Techniques For Psyching Up Before Powerlifting Competitions

We’ve all heard the tales of a woman who physically picked up a car to rescue her child trapped underneath.  The human body is capable of tremendous feats of strength when adrenaline levels are high.  Emotions can cause people to do things they believed were physically impossible before.  For powerlifters, the ability to place oneself into a state of heightened awareness – and increased adrenaline – can be useful for lifting large amounts of weight in competitions.

The next time you attend a powerlifting meet, don’t just watch the lifts.  Instead, wander to the off-stage/backstage area and observe the actions of the men who are about to lift.  They do some pretty insane things!  Physically, a lifter might have his partner or partners slap him on the head, shoulders or back. The common belief is that with the newfound pain, the body releases a shot of adrenaline which will assist in the lift.  In more extreme competitions, powerlifters might have a friend even punch them in the face prior to lifting.  Having ones’ face tingling is certainly a way to get the body to perform at new levels.

Smelling salts are also used, sniffed by the powerlifter just seconds before he tries the lift.  After all, if smelling salts are putrid enough to awaken an unconscious person, imagine the effects they have on an alert, awake person who intentionally takes a whiff.  The immediate rush of the senses allows the powerlifter to sometimes work beyond previously-best levels. 

Verbal cues from spotters are useful as well.  Hearing your buddy shout things at you – whether positive or negative – can work wonders in encouraging you to get over the hump when pressing up the weight.

Studies have shown that “psyching up” is highly effective for helping athletes to perform at their highest possible level.  We’ve all seen professional athletes do it, whether we realize it or not.  When a basketball star steps to the free throw line in the closing seconds to either win or lose a game with his shots, he mentally prepares himself for the shots.  When a football player stands motionless for a few seconds before the ball is snapped to kick a game-winning field goal, the mental preparation he is engaged in is great.  Athletes of all realms use psyching up methods to perform at their best.  It’s no wonder that powerlifters- attempting to move more weight than many at one time believed humanly possible – use psyching out techniques as well.