Controlling Anxiety During Lifting

Much of the Getting in the Zone series of articles are focused on areas of sport psychology. Having psychologists help athletes perform better is a relatively new thing. While I have drawn from that, as I read some of the articles on this subject (controlling anxiety, etc) from sport psychologists, I wonder if many of them really "get it". Sure they understand the statistics and have a background in the psychology affecting performance, but have they ever been there? Do they know what it feels like? I read with interest an article in the "Mind Games" section of the NSCA's performance training journal by Suzie Tuffey Riewald entitled "Help, I'm Nervous". It's related, of course to my Getting in the Zone series of articles.

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Getting in the Zone V: Relaxation

Part IV of Getting in the Zone described arousal regulation and the effects of anxiety and anger on performance. At the end of that post I left you with this:

"There are those who will need to focus on energizing techniques. Rather than controlling excessive arousal, they will need to develop strategies to increase arousal. But in my experience, most lifters have more of a need to control anxiety, apprehension, and anger, and thus regulate excessive arousal. Therefore the next post will focus on regulating over-arousal."

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Breathing Exercises for Relaxation

This article is a simple explanation of several breathing exercises for relaxation. It is meant as related companion to the Getting in the Zone series of blog posts or for anyone interested. However, before we get into the breathing exercises you should have already read Paradoxical and Diaphragmatic Breathing which will have introduced the basic concepts and techniques of correct diaphragmatic deep breathing. That article contains an exercise meant to help you practice deep breathing but it should also have you well on your way to achieving a relaxed state through breathing.

I also encourage you to read the Getting in the Zone series which will provide a broader context for what we are trying to achieve. The benefits of proper breathing are obvious but many strength trainees may not see the point of "relaxation". The Zone series provides that point of context and much more.

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Fight Or Flight: Lift or Die?

Have You ever heard someone say that in order to lift a very heavy load they imagine they are "doing battle" with the bar? Of course the real hardcore lifters don't say the word bar, they say "iron". "It's just me and the iron in a battle to the death," they say, or some such similar nonsense.1

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