How To Increase Your Squat By First Changing Your Mindset
May 11th 2019
Lifters need to always try to progress their squats and hit new PRs. If you are not a beginner, I am confident you have seen so many different articles about the different training variations that you can implement over the course of a few months in order to add some pounds onto your squat. While this is all good, there is something that is not quite talked about often when people are lifting. Nobody really talks about the psychology of lifting and what you should be thinking about when you are doing your squats.
How to progress in squats?
By implementing all these techniques, you can shift your mindset and begin to rapidly progress in your squats:
- Have the right attitude
- Stay positive
- Picture yourself already achieving your goals
The right attitude
For almost every single endeavor accomplished in the world, it is impossible to believe that anything that was worthwhile accomplishing was done without faith and a vision. Back in the day, how brave was it that our ancestors dared to challenge the norms at the time and create masterpieces with only their minds. Skyscrapers, the internet, planes, and so many wonderful inventions. And improving your squats is not different.
If you want to break your own views about yourself, it needs to start with your thoughts. Your conscience. You need to believe that you can achieve new PRs in your squat by implementing a program that will carry you into new levels of strength.
You have internalized and understood that strength training will be a journey, not a quick sprint. For some lifters, results may come sooner but in the end, everyone will cross the finish line as long as you continue pushing on the gas pedal. The moment you decide not to continue moving forward will be the start of your death. An unfocused mind will not get you where you need to go. An idle mind may even be worse in the fact that you have now opened yourself to the cosmos, for good or for bad.
Your mind is a precious and fertile garden. Its soils are ready to bear crops from your seeds of thought.
For very few lifters, they thrive off negativity to stimulate them into lifting their max in a competition. I would say this is not the norm and this is why - you are numbing your lifting experience for the sake of a new record. While it may not show immediate effects in your behavior or conscience right away, there is a reason why people who not promote negative thinking in any avenue. In schools, at work, in life - negative thinking never gets a good reputation. You can imagine why; there are many chronic diseases and disruptive behaviors that would create more chaos in society. As a result, many organizations have created several strategies in order to suppress negativity and promote positivity.
Be more positive while you are doing squats. Enjoy the process. You know fully well that it is a blessing to go to the gym. Where you do not need to worry when your next meal is going to be. Especially during today’s times, we are in an abundance of opportunity and that should be viewed positively.
You have already achieved your goals
Imagery is another powerful mind technique that you can implement. For instance, for an exam in school, how often did you need to keep on studying to get a good grade? You would probably study a lot and try to understand your notes. You would try to create pictures and patterns in your mind so that you can apply the knowledge and try not to forget them. The same goes for doing squats.
In order to continue progressing in squats, adding imagery can make your transition into greatness a whole lot smoother. When you are starting off, you can try to practice imagery once a day. However, many lifters find how effective this technique is and will regularly perform this technique multiple times a day. It may even turn into an obsession and you will think about squatting all day. Good.
So, use imagery like this, instead of randomly thinking about your goals in a haphazardous way, be practical about it. Think about your next few workouts and think about crushing them with absolute ease. But do not just think about the squatting part. Think about your entire experience from the moment you stepped foot in the gym.
Your warmups, your rest breaks - remember to think about those. Imagine how your quads fire to powerfully lift you up and away from the squat hole. Think about how you sit back and achieve perfect form. Think about how tight your back is when you created a shelf for the barbell. You are aware of all the small micro details of the lift. At the same time, you are also counting and repping your future working sets with ease. This exercise can take up to 5-15 minutes.
Do not start to get anxious. Do not be afraid. If you do feel some of these emotions, understand that your subconscious might be resisting the feedback you are trying to feed your mind and body. If you have not been in control of your life, this can be a very powerful resistance. So, you need to objectively view and understand how and what your body is doing. You do not need to force anything. Make sure you are still breathing.
Of course, consistency is key
Now, changing your mindset is a great way to make more gains in theory. But like all things that require massive change, application and action are what drives success. Just thinking about squatting and not doing them will be a good way to not progress.
So, make sure you get on a program. If you are a beginner, Greyskull LP and Starting Strength are my two recommendations. These two programs have you squatting 2 and 3 times a week, respectively. During the beginning of your lifting, the working sets should be easy. This is a normal thing.
It is only when things get difficult is where people’s focus and determination begin to sway. This will be the true test of your mentality and discipline.
Understand that doing squats is not rocket science or calculus. There is no complex formula or equation. Though you may need to do some basic calculations when you become an elite lifter, you practically can get away without doing any math. You just need to use common sense when lifting. The second thing you need to do is to always try to improve every day.
For instance, this is how you know that the weight is heavy enough. Can you do your prescribed working set? If yes, you can increase weight. If not, either way at where you are at or back down 10% and work on your form and technique. It is really as simple as that. As long as you are improving 1% each day, you will be an unstoppable force.