The Importance of Mental Strength in Weightlifting

Weightlifting is arguably one of the most difficult sports on the planet. The reason I say that is because there is no individual or team sport that demands as much intense, mental focus and clarity than weightlifting.



A lot can be said about a lifter and how they approach their training. Even though the sport is based upon lifting heavy weights, strength in the physical realm is not as important as strength in the mental realm. Focused and dedicated training that emphasizes precision is what best develops an athlete. Like I tell my athletes all the time, it’s not how much you do but how well you do it. Often times that is the hardest part of training and performing. Each lift has such a small margin for error that the ability to make it up is minimal. That’s why it is so important to develop excellent mind control- the mind controls the body. Mental control develops confidence, and confidence brings success.


It’s not how much you do but how well you do it.


This level of control can be seen amongst high level weightlifters in their ability to push through pressure and maintain focus and poise. The 2014 World Championships in Almaty Kazakhstan was an exceptional example. Three lifters in the 105kg class battled closely and with fierce determination. David Bedzaynan (RUS), Ruslan Nurudinov (UZB) and Ilya Ilin (KAZ) exchanged three world records in the clean and jerk with each lift being more exciting than the next. Nurudinov made 238kg, followed by Bedzanyan making 240kg. Ilin won the championship on his third attempt, after missing his second, by clean and jerking the then record of 242kg. His victory came from his fierce mentally inasmuch as his physical ability.



Training weightlifting helps prepare individuals to face obstacles outside of the gym that they will experience. Weightlifting is a microcosm of life. Being mentally strong while having tenacity is a great attribute that leads to success. One of the great things about the sport is that it helps develop that fortitude. That mindset can carryover into other aspects of your life whether it be relationships, business, or any other endeavor.

Establish a precedent and set monthly goals, not limited to numbers on the bar, for yourself or athletes you coach. Demand more of yourself and push through mental barriers to make progress. Having a well-developed mind develops strong self-worth and reveals the true capability that resides within.

Daniel Casey
Owner and Head Coach, NYWA


Photos courtesy of
Viviana Podhaiski // Everyday Lifters

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