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  • Writer's pictureTom Foxley

Mindset Strategy for Olympic Lifting

If you struggle with Oly Lifting, brace yourself because the following doesn’t read nicely…

You walk up to the barbell. This lift is always your biggest weakness.

All you want is to succeed for once. But success is unpredictable for you. Will it be a good session or a bad one?

You’ve already visualised missing the lift. The pressure is unbearable. You feel weak. Confidence through the floor.

You tell yourself to drop the pressure, or just try and enjoy it, or maybe “just stop being so shit.”

You’ve missed the lift before you’ve even touched the barbell.

Which just proves to yourself the story that you’re not good enough & you won’t make your potential count.


Sorry to speak so bluntly, but if you’re not going to look honestly at the problem, I will.

Because if your mindset sucks, your lifting will suffer.

And using discipline, aggressive self talk, and psyching yourself up will not be enough to change a story that lives deep in the recesses of your mind.

Today, I’m going to teach you a four-part mindset checklist to improve your relationship with olympic lifting.

1 - Nail your pre-lift routine

A solid pre-lift routine is essential for a successful lift. It creates predictability in what’s to come and puts you at ease.

Just as golfers and tennis players have a pre-lift routine, so should you.

Without a pre-lift routine, you’ll be second guessing yourself and you’ll be thrown off by external stimuli.

We use our BITE pre-lift routine for most of our athletes:



Technical Cue

Emotional Cue

2 - Drop the source of pressure

Let me get this out there first, if it was as easy as just making a decision to drop the pressure, you’d have figured this out years ago.

But the story that creates the pressure is a deep rooted one and you need to do four things to remove it:

Identify the story and how it shows up in your lifting

Create a vision of success so you know how to act in the moment

Train yourself to stop anticipating failure by training the skill of presence.

Prove your old story to be incorrect by taking action

Test // Aim // Presence // Proof

How you respond to pressure comes from the story you tell yourself about it:

3 - Embrace the ugly reps

The process of growth requires you to embrace the ugly reps.

Don’t get me wrong, olympic lifting requires gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing lifts. But getting to that point requires ugly reps.

Without giving yourself permission to be something less than perfect, you’ll never grow.

Perfectionism is a major limiter on your performance and you need to banish it.

Aim at excellence and you’ll grow. Aim at perfection and you’ll always miss it.

Perfection is an impossibility.

Make ugly reps the goal not the enemy.

4 - Visualise success

There’s an often cited study where a study group was tested on their ability to shoot 3-pointers on a basketball court.

After testing, the participants were divided into three groups. Group A was allowed to practise for a set time every day. Group B was allowed to visualise practise for the same set period of time. Group C was the control group and did nothing.

Group A - the practisers - and Group B - the visualisers - achieved almost identical improvements.

The skill of visualisation, if focused on the process of improvement, is one of the most useful weapons in your arsenal.


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