Preparing for a PR

This week we made a pretty strong case for why you should be lifting heavy-ass weight. If you missed the blogs, you can read them here.

There is nothing more wild/STRONG than hitting a PR.

I am in the middle of a pretty intense squat cycle. My squat is one of my weakest lifts compared to my size, so I decided to address it while battling a shoulder injury that has kept me from hitting my Olympic lifts. Today I am halfway through the cycle, so we are testing our 1rm to set the percentages for the rest of the cycle.

 PR's don't just get handed out to you. You have to earn it and prepare for it. 

PR's don't just get handed out to you. You have to earn it and prepare for it. 

Preparing for a 1rm is something I take very seriously. Some lifters don’t think about it at all, can just show up at the gym ready to “show and go”. I have to get my mind right. So I figured I would share this process with the wild/STRONG Tribe. It may be something that works for you, or not. Either way, I challenge you all to come up with your own system – and maybe some of these will carry over into your preparation.

My process starts the day before: If I don’t get an adequate amount of sleep, I feel it in the gym. I’m not gonna get into any scientific shit in this post about GH production, or dietary shit. This is just my process and I readily admit much of it is purely mental – but sleep is important for GH and Test levels. If you aren’t getting enough sleep during a lifting cycle, you aren’t recovering properly. The night before a 1rm I have to get at least 6-8 hours or I will feel sluggish in the gym.

Visualization: From the moment I wake up, I begin visualizing my PR. I see it happening. I see it play out all day. In my mind I visualize all the points, from the moment I walk into the gym, how I will warm up, what I’m wearing, what weights I will hit on the way up, what music is playing. I break down every aspect of the lift. By the time I walk into the gym for real, the PR has already happened in my mind so many times I can’t count.

 You don't get guns like this eating like shit and not recovering properly. The journey to a PR starts long before you ever step up to the bar. Featured in photo: Paul Waggener from Operation Werewolf.

You don't get guns like this eating like shit and not recovering properly. The journey to a PR starts long before you ever step up to the bar. Featured in photo: Paul Waggener from Operation Werewolf.

Music: Music plays a big role in my preparation and in my lifting. A lot of people will say they don’t even hear the music playing when they lift. I am not one of those people. If Nickelback is playing, I’m not gonna PR. Call me mentally weak, but I absolutely have to be hearing music that pumps me up if I’m gonna hit big weight. My favorite songs to PR too can be found at the bottom of the blog.

 Think that new Justin Bieber playlist is gonna get you a PR? It won't. Try my favorite list of PR music found at the bottom of the blog.

Think that new Justin Bieber playlist is gonna get you a PR? It won't. Try my favorite list of PR music found at the bottom of the blog.

Food: Eating right is essential to fueling your body for a PR. If you eat like shit during a cycle, you probably won’t hit big weight. I don’t care what your diet is like, if you aren’t logging your food in some form or fashion, you obviously are not serious about getting big or lifting big. Logging your food is the only thing that really allows you to tweak your diet, see what numbers you are hitting and judge how these numbers impact your performance. So many people will say they eat enough, but if you aren’t logging, how could you possibly know? I use IIFYM, it works and it’s easy. Want big gains, want to lift big weight, want to be a sexier version of yourself? Do it. It’s easy. Just click here and get started.

I always strive to hit my macro goals spot on every day. This becomes even more important on PR days. Mentally I want to know my body is fueled properly for a big lift. I generally lift in the early evenings, so I’ll have consumed about 80% of my calories by the time I hit the gym. I like to stop eating about an hour before I train. I’ll drink some aminos or pre-workout or both about 15-30 minutes before and during my lifting session.

In the Gym: Now you are here. It’s time for your final preparations. Mentally you should be completely prepared to get nasty by this time. Focus on warming up properly. Use a foam roller, bands and other movements to get your body loose. I like to listen to some slower music, usually movie scores or classical shit at this point so I am relaxed as I warm up.

On the bar: Once I am sufficiently warmed up and stretched out, it’s time to hit some weights. I’ll focus on speed and form as I start my lighter warm up sets. Once I get to about 70% of my current 1rm, I’ll drop down to some triples, at 80-85% I switch to doubles – 90% I go to singles.

 Whether you are breaking a world record like Eddie Hall, or shattering your own PR's, having a pre-lift routine will help.

Whether you are breaking a world record like Eddie Hall, or shattering your own PR's, having a pre-lift routine will help.

I will NEVER lift my current 1rm. In fact, once I PR, that will likely be the last time I lift that weight, certainly for a single,  until I PR at something higher and that old PR becomes a warm-up single. I cleaned 300 lbs a few weeks back. I clean up to 285-290 for a single now, then 305 for a new PR. I always skip my old 1rm.

You’ve hit a single at 95% or higher. It’s time. Get your favorite PR song on and prepare to unleash everything you have on that bar. This is a time of fury, frenzy – crazed aggressiveness. I like to pace back and forth – my eyes never leave the barbell. I envision the lift one last time. I talk shit to the bar in my head. I disrespect the weight. It’s nothing. It’s light. It’s cakeweight. I have my own little mantra I say to myself before I approach the bar.

Pre-Lift: The pre-lift routine is something you should have. No matter how elaborate or simple it is. Basketball players go through the exact same routine before every free-throw. This is how I envision my pre-lift routine. It doesn’t matter what yours is, but you should have one. Make it the same every time. Make it routine.

Last step: You put in the work. You prepared properly. Step up to the bar and crush that shit. If you miss it, give yourself at least three attempts at the PR. After that, it’s up to you if you want to keep taking shots at it, depending on how close you are.

If you fail: This doesn’t mean you didn’t work hard. This means you didn’t work enough. Don’t tell yourself you put in the proper amount of training – if you had, you wouldn’t have missed. Respect the work you put in, but understand you need to do more. Get back to work. Read about dealing with losing/failure here. Good luck and go crush some weights and hit some PR’s.

 

PR Songs: all available on Spotify. Follow my playlists by searching “Seth Allan” and following my “EDM 1rm” playlist if you like EDM. If you are more into hip-hop, check out my “Get Heavy” playlist. If you like movie scores and bagpipes (sorry, I’ve got Scottish blood in me) check “1rm motivation”. Stay away from the “Slow Jams” playlist. That’s for Netflix and Chill recovery with your partner, AFTER you hit a new PR.

300 Violin Orchestra – Jorge Quintero

IBETCHU – Yellow Claw

Run This Town – DJ Crazy Jay Rodriguez

Going in –Skrillex

Paper – 12th Planet

Murder Style – Protohype & Datsik

Split (Only U) – Tiesto

Hustle – Antiserum and Mayhem

Dafuq – Ookay

Bugatti – Ace Hood

Let’s Go – Trick Daddy

Ambitionz az a Ridah – Tupac

Presidential – Youngbloodz

Ima Boss –Rick Ross

Hard in the Paint – Waka Flocka Flame

All The Above – Maino

Pop That – French Montan

Scotland the Brave – The Scottish Bagpipes Highland Pipers

Lost Song – Saor Patrol

Sail – AWOL Natio