Mental Focus with Kim Walford

Mental Focus with Kim Walford

While we all have our own setup, there's something to say about the intensity some lifters radiate on the platform. I had the chance to train with Kim Walford, International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Record holder and 4-time World Champion and she gave me tips on how I can bring more intensity to approaching the bar. "If all else fails, and you can't think of something to get your fired up, think about people you don't like. Or people who don't want you to succeed - the haters. Who else would you want to see angry?"

I try my hardest to be a shining burst of positivity and light in my normal life, but there is something to say about the Apeman Strong slogan "Lift Angry" that Kim reads before every lift in her New Jersey home gym. My best lifting sessions are full of friends and laughs, but my pre-lift mantra is pretty emotional, "Pull. Pull. Pull. Mother fu*ker. Pull the fu*king bar. Let's go." It's a funny switch to turn on and off. Right after the down command and 3 white lights, I'm back to being my bubbly bouncy self. 

Walford's home gym in New Jersey has many visual reminders for her to mentally prepare. Behind the deadlift platform her entire wall is covered with a huge American flag, and in the corner Kim runs a stream of inspirational videos on YouTube. Most days her own meet and sponsored videos will show up on the feed while the stereo blasts music. On the opposite wall, a banner with her SBD Apparel teammates: Ray Williams (120+kg, USA), Brett Gibbs (83kg, New Zealand), Inna Fillimonova (57kg, Russia), Mohamed Bouafia (Algeria, -120kg), and Stephan Manual (-105kg, Great Britain). Kim likes to remind herself of her sponsors and her supporters as a cloak of strength around her. 

The switch we turn on just before a lift is important, and something competitors of all training ages and levels should hone in on. We train for months and years for nine attempts at bringing our best total on a given day. In response to her sudden focus Kim explains, "You realize in the moment you have to be serious. Everything is focused on hitting that attempt because you don't have another opportunity. We all train so hard for that moment. Whether it's a Personal Record or a World Record, we all train so hard to prove to ourselves and everyone else that we can do it." 

Let me know how you personally gear up for the platform. Do you have a mantra, or visual reminders in your gym to get you hyped up? Comment them here so I can put more tricks up my sleeve. I've been recently thinking about the haters as Kim's training facility suggests, "Do it because they said you couldn't."

Walford is gearing up to bring her 5th Open World Championship at IPF Worlds next week in Killeen Texas. This is the first year World Classic Powerlifting Championships will be held in the USA, and lifters all over the world will be streaming in to watch here: http://www.powerlifting-ipf.com

Make sure you check out Kimberly Walford on Instagram and on YouTube