Take The Anger Out

By: Daniel Dalenberg

Man, I have had an awful day/week/month. I need to get in the gym and destroy some weights to work off this bad mood.

I need to compete soon, I can’t handle not smashing weights training for a meet.

BRO! F*** this deload. I’m going crazy, I’m pushing the limits tonight.

Have you heard someone say those things? Better yet, have you been that guy/gal before? I bet you have. I know that I have before. I’ve been there, acting purely on emotion and allowing that to force my hand; basing decisions on emotion alone.

Emotion is necessary, absolutely. Meet day especially takes a certain level of controlled aggression and emotion for most people to be successful. People will display it and act on it in different ways, but for almost everyone that aggression is there.


However, in training especially, making decisions completely on emotion is a recipe for messing up your training. Take the emotion out.

Setting Up For Injury

This is absolutely the biggest risk of training on emotional fuel by far. You had a bad day at work, maybe some trouble with your significant other or some other unrelated personal issue. You come in the gym, throw the plan away and starting warming up violently to take some heavy singles. Work that aggression off! Therapy right?

Watch yourself there, Mr. Chemically Imbalanced. While your mind might be getting some relief, you are throwing weight around without a proper warm up, forgetting technique and tempting a big injury. That big deadlift you pulled without giving a second thought to all that back rounding just put some serious miles on your spine.

I have to question if this is worth it. Powerlifting is abusive on the body, there is no doubt about that at all. Coming the gym angry and emotional to throw weight around as some kind of masochistic therapy is a ton of extra abuse. Forgoing the warmup, lifting big weight with poor technique and pushing the body to the point of failure, over and over, is just about guaranteed to result in injury.

How angry will you be then, post bicep tear or disc herniation? No way to blast weights to work that frustration out then.

Getting Off The Plan

Whether it be peaking for a meet, generating momentum during the off-season, or taking some time to body-build, there is a bit of an art as to when to be going full throttle. Hitting big weights at the wrong time can completely ruin what had been a productive training cycle. Now all of a sudden you are coming into the beginning of a pre-contest phase beat up and tired. Or even worse; blowing your wad 3 weeks out from a big meet.


Each phase of your training should have a purpose and a plan. If I were to ask you why you are training a certain way, I would expect you to be able to give me a reasonable answer to the logic behind your general structure. That logic should be leading to a better performance in your chosen sport. That’s kind of the whole point isn’t it? Training hard out of emotion, rather than as the result of a good plan, has nothing to do with performing better or being stronger. It’s being driven by an unrelated external source that your own weak mind has allowed to push you off the planned path.

Now you’ve skipped a very intentional deload or taken huge weights when what was actually needed was more in the 80% range. You’ve blown the plan and now what was laid out for specific reasons goes out the window.

Again, I question if this was worth it. That anger fueled training session just messed up your meet. You were training for competition, not that one night in the gym. You aren’t doing what you need to do. You didn’t need to lift angry. You needed to do that deload work, that technique session or that 75% triple.

Take The Anger Out

Aggression and emotion are great tools when applied at the right times. Making decisions and pushing the limits only because your head is hot is not the right time. Lay out your plan ahead of time and execute to that. Save the emotion and aggression for when it matters, not in the gym on some random Wednesday night, but on the platform.


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Daniel Dalenberg

Dan Dalenberg is a pro level raw and equipped powerlifter with elite totals in the 220, 242 and 275 class. Best official raw meet lifts include an 804 squat, 507 bench press, 715 dead lift and 2006 total. Best equipped lifts include an 950 squat, 715 bench, 735 deadlift and 2400 total at 242. Dan has been training under Brian's guidance using the 10/20/Life methodology since late 2010.

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