Being the Hammer

Janice Ferguson
July 31, 2023
Being the Hammer

When we lift weights at our gym, we spend a lot of time preparing our bodies physically to do the work. But, a lot of time, we lack the mental preparation.

Last night, Lauren was testing her 1RM back squat. Her previous PR was 165#. She went through a good warm up, and was creeping up in the hope of setting a new PR. But, she wasn’t sure, because she just wasn’t “feeling it” at that moment. She even failed an attempt at 135#. The weight felt so heavy. Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you in one of your lifting sessions. You better all have your hands raised.

As I started to pay closer attention to Lauren, I noticed she was approaching the weight with a soft back. Those gorgeous traps of hers were soft like marshmallows, and she was babying the bar–treating it with kid gloves whilst un-racking it. The stare in her eyes was blank and lacked confidence in what she was doing. She was just going through the motions. No intensity. No purpose. No wonder 135# felt heavy to her.

I instructed Lauren to get aggressive and to quit babying the bar. She needed to set herself up on the bar like a weightlifter that means business. Tight traps. Tight core. Serious lift off from the rack. It’s a barbell. You have to handle it like you mean business. Be the hammer, not the nail.

Five lifts later, after failing at 135#, Lauren, the weightlifter, PR’d her back squat at 170#, and Laura Wince captured the most beautiful photo of her to-date. When you get your mind right, you can move mountains.

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