Written by Robert King

Tonight one of my students was going for a heavy lift and she missed it.

 In training and on the platform, I do my best to not have my athletes miss lifts or reps. However, every lift we miss is an opportunity to learn. You learn more from the lifts you miss than the lifts you get. I asked her what was going through her mind before the lift? She mentioned she was thinking about a grip technique I showed her last week, as she was afraid of losing her grip on her heavy lift.  

Missing this rep was not a grip mistake. It was not a technical error during the lift. The reason she missed the lift is because of her mindset, not her lifting skill or technique.

She missed this lift because of her mindset.

What should you be thinking of before a heavy lift or a PR? In my opinion, very little. From experience coaching and lifting, here is what has helped me and my students improve our lifts, our strength, and our ability to rarely miss lifts and constantly smash PR’s. If you want to lift heavy weights, then you need to stop thinking and learn to harness your mind to have clarity and focus.

How do I recommend you create a PR mindset? I tell my athletes to “Chalk Up”. Chalking up is far more than getting chalk on your hands. It’s your time to mentally dial in and get your body and mind ready for the lift in front of you.

When stepping up to the bar on very heavy lifts, don’t think of coaching cues, don’t have a conversation going in your mind. You want to create a simple mental programming to dial in your mind for the big task in front of you. I tell my athletes to do the following.

Create a chant in your head and repeat that chant over and over and over. Pick one word and repeat it three times or pick three words and repeat them over and over. For example, stepping up to a heavy lift think and say 1 word repeated 3 times:

“Tight, Tight, Tight”


“Speed, Speed, Speed”


“Yours, Yours, Yours”

Find the word that you need and repeat it over and over.

When I deadlift heavy often I will pace and say “Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine” (as in this lift is mine) o“Up, Up, Up” (as in this lift is coming up).  Or you can say 3 words repeated 

“I Got This”

“I Got This”

“I Got This”


“Get It Moving”

“Get It Moving”

“Get It Moving”

The cues or words you use can be specific to you, but try to block out the noise and have a clear mind of what you want to do.

When things get heavy you don’t want to practice technical cues. This is done in training, not on PR’s or on the platform. You want a clear mind and a “chant” to get you in the zone.

Choose your words wisely. 1 word 3 times repeated o3 words repeated 3 times. Over and over and over (see what I just did). Give it a try and let me know if it helps you.

Learn more from Coach Robert on Instagram 


  • Angela : July 19, 2021

    I love this and will implement it this next week

  • Cindy : April 21, 2021

    Great tip!! I will give it a try tomorrow!

  • LeAnn Burton : April 21, 2021

    Thank you for this Article! I will try this next time to get in the mindset!

  • Thuleka DUze: July 27, 2020

    Thank you so much for free education. I’m happy I’ve joined the Facebook Group It’s very informative.Keep up the good work.

  • Sandra Bourget: October 24, 2018

    On my heavy deadlifts as I begin to lift, I repeat, press, press, press. As in press the earth with your feet. Seems to work for me. I can’t concentrate on anything else.

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