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Heavy Squats and the Mental Game

I love getting a good PR!  It’s one of my favorite things about both running and CrossFit.  I’m constantly pushing myself to beat my last time or weight.  No one else, just me.

Last night was all about squats…front squats.  I find this lift much more challenging than back squats because I have to fight not to lean forward.  I’ve also been dealing with some hip flexor pain for the past 2 weeks so I didn’t know how this was going to play out.  We had to build up to a 1RM (one rep max), so with my squatting partner in crime Kat at the rack, we went for our goal…make that bar our bitch!


The hardest thing about heavy lifting is getting past the mental block of “that’s A LOT of weight!” and into the mindset of I can totally do this!!  We took turns building our weight with multiple reps: 68#/88#/108#.  Then 128# was on the bar.  My previous 1RM was 115# so here’s where the nerves started kicking in.  It was heavy, but I knew I could do it.  When I dropped to the bottom of the squat I felt lower than I had before, probably because of the heavier weight (duh!), so my first thought was “shit, I can’t get out of this!”  But with all my strength and some encouragement from Kat and my coach, I did it.  A 13# PR!

After that, I knew adding more weight was going to be tough so I only added 5# more.  I should’ve been able to complete it, but my head just wasn’t in the game.  I kept thinking of how hard the last one was and at the bottom just couldn’t push through so I dropped the weight.  I think Cleo summed up how I feel about that perfectly…


Am I a tad bid disappointed in myself for not trying just a little harder?  I’d be lying if I said no.  But considering I got a 13# PR with no pain after dealing with hip issues, I’m damn proud of myself today.  Oh and did I mention that the WOD (workout of the day) after all of this consisted of squat cleans…killed that too!

And I’m not the only one who killed it last night, Kat got an INSANE 50# PR on the front squats!  Girl got to 168# and could’ve kept going if we didn’t run out of time.  I think I might have had more fun cheering her on and getting her through that mental block than getting my own PR!

Getting past the “I CAN’T” and into the “I CAN” is something I think every athlete struggles with.  But we put ourselves in extremely challenging situations for a reason.  We know deep down we CAN do these things and they will only make us both mentally and physically stronger.  I know I’m ready to go back and try for that 133#!

How do you get out of the mental game of “I CAN’T” and into “I CAN”?

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3 Responses to Heavy Squats and the Mental Game

  1. Wow! Congrats on the PR! Your one rep max totally kills mine. One day I’ll squat that much. One day! 🙂

  2. […] Monday I had that awesome 13# front squat PR and my legs were feeling a bit sore, so I was hoping last night’s dead lifts weren’t going to be a problem.  My prior PR was 210# and that was tough, but I was going for it.  I started building up to that 1RM (4 x 135#/3 x 165#/1 x 185#/1 x 205#) and all was good.  Dead lifts are probably my favorite lift because I can put these thick thighs to some good use! […]

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