No one will deny the important role genetics plays in the development of a champion in any sport, including powerlifting. Champions like Mike Bridges, Bill Kazmaier and Don Reinhoudt have certainly been blessed genetically, but their success is due to more than having the proper physical inheritance from the heritage. They, and all other champions, are aware of the importance of setting goals and developing a plan to reach those goals.
Any powerlifter who fails to set goals and develop an appropriate plan will never reach his potential. He can train for years and never rise about mediocrity. Setting goals is no guarantee that you will become a champion, but it is the first step in fulfilling your potential as a lifter.
The first step in proper goal setting is to define exactly what your goal is. You must be very precise and clear in setting your goals. Say, for instance, that your goal is to win the state powerlifting championships in your weight class. Although this is a worthy goal, it is unfortunately unclear. After analyzing the situation you must determine how much weight you believe you'll have to lift in order to win the title and then break it down lift by lift. Then you have more clearly defined your goal.
It is not always a good idea to reach for the stars. Your goal may be to become a world champion in powerlifting, but is this a realistic goal? I'm not trying to limit or discourage anyone and the last thing I want is for someone to sell themselves short, but if your goals are unrealistic you can become discouraged and quit. In fact, you can actually become mentally and physically sick by pursuing an unrealistic goal.
Take stock of your abilities and assess the situation. If you've been training consistently for five years and your best bench press at 181 pounds is only 250 it's very doubtful that you have the potential to become a world champion. This in no way means you're a failure. Lower your expectations somewhat, but set your goal high enough so that you'll have to work hard for it.
Next you must consider the time element. Using our previous example of wanting to become a world champion, and assuming you have the potential to honestly attempt it, it may take several years to accomplish. The only problem with having a goal so far in the future is it is easy to lose sight of it and once again become discouraged and quit.
Here's what you can do. Keeping your main, or long range, goal in mind, set a goal defining where you want to be one year from now. If you can currently total 1800 as a super heavyweight, a realistic goal would be 2000 by the year's end. You must then analyze your strengths and weaknesses in the three lifts and set goals in each lift that will enable you to reach your year long goal of 2000 pounds. In this instance, a breakdown of 750-500-750 might be appropriate. At the year's end you would then set another 12 month goal, keeping your main goal of becoming a champion clearly in mind.
Remember that even one year can be a long time and unless you receive some sort of reinforcement at frequent intervals you can once again lose sight of your goal and get discouraged and quit. You must learn to set sub-goals. That is, short term goals that will step by step eventually lead you to your goal of 2000 pounds.
Every month or two you could set a sub-goal. You may want to increase each lift by a few pounds, or you could concentrate on one specific lift (never attempt to specialize on more than one lift at a time). By continually setting and meeting these short term goals you will find that your enthusiasm and motivation are kept at high levels.
You must then learn to visualize your goals. In your mind you must actually see yourself squatting with 750, benching 500 and deadlifting 750. Unless you are able to convince yourself mentally, you will never be able to reach the goal physically. The more you believe in yourself, the faster you will reach your goals.
All of this goal setting is essentially worthless unless you have a plan. Plans outline the means by which you will achieve your goals. They set forth a course for you to follow. You wouldn't dare think of leaving on vacation without first planning exactly what to take and what route to travel. Nor would an army march off to battle without first laying down a plan for victory.
Likewise the powerlifter must learn to chart a course that will enable him to reach his goals. He must carefully plan out the routines that will bring about the desired progress. Even more importantly he must learn to analyze his workouts. He must determine which principles and training methods bring success and those which bring failure. Obviously, he must employ the principles and training methods that bring success and avoid those that bring failure. This point may seem to obvious, but countless powerlifters use the same unproductive routine workout after workout because they are either afraid to change or too lazy to analyze their workouts and make the necessary changes. No plan of attack is going to be perfect the first time. If you want to reach your goals you must learn to make the necessary changes to your plans.
Finally, no matter how good your plan of attack is you will not achieve your goals unless you put your plans into action. Dreaming will get you nowhere.
Don't waste another minute.
Set your goals,
plan your course of action, and then
get going immediately.
Do It Now!