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Don’t Fear the Barbell: Managing Your Mind Under the Bar - The Voluntary Hardship Series S15E5

Barbell Logic

47min
This episode may contain explicit content.

Matt & Scott discuss fear of the lifts, especially heavy, PR attempts.

Different people have different fears of different lifts based on history (repeated failure or past injury) and simply how they feel about the lift. Lots of people, for example, are afraid of heavy squats. There’s something about a heavy bar on your back and that you’re folded over in the bottom and--even with properly set safety pins--there’s just no graceful way to fail a squat.

Scott & Matt even share their unusual fears of what might happen when they squat.

Having habits & rituals can help. This way, the lead up to the PR attempt is the same as all the sets that led up to this attempt. 

You can also practice “failing” a rep so that you know that the pins will take the bar and how that feels. Test your safety pins for the bench press as well.

Injury history matters as well. Matt has torn both pecs on the bench press, so when the weight gets heavier for him, that fear is present on rep 1 and the later, grindier reps. 

There is also more irrational fear, which tends to come from misunderstanding just how low risk strength training is (even with bad form). For example, many people fear hurting their back on a heavy squat or deadlift. 

At the end of the day, we can mitigate fear, have rituals, and have safety equipment properly set up, but we have to simply get it done. We have to have a bias for action. The fear won’t disappear. 

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