Barbell Shrugged

Maxing out in Weightlifting

Doug Larson

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  • Im currently doing the barbell shrugged muscle gain challenge and watching your testimonial was the reason I started this program. You are so right about the positive attitude! I just hit 3 sets of 3 reps at 85% and without the peace of mind this programs training has brought me, I would have failed at least 50% of them. Awesome to see you as a coach Kurt!

    • Thanks Karl! Thats awesome to hear. In the MGC you will develop consistency at high percentages of your maxes, then CRUSH PR’s pretty often. I’m stoked for you! Hit it hard and make excellence a habit!

  • What advice do you have for someone who is competitions in a weightlifting competition for the first time?

    • Shelby, take a coach! Read up on how a comp is ran, then have someone you know run numbers for you. If you need help, don’t hesitate to email us and ask a question any time!

  • My problem is whenever I get like 5-10 lbs within my max and I grab the bar I start thinking in my head,” wow this weight is really heavy. I’m not sure if I can get this or not.” And I just mentally screw myself over, Any tips on fixing this?

  • Great article! Lots of stuff I can use.

    Joey D nailed when he said he mentally screws himself over. Same here. Going into the Open my max power/squat clean was 195 and the second-to-last workout forced me to clean 185 multiple times. It was a huge mental struggle and I shut myself down a lot. When the guy next to me made his first lift and people cheered I flung up my bar without even feeling it, and managed to basically muscle clean it four more times in that workout. Very ugly but at least the strength was there. A victory on one hand but a mental defeat on the other. My strength far outpaces my confidence with the bar. With the right technique 205 or 225 should be in my sights.

    Any tips for overcoming mental blocks and just lifting the damn bar the right way?

    • Yea! Alot of times when doing a strength program, an newer lifter often has the strength but not the technique. Base your percentages a little higher, like 5kg and get consistent with a higher percentage of your maxes. So If your best clean IS currently 185, base work off of 195 or 200 for a little while. Chances are that will push you to get stronger without a whole lot of thinking, and it will give you more confidence when handling weights. Confidence is a “fake it until you make it” type thing.
      Knowing you can handle those higher percentages won’t make approaching your max so daunting.

      • Thanks for the reply, Kurt!
        That approach worked for my deadlifts, such that if the coaches tell us to work off a percentage of a max, the number I use is my desired max not my recent best lift, and usually the bar will get 20-40 pounds more weight than prescribed. That got me a 40 lb PR on the 1RM in a couple of months and 10 lbs on my 5 rep. On squats a lot of the time I will just go the next size plate instead of using a pair of fives and tell myself that the difference won’t really be felt anyway and it will make me stronger. Just have to work that in, in proportion, to my cleans and snatches.
        The hardest part for me is forcing myself to scale. It’s a conflict between wanting to get stronger by getting used to the weight or staying in the spirit of the workout by choosing a manageable weight. Usually the full weight gets the nod, leaving me crushed and taking far longer than everyone else.

  • Great article. Do you use this same methodology for competitions? I struggle knowing how I should be warming up before my attempts.

    • Definitely. The best way to go about it is to take a coach who knows your lifts. The only thing you should have to do is make lifts. A coach who knows you and your mind should handle all the math 🙂

  • I thought it was a skinny Mike Bledsoe. Didn’t realize it was someone else until watching the video.

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