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How to Focus When Lifting Heavy

When you have worked out for a while, the natural step to take is to want to push your limits and attempt a personal record attempt. Hitting a new personal record in bench press or deadlift is exciting, as it should be, but how do you mentally prepare for something like that? The secret: you must mentally commit to achieving your desired outcome before you even step up to the weight.

This is a skill that takes practice. It requires visualization, concentration, and preparation. If you are physically ready and embody these three mental practices, you will be ready to set some new personal records! How do you do that? See our tips below:


You can do this anywhere! To practice this skill, close your eyes and picture yourself achieving the lift. See yourself in each position feeling confident. Picture yourself excited and happy that you achieved a new record that you’ve been working hard for. This is something that no one can take away from you. Be patient with yourself as you practice visualization. It takes time and your mind can easily get distracted. If that happens, reset and picture your accomplishing the movement again.


This is really important during your set up. When approaching the weight, focus on engaging your core and other muscle groups needed for the lift. If you don’t concentrate on your set up, you will be more prone to injury. I see this a lot when coaching clients. They will either rush the set up and be out of position when starting the lift, or they won’t engage their core, resulting in lower back pain. Take your time to concentrate on what is in front of you. That will give you the best chance to maintain form.


When choosing to attempt a personal record, you must be prepared. This ranges from nutrition, recovery, sleep, and previous workouts. If you are sleep deprived, dehydrated, or low energy, it will be harder for you to achieve a new personal record. If you know about the PR attempt ahead of time, really use that time to load up on good nutrition and sleep. This will make it easier for you to not only hit a new record, it will also help you recover from the workout too!

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