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  • Writer's pictureTom Foxley

The Simple Pre-Lift Routine That Gives CrossFitters A No-Miss Mentality

Today, I’m going to teach you my four part pre-lift routine my athletes value more than any other.


Successful lifters create stability in their lifts - both physical and mental.


Without that stability you will imagine failed lifts, have distracting thoughts, and ultimately fail too many reps you should be able to hit.


Most athletes have a pre-lift routine, but it fails to take into consideration the mental piece of the equation.


When my athletes implement this routine, they see a massive spike in the increase of lifts they succeed in.


Same goes with gymnastic skills too.


Today, I’ll show you each of the four steps and how to BITE.


B = Breathe


Your breath is the key to altering your mindset in the shortest time possible.


The first stage of this work is just getting athletes to focus on one single breath before their lift starts.


This focuses their mindset and eliminates some distraction.


Where this enters the next level is in changing the type of breath they perform.


There’s a few different patterns I use, but the basic premise is this: focus more on the inhale (more aggression and longer duration) and you’ll become more alert and less drowsy. Focus more on the exhale (extend it and be aware of it) and you’ll become a little more chill.


Experiment with both types and see what happens.


I = Imagine


The next stage of this is to imagine the part of the movement they really want to work on.


A common lifting fault is not hitting extension and pulling under the bar too soon.


In this case, the athlete would imagine themselves hitting full extension. It would be a full sensory experience. So they would be able to feel what that would be like before the lift.


When I introduce this to many athletes, they’ve already done a tonne of visualisation practise, so they’re adept at this. Be warned - it’s a skill to develop.


T= Technical


The technical cue is one that focuses on the actual movement you need to perform. Most athletes I work with know in detail exactly what they need to do better in each lift.


So this is a simple case of just repeating their technical cue to themselves.


Something like “quick elbows” or “snappy hips”.


E = Emotional


This is the final piece of the equation. A lot of the work I do with athletes builds them to a point where they know what kind of emotional cue they need.


However there are common emotional cues that come up frequently.


If the athlete bails out of the lift, they might use the phrase “be courageous”


Similarly if they pull under too early, they may say to themselves “patience”


The emotional cue serves to gently remind themselves of who they need to be in the moment, not just what they want to do.


Wrapping Up


This may all seem like a lot of work, but once you have the pieces in mind, the process takes a second or two.


  1. Take an intentional breath

  2. Imagine a tiny portion of the lift

  3. Repeat a technical cue

  4. Repeat an emotional cue.

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