Pushing Past Barriers

Pushing Past Barriers

Have you ever been stuck with a lift? For some reason you just can’t hit that three plate bench or four plate squat? You can drop twenty pounds and watch the barbell fly up, but when you’re going for what would be a new personal best, you just can’t send it. Why does that happen? It’s not like the strength isn’t there. You know you’re capable of making the lift. The technique is just fine; it’s not like you don’t know what you’re doing, but for some frustrating reason you just can’t push past it. The truth is that it’s probably all in your head.

We already know that training is about building muscle and becoming physically stronger. The physical aspect of training is more than obvious. Sometimes we forget just how mentally challenging it can be, especially as we start pushing our limits to new heights. I think for most of the time, most people attribute the mental fortitude required for training to the discipline required to be consistent. There is a mental fortitude that is required for making sure you stay on program, get up every morning and go to the gym, take recovery seriously and practice the techniques. However, I think sometimes we get our mental fortitude tested more so whenever we do some of the harder things in our training, like setting a single rep max. A new personal best attempt can really get in your head, even if you don’t think it does. It may even seem a little silly sometimes. You hit weights ever so slightly less than the new personal record, but that number is the f#@king barrier that you just can’t push past for some stupid reason. You might even find yourself chasing it for a while. It’s maddening.


So, what do you do? How are you supposed to get over yourself and just hit the damn lift? Maybe it’s confidence. If you don’t have it in your head that it is a non-negotiable fact that you are going to hit that number, then you might fall short. Just tell yourself over and over that you are going to hit lift and have yourself a new personal record. Basically, speaking it into existence is where I’m going with that. Sometimes just telling yourself you can do it is enough. I know some people like to trigger their flight or fight response (preferably fight) before their PR attempt. They’ll think of something that makes them angry, blast some heavy metal and hit the ammonia with both nostrils in the bottle to bring out a savage-like personality. Some people can really make that approach work for them. They’re able to channel their emotions into their attempt and just send it. I personally do not like that approach, because I find it makes me reckless, but I have seen plenty of people do it with success.

I’ll share with you a barrier that I had broken very recently. For the longest time, I did not pull a 500 pound deadlift. I had done it some years ago, but it had been a very long time. After dealing with a couple injuries and not really having a reason to really push my deadlift, it sort fell to the wayside. Being that I have a max effort deadlift in an upcoming competition, it was now necessary to really push my deadlift again. The goal was to be able to hit 515 pounds, but the weight stayed glued to the floor. My buddy Cameron kept telling me it was in my head, which I didn’t really think it was. So, one during our last Strongman Saturday before the competition, I gave it one last try. However, I took a slightly different approach. Instead of jumping straight from 475 to 515, I attempted 495. That weight went up easily. Seeing 495 move as fast as it did sort of sealed the deal for me. I took a few minutes to rest, made the decision in my head that 515 was going up, and I pulled myself a new personal best. In my case, seeing a weight just slightly less move so fast gave me the confidence to set that new PR. Was that me just bragging about setting a new deadlift PR? Maybe. But I do hope you found some useful information out of this article.

If you are within driving distance of Baton Rouge and need a place to train for your next strongman competition, powerlifting meet or weightlifting meet, check out the Atlas Strength shop for all of your training needs. Send an email to cameron@atlasstrengthshop.com for your next visit. You can also check out our apparel line and programming options on our website. Be sure to like our Facebook page, here, and follow us on Instagram, here. Do you need a high quality energy supplement that won’t leave you with that crashing feeling? Check out veteran owned strikeforceenergy.com and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 20% off of your order. If you’re like me, and you like to bite down while lifting, you need to protect your teeth. Check out Impact Mouthguards and their custom molded mouth guards. Use promo code ATLASSTRENGTHSHOP at checkout to get 10% off of your order.  But wait? What if you have a glorious Beard?  Check out FerociousBeard.com and use Promo Code “ATLASSTRENGTH” to save 15% on all o your beard care!!

On November 19, 2022, the Atlas Strength Shop will be hosting its third annual strongman competition, the Rougarou Classic. If you  are interested in competing, check out the event page on


“Ain’t nothin’ but a peanut!” -Ronnie Coleman