Athlete about to lift weight

How to Mentally Prepare for an Olympic Lift?

How to Mentally Prepare for an Olympic Lift?

Warming Up Your Muscles

The first thing any Olympic lifter will do before picking up a barbell is warm up their muscles. Rather than preparing every single muscle, let's focus on some of the most important ones lifters include in their pre-lifting routine.

The key muscles and joints to get moving are in your ankles, hips, hamstrings, and shoulders. You don't need to get fancy with these movements; just ensure each one is stretched out and warmed up before you get started.

female athlete on stationary bike

Preparing Your Nervous System

After thoroughly stretching all of their muscles, there are still a few things that an Olympic weightlifter will do before they start lifting heavy weights.

Once they have finished mobilizing, the focus will switch to getting their body warm and getting their central nervous system ready to move quickly.

One of the essential aspects of any heavy Olympic lift is speed under the bar, so it is important to get the heart rate going and the hip flexors firing.

Power Drills and Strength Exercises

Once an Olympic lifter is fully stretched out and their heart rate has gotten raised, they will move onto strength and power exercises to start getting their body moving in the right direction.

For example, if an Olympic lifter is preparing to execute a clean and jerk, they will first execute a power clean with an empty bar, as well as some deadlifts, push press, and front squats.

These exercises help them use the muscles they will need for their clean and jerk, preparing the rack position with front squats, the jerk with the push press, and preparing their body for weightlifting.

Executing some power cleans beforehand also helps the lifter work on their explosive power, pulling the barbell from the floor and snapping the hips open as quickly as possible.

male athlete standing with bars steady

Positional Work

Once the lifter's muscles are warm and the power drills have gotten executed, they will likely move on to positional work. For any Olympic life, they will start with the bar alone, without any weights on either side.

Positional work includes any pause work, a clean pull, hang clean, and so on. This aspect of the lifter's training will depend entirely on the lifter's strengths and weaknesses.

If a lifter is snatching and struggles with their range of motion in the bottom position, an overhead squat will help them become more stable overhead. However, if a lifter struggles more getting the barbell off the floor and hitting position four, a lifter might execute a snatch pull instead,

female athlete in positional work

Mental Preparation

Finally, as an Olympic lifter gets ready to hit weights close to their PR, they mentally prepare themselves for the lift.

Each lifter will have their own mental cues, which could be simple technical cues, such as stay tight or full extension. Or they could be emotional cues, such as being aggressive or dropping under quickly.

Whatever it may be, mental cues are essential for Olympic lifters to fully focus on their lift and nothing else.

male athlete weightlifting 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are several things that need to take place before any Olympic lift. Lifters take their preparation very seriously to ensure they get the best possible results from each training session or competition.

They also make sure they use the best quality equipment to achieve their goals. For top-quality Olympic lifting gear, ensure you check out the LYFT-RX shop!