The Powerlifting Mindset

When I was competing seriously in powerlifting (2000-2005), I first noticed what I now call the powerlifting mindset. Regardless of whether you compete in the sport of powerlifting or not, this post applies to you.

I guarantee it.

And trust me, it’s not about snorting ammonia, screaming at the top of your lungs or greasing yourself up with a pint of Blue Heat.

No, the powerlifting mindset is what happens to you over the course of a training cycle.

After you do a meet, your self-image shifts – you’re defined to some extent by the weights you moved at your meet.

So you’re an X# squatter, an X# bench presser, and an X# deadlifter.

But over the course of the next 3, 4, or even 6 months, you train your ass off.

You pay your dues in the gym, working your ass off to become stronger.

You record/video tape your sessions to see where you need work, and where technique breaks down.

You meticulously plan each training session, making sure that small, incremental jumps will pay off to PR’s whenever you do your next meet.

And when you go to that next meet, you’re no longer the same person.

Your mindset, and perhaps more importantly, your self-image, has shifted.

You’re no longer an X# squatter, bench presser or deadlifted.

You’re something more.

I clearly remember a discussion I had with Dave Tate a while back, where we discussed how the principles we apply to powerlifting success are nearly universal.

Paying your dues in the gym (aka working hard) is the purest (yet most under-rated) key to achieving success in any realm.

Addressing weaknesses, and bringing them up to snuff, allow your true strengths to shine.

Planning and setting goals is a sure-fire way to get more out of yourself in the future than you’re currently capable of.

And finally, the act of having a deadline, one day where you are either better, worse, or the same as before, allows you to truly gauge success.

Quite simply, Dave wondered aloud: “How can you be a successful powerlifter and not beĀ  successful in all aspects of your life?”

This is one of the primary reasons I powerlift.

Not only is it brutally clear whether you’ve made progress or not, but the skills and techniques that you use and apply to become stronger are universally applicable to success in virtually any and every endeavor in your life.

If you’re reading this, I would implore you to use the powerlifting mindset, regardless of whether you ever “compete” in the sport of powerlifting.

Set goals.

Work your ass off.

Give yourself no other option but success.

And in 3, 4, 6 or even 12 months, look bad and reflect on where you’re at today.

Chances are, the “goals” you once had will have been obliterated – and you’ll be ready for more.

All the best



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  1. Mike I really appreciate this post having competed for several years in powerlifting myself. Great stuff and keep up the good work!

    Educate, Motivate, Dominate
    -Coach Gaglione

  2. For me;.. After my first ever meet for which I placed dead last, was ultimately a lesson learned taught by my mentor as I then made the choice to that being what I truly wanted to do. But at my first training session ready for I’d thought anything as far as physically I was predominantly was asked how much really did I want this sport. He taught me right then the absolute best to his knowledge of how it’s more than training, nutrition, dedication, & supplementation. It was mentally going to break me down and force me to get right back up or in and continue to do it over & over till my mind & body could do no more. I did all my homework on the sport and took a great deal of my training more so into the mental realms. Convincing myself that I could only be beaten by myself and that there wasn’t a weight I could not move. I would become 198 lbs of absolute bone crushing power second to None!!

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