5555 N LAMAR B-110 AUSTIN, TX 78751

Pre-Lift Ritual

October 23, 2019

Male weightlifter preparing to perform a snatchA pre-lift ritual is a series of actions or movements that occur immediately before you attempt a heavy lift. (Pre-competition rituals might start a few days out from the actual competition, so we’ll save that for another article.) 

Some rituals evolve over time, some are the result of trial and error, and some are carefully choreographed. Regardless of how they came to be, all pre-lift rituals are well-established movement patterns. Pre-lift rituals must become deeply ingrained in order to be effective. 


When you address a heavy bar, the goal is to maintain technical proficiency while simultaneously producing maximal force. When it comes to heavy singles or max effort lifts, maintaining good form is really about “muscle memory". It’s impossible to simultaneously think through all the technical aspects of the lift during a max effort squat. If you have an internal monologue that’s more than one or two words, odds are you’re going to miss the lift.


Pre-lift rituals are sensory in nature - they involve sound, touch, and even smell. Common pre-lift rituals include things like:

  • spinning the bar in the j-hooks
  • foot-stomping
  • “screwing” feet into the floor
  • jumping up into the air
  • quad slapping
  • smelling ammonia capsules
  • shouting
  • lifting arms overhead, etc.

PRO TIP: Try to avoid pre-lift rituals that require an external stimulus, so things like listening to your favorite song or having another person provide the slap stimulus. What if your phone dies? What if your coach is with another lifter? Make sure you rely on things that you can control… in every situation!


Having an established pattern of movement (a ritual) allows you to focus on lifting the weight. You cannot afford to waste mental energy on the approach or set up. Attempting to lift a heavy weight can be very intimidating - you need to do everything you can stay focused!

Play around with different rituals and when you find what works for you, stick with it. It’ll make a HUGE difference in your next PR attempt!



We specialize in personal trainingpowerlifting, and Olympic Weightlifting. Our trainers/coaches have experience working with clients of all ages/fitness levels. Whether youʼre a couch potato or a competitive athlete, we care about your unique goals, and our only goal is to help you reach them!


5555 N LAMAR B-110 AUSTIN, TX 78751

© 2023 Grassiron LLC. All rights reserved.

*As with any fitness program, individual results may vary. Success Stories and Testimonials are REAL GRASSIRON CLIENTS and are meant to be a showcase of the best results the program has produced; they are not intended to represent or guarantee that everyone will achieve the same or similar results. You should consult your physician before starting any fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs.