3 Overload Strategies to Construct Confidence


We are able to all agree that confidence is extraordinarily vital when lifting heavy weights. Because the saying goes, “Whether or not you suppose you possibly can otherwise you suppose you possibly can’t, you’re proper.”

Once I’m teaching my powerlifters as they strategy a contest, I attempt to do every part I can to assist them construct confidence. Principally, this includes purposeful psychological preparation like visualization and constructive self-talk. However typically we use precise bodily drills to construct confidence, particularly overload workouts that permit the lifter really feel maximal weights and even supramaximal (heavier than their 1-rep max) weights.

These should not all-the-time issues. An excessive amount of supramaximal loading can create pointless fatigue and a false sense of confidence, maybe fooling each the lifter and coach into considering they’ll carry greater than they really can. However when accomplished strategically, they may give a lifter simply the arrogance increase they should crush it on the platform.

Supportive Gear

My favourite approach to overload a lifter is use supportive gear – that’s, wearable tools equivalent to a Slingshot on the bench press and knee wraps on the squat. Each the Slingshot and knee wraps stretch and tighten because the lifter lowers the bar, storing elastic vitality that then helps launch the bar again up. This permits the lifter to deal with barely heavier weight (however not an excessive amount of heavier) and infrequently teaches the lifter to enhance their approach.

I additionally love the truth that in contrast to utilizing bands and chains, the load on the bar doesn’t change all through the vary of movement, so the lifter is definitely dealing with the precise weight on the bar from begin to end.

Carrying a Slingshot on the bench teaches the lifter to “unfold the bar” and keep tremendous tight via their higher again as they decrease the bar. It additionally teaches the lifter to maintain their elbows straight beneath the bar. A Slingshot will assist blast the bar off the chest, however it additionally sends the bar up and again on the precise angle of the forearms. If the lifter lets their wrists roll again/elbows fold ahead, that bar is gonna fly straight at their enamel. Except the lifter needs to make their dentist filthy wealthy, they’d higher study to maintain their elbows beneath the bar.

The one downside of the Slingshot is that for some lifters, is forces a touchpoint on the chest that’s a bit too low (towards the hips). If their competition-style bench makes use of a wider grip with the elbows barely flared and a better touchpoint, their Slingshot approach could also be too far faraway from their competitors bench to have a lot carryover.

We’ll use knee wraps on the squat much less typically than Slingshot on the bench just because it’s a lot more durable to study to make use of them. Plus, whenever you wrap your knees correctly, it kinda hurts. However knee wraps require laser focus to manage the bar path. The tiniest deviation ahead or backward can knock the lifter off stability, resulting in a missed carry. This sort of technical precision is a should for anybody who needs to squat huge weights.

Bands and Chains

Including bands or chains to the bar is known as accommodating resistance. Because the lifter strikes the bar, the load will get heavier on the prime of the carry because the bands stretch or chains uncoil off the bottom. This has many purposes, from bettering bar velocity to overload sticking factors. However within the case of constructing confidence main as much as a contest, we like the truth that it lets a lifter really feel supramaximal weight at lockout with out having to deal with maximal weights all through your entire vary of movement.

For the squat and bench, we’ll most frequently use reverse bands. By hanging bands from the highest of the squat rack and looping them across the bar, the load on the bar is decreased because the bar strikes downward (into the opening on squats or towards the chest on bench). Then, the lifter will get a bit increase as they begin to carry again up, however this help fades towards the center/prime of the carry because the bands go slack. Subsequently, the lifter will get to deal with heavy weight throughout the second half of the motion with out getting crushed on the backside.

For the deadlift, we extra typically use chains to overload the motion. That is largely as a result of we don’t deadlift inside an influence rack and since the bar begins on the ground, the bands should stretch exceptionally far to be looped across the bar. This makes it onerous to estimate how a lot band help a lifter receives and infrequently results in extra help off the bottom than desired. We all know precisely how a lot every chain weighs, so we might be extra exact and be certain that the lifter is dealing with the load we wish at lockout.

Heavy Holds

The ultimate overload methodology is the best: heavy holds. You merely load up a supramaximal weight, unrack it and maintain it. I first noticed these accomplished by Jen Thompson, one of many strongest ladies to ever stroll the planet. As a 330-pound bench presser within the 132-pound weight class, she was doing heavy bench press holds with over 500 kilos. This positively blew my thoughts.

It’s not groundbreaking to assert that your setup could make or break your carry. Nothing assessments your setup like unracking and holding a weight heavier than you may carry on your 1RM. On the squat, it improves your means to be deliberate together with your walkout and never lose rigidity or place with every step. On the bench, it teaches you to maintain your chest up and lats tight. When you grasp your setup with heavy holds, you’ll be additional dialed in with the weights you intend to deal with in competitors.


The important thing to those overload strategies is to make use of them sparingly and on the proper time. I normally save them for the ultimate 2-3 weeks earlier than competitors. We’ve discovered that utilizing them an excessive amount of greater than that results in fatigue that takes away from practising the precise competitors lifts.

We intention to have lifters deal with 105-115 % of their desired 1RM. Lifts accomplished with supportive gear don’t require as a lot overload, whereas heavy holds might be accomplished barely heavier since you’re not truly shifting the bar.

I’ll typically prescribe assisted reps or heavy holds between units of the competitors carry. The supramaximal weight creates a post-activation potentiation impact the place the lifter is ready to recruit their fast-twitch muscle fibers extra successfully. The lifter’s setup typically feels higher after the heavy maintain or assisted rep too. For instance:

  • Work as much as a single @ 8 RPE / 90% of 1RM
  • Carry out a heavy maintain for two units of 10 seconds @ 105% of 1RM
  • Carry out one other single on the similar weight as the primary one
  • Proceed to backdown units

This has been a profitable recipe for constructing confidence and bettering the standard of a lifter’s backdown units. Whether or not the profit is definitely physiological, purely psychological, or a mix of each, it doesn’t actually matter. So long as it really works!


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