Oh that anxiety…
You know, the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know you’re stepping up to heavy weight.
We all feel it… however, it doesn’t affect us all in the same way.
If you know you’ve missed a lift due to fear, or you feel that fear hampers your training than this video is for you!
FEAR IN WEIGHTLIFTING
Fear in the sport of weightlifting is very common at all levels. In new athletes it can be rampant at any weight, even just the bar.
Typically, I hear things like… “I’m afraid I’m going to hit myself in the face.” Or, “What if I don’t do it correctly?”
Remember, those comments are being said by brand new athletes to the Olympic lifts with training bars in their hands. One is a physical fear, and the other is the fear of making a mistake. Both hold us back in training.
Fear can take many different forms. Here are some of the most common signs of fear.
- Example thought – “Will I ever get better?”
- Example thought – “When I get to this weight things always breakdown…”
- Example feeling – The pit of the stomach pang
- Example thought – “What if I don’t do this correctly?”
There are many more, but I hope you get my point. Now lets look at some things we can do to overcome these fears.
3 FIXES TO HELP WITH FEAR IN WEIGHTLIFTING
- KNOW HOW TO MISS You’d be amazed at how much better a new athlete will move when you show them that they can miss and be ok. Take the moment to practice how to miss. It seems weird but especially when we’re new to these lifts it can make all the difference.
- BREAKDOWN THE MOVEMENT Two example exercises here would be the “Snatch Balance” and “Jerk Balance.” Going overhead with a barbell can be intimidating, but taking time to work the positions overhead to build confidence can help. Remember, both of these exercises can help with technical aspects of the lift, but here we’re using them for confidence.
- REPETITIONS There is no getting around good ol’ fashion work. We have to put our reps in and face our fear. Overtime the fear may still be there you’ll just be able to tune it out.
MISSING PR’S DUE TO FEAR?!
The self-doubt and negative talk that happens when we get to heavy weight is a form of fear. Here is the thing… You’re responsible for it! Not your coach, not your environment… You.
To get through this obstacle you need to work on your mental game. Step one is being aware of it… What thoughts are running through your head as you get to heavier weight? How are you approaching the bar? Is there a difference between what you’re doing with lighter weight?
Once you’re aware of your thoughts and the difference in your approach… It won’t be cured automatically! You have to actively work to be aware of the thought then step away and change the thought… this can take months! 2012 Olympian Holley Mangold talks about this exact process in the video below.
Fear in weightlifting is normal, and it is part of the training. As with your body, your mind will get stronger if you put in the work. Just remember… the fear doesn’t go away… you’ll just be able to work through it.
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March is the founder and owner of The Barbell Beauties which she started in 2015. She is from the Philippines and currently lives in beautiful Thailand with her American husband and daughter. She is an avid Crossfitter and has just started her journey into Muay Thai (kickboxing).