I had a great conversation with a young weightlifter yesterday morning. He asked me why weightlifting was so hard for him.

Background on this lifter. Really good technique. Extremely strong compared to the amount of weight he is lifting. Yet struggles to lift heavy totals.

I told this lifter the reason he struggles with the sport is that intangible element of aggression, defiance, and courage. He is super technical and overly concerned with how the lift should look and feel every time he picks the bar up. Don’t get me wrong, these elements are important and I would argue are a necessity to being a good lifter. However, at some level technique will ALWAYS be limited by one’s mental toughness. I don’t care how good your technique is or how strong you are, if you are scared of the weight on the bar or you never completely sell out for a lift then it doesn’t matter.

The intangible, almost unteachable element of weightlifting is one’s uncompromising vigor. Your mental inability to allow yourself to miss is always up to you. I can’t force you to lift the weight and I certainly can’t do it for you. Aggression and an unbeatable mindset take you a long way in this sport.

As you approach the bar today remember you control what happens when it leaves the floor. You control whether you miss that weight or make it. Don’t let the bar beat you before you put your hands on it. If you do miss, make sure you miss having put all you have into that lift.

Never compromise and allow yourself the cowardice of settling for a “good attempt.”