Man, you gotta get fired up when you are trying to get strong and doing some heavy lifts. Now, I'm a sissy with all the peak contraction and slow negatives and stuff, but when I was powerlifting, I was around a bunch of guys that would get in a blind rage before their sets.
Kirk Karwoski used to let out a sound that was like, YYYEEEAAAAHHH, like a long "yeah"when he placed his hands on the bar when before was about to squat. And the rest of the time, he was on his Walkman, banging his head to British Steel, pacing around the gym.
Rob Wagner (799 at 198lbs in the squat, and I spotted him when he squatted 405x20) said that he used to bang his head on the bar before he squatted , but then he was in a meet with Ed Coan one time and he saw that Ed had an inward fire when he was lifting, like he was gonna explode, but without being outwardly demonstrative. So when Wagner squatted, he would take these huge breaths and he'd flair his nostrils some and then he'd be shaking a little. Which was just another way of getting fired up.
My junior college partner in crime, Chris (485 bench, 610x2 squat as a freshman), would focus on external things to get him going. He'd find somebody in the gym and he'd look at him and say to me, "Jim, that guys talking shit about me!" and I'd be like, "Who?"and Chris would explain that the guy at the front counter is making fun of him and at first I was perplexed and then I figured it out: He was using that guy to get him fired up, manufacturing the rage that he needed to help him crush the set. Once I figured it out, I was like, "YEAH, Chris, that's right, screw that guy, show him!" and he'd be growling and shaking the bar and crush the set.
I freakin' love seeing people get fired up, because at hat very moment, they are free. They are supremely focused on just one objective: Getting the weight up. Nothing at that moment matters, not your job and your dumbass boss, not your Old Lady, not your screaming kids, you are free from all responsibilities and worries don't matter at all. I had a Special Forces guy tell me one time that competing in a powerlifting meet gives him the same rush that war gave him. I'm thinking that he meant that total focus, that white light in your brain that only happens when you are locked in on a difficult task at hand.
Some guys like a slap on the face or back. I like the back thing, but not the face thing. That just makes me focus on hitting the guy back who hit me. One time at a powerlifting meet when I was on deck to squat, Rob Wagner started rubbing my earlobes. I was like, "What the ?" , and he said that the Russians did it to their lifters all the time, it's supposed to irritate them and get them fired up that way. I think that I missed my squat and we never did the ear rubbing again.
One thing that I found out about getting fired up is that you need to save it for when you are just getting ready to approach the bar. You get fired up too early and you won't have the strength to lift your maximum, you'll be exhausted. In my opinion, you need to be calm, and visualize the lift, a successful lift, but not get excited when visualizing. Then when you are a minute out, start building that fire and conjure up that white light and do whatever you need to get you crazy and to block out the world and then let it build and build and build until you explode and take it out on those measly little weights that actually thought that they stood chance against you.