Published on February 19, 2024

How to Use Psychology to Lift Heavier Weight

The human brain is one of the most powerful organs in the body and since it controls every part of everything you do, knowing how to use psychology to lift heavier weight can make a massive difference. Much like the mental benefit of a belt when deadlifting, there are numerous other ways to trick your mind.

To best use psychology, you can start by mixing up weight and reps with each set, this will not only remove the monotonous action from repeating the same set, but it also gives your brain something new – a new challenge to overcome.

So, let’s look at how you can use psychology to your advantage and see significant improvements in your workout routine.

Wave Loading Breakdown

One of the most famous methods of using psychology is the wave-loading method. This method involves the trainee completely mixing up the reps and weights that are used for each exercise. An example would be the following:

  • 5-reps with 300 pounds
  • 4-reps with 310 pounds
  • 3-reps with 290 pounds
  • 5-reps with 270 pounds

Keep in mind that these figures vary and you can come up with your own waves to follow when working out. It is also best to use them for big barbell exercises like bench presses, squats, and deadlifts. Since the exercise does not force you to go heavier with each set, your mind doesn’t view it as a mountain to climb and since there are lighter sets, you could view them as a time to rest. 

This will help you inadvertently increase the weight you are lifting by the time you reach certain points in the wave method. It should be most effective when done as part of 4 to 6 set exercises.

Using Supplemental Equipment 

As mentioned with the deadlift belt, the addition of supplemental training equipment like strapping and lifting belts will not only have an actionable effect on your performance. It also triggers the mind in a way that suggests you are now stronger than you think.

Think of any superhero and you will quickly notice that once they suit up, they become powerful. Now, the human mind can make the same analogy when you suit up for your workout. The moment you put on some of these supplemental items, your mind will think you are stronger, which could help you lift heavier weights.

Following Instructions

Whilst this might not seem like it helps, the following of instructions as seen in a recent study has shown that it could significantly help individuals lift more weight when working out. Tow groups were tasked with performing the bench press exercise and those who had been given instructions showed a 10% increase in total weight lifted. This is compared to a self-regulated group.

In essence, when given orders, someone is more likely to be more intense in chasing the goal. This is simply because self-discipline is a trait most people lack and when self-regulated, it becomes harder to push through.

Being Mentally Aroused

Surprisingly, the ancient myth of being psyched up before doing something is beneficial. In fact, you often see sports teams psyche each other up before working out. If your mental arousal is too low, it is much harder to be excited and you might just want to get through the exercise.

As is recommended, you might want to do something that psyches you up and creates a little bit of anger and focus. This is a proven way to increase performance, even if it is only for a small period. It is for this reason that people also work out hard when angered.

Having Some Competition

Next is the added element of competition. Since most people are highly competitive in life, everyone aims to be the best. You might have had a training session that involves the assistance of a friend, only to find that your performances significantly increase when this ‘spotter’ or training partner is present.

When two people try to lift the same weight, it is a competition and you will always try to be better than the person you are training with. However, you should also be careful not to overextend yourself and have an injury due to trying to be competitive. 

Changing Up Your Workout Routine

Finally, boredom is often one of the biggest killers and when you constantly follow the same workout routine, you might easily be bored. However, changing things up is a great way to enable you to get fired up once again. When you know you are doing different exercises, it can be exhilarating to see how strong you are.

Now, depending on who you ask, you should change your workout routine every 4, 8, or 12 weeks. However, having a good coach will be beneficial to achieving all these mental motivations and thanks to their knowledge, the timing will also be on point to ensure that you change your routine at the perfect moment.

Since we always love new, it is one of the best ways to improve your workout and see some significant results.


Psychology is powerful and once you gain control over your mind, you can control everything else. By using a few of these psychological tricks, you will definitely see an increase in performance in the gym. However, we would like to encourage you to let us know in the comments which of these tricks has worked for you and if we missed any others you have found beneficial.


  • J Padulo et al, Effects of Different Pushing Speeds on Bench press, International Journal of Sports Medicine 33, no 05, February 9, 2024
  • Marvin Zuckerman, Sensation Seeking (Psychology Revivals): Beyond the Original Level Of Arousal, February 9, 2024

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