you will see the mental side of successful lifting.

Dawn: What do you see as the biggest mistake CrossFitters make when approaching a barbell for a max effort?

Katie: In training, I see some athletes rush their set-up. Physically they are skipping over key preparations and just getting straight to the movement. I try to get athletes to visualize their lift from start to finish several times before approaching the bar. This way it slows them down and gets their mind prepared. Then they can more imagine both the technical side of the movement as well as the energy and explosiveness that is necessary as well.

Dawn: Have you ever missed a big lift because of a mental mistake or lapse? If so, describe.

Katie: Definitely! In training I find it much more difficult to focus than in competition. Adrenaline is just never quite as high, and there are usually a lot of distractions in the gym around me; basically, my headspace isn’t exactly what it should be. Many times when I’m lifting in practice I will have to walk away from the bar, envision the lift, and dig up some intensity before re-attempting.

Part 2 – Dawn’s 6 Tips For Building a Pre-Lift Routine

  1. Begin with a stomp, a clap, a yell or a loud nose. Either that, or smack your leg, shake your head or have a physical cue to yourself. This should occur before you even begin your approach to the bar. It will help you enter the zone and know that IT IS TIME TO GO!
  2. Stare at the bar and nothing else; do not let your eyes come up for a second until you are done with the approach and the lift.
  3. Set your feet and hands/grip the same way each time
  4. Have 1 or 2 go to short and sweet slogans that you can use right before you take your final deep breath. These should be cues to yourself or simply to fire yourself up (*For more go to fletcherfitness.com and itf-fitness.com to see the video pieces Katie & Dawn put together)
  5. If you have never had a pre-lift routine, watch videos or spy on other athletes who have been lifting heavy for a while. Ask them about their routines and begin to build your own.
  6. Practice different routines and psyching yourself up different ways to see what works. Play with it a little and then dial it in. Once it is dialed in, be consistent in your practice. The more consistent you are the more you will be able to block out irrelevant and distracting cues.

For further details and insight as well as to see Katie’s specific pre-lift ritual head to itf-fitness.com and fletcherfitness.com – make sure to follow these girls on Twitter @KatieHogan777 & @FletcherFitness

Dawn Fletcher, CSCS (owner of www.FletcherFitness.com | @FletcherFitness) has an M.A. in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport Psychology. She is a CrossFit Coach and has been featured numerous times in The CrossFit Journal for her articles and videos on the mental aspect of sport. Her online programs and one-on-one Mental Performance Training Sessions help athletes perform their best when it matters the most.

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