Fear is a wonderful thing. In my mind to be completely fearless is the mark of sub-par intelligence and not something that I would ever actively seek out for myself or others. If you’re living a life without fear are you really living?

There’s no denying that getting under a heavy squat or heavy bench is a scary prospect. Whether you’re brand new to lifting or you’ve been doing it for decades that fear will never go away. Personally, I think that if it does go away you’ve probably stopped pushing yourself as hard as you should.

For some people it’s a fear of pain or injury, for others it’s a fear of failure or even a fear of trying something new. Regardless of what you’re scared of you need to find a way to harness that fear and use it as a motivator.

Fear is the bodies natural response to what it perceives as a threat.

Fight or flight. 

That pretty much defines lifting heavy weights. I’d imagine there are very few of you who would choose flight. If you did then I think you should probably take up lawn bowls or maybe knitting (I don’t mean to offend any avid knitters or lawn bowls champions but they’re not exactly the most dangerous hobbies in the world).

The mental strength you need to be able to harness that fear is paramount to success in lifting. Do you really want to live your life in a climate controlled bubble never taking any risks?

Do what you can to manage those fears. 

If you’re worried about injury then lifting with a solid technical base, understanding how your body works and what you’re capable of then you’re doing a lot to manage the potential. Training in a facility with a group of people around you who know how to spot you for a heavy squat or bench is also going to help negate some of the injury risks. If you train in a home gym or a commercial gym filled mostly with people too busy running really fast to nowhere to help spot you then making sure you understand how to fail a lift safely is essential.

If you’re only fear is a fear of failure then you’ve got it easy.

Failure is a part of life and lifting. 

Without falling we will never learn what we are truly capable of. Isn’t lifting weights all about finding out what your limits are when push comes to shove? I’m certainly not advocating that you max out every session just to do a lot of failing. That would be counterproductive to the whole process. A good training program or a good coach will make sure you don’t begin an outrageous campaign of failure but will allow you opportunities to test your newfound strength in a controlled environment.

It’s time for some serious thinking, dear reader.

Find your fears.

Look deep inside and discover what it really is that’s holding you back.

Once you’ve acknowledged the source then it’s time to put those fears to work.

Don’t let them go.

Hold them tight and use them to fuel your fire. 

Until next time,

Stay Strong.


John Sheridan
John Sheridan

Burley Owner & Bearded Overlord

Burley Strength

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