Sports Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 47–58 | Cite as

‘Psyching-Up’ and Muscular Force Production

  • David TodEmail author
  • Fiona Iredale
  • Nicholas Gill
Review Article


Psyching-up refers to self-directed cognitive strategies used immediately prior to or during skill execution that are designed to enhance performance. This review focuses on research that has investigated the effect of psyching-up on force production; specifically, strength, muscular endurance and power. Although firm conclusions are not possible, the research tentatively suggests that psyching-up may enhance performance during dynamic tasks requiring strength and/or muscular endurance. However, more research is required. Power has received scant empirical attention and there are not enough data to support any conclusions. Preparatory arousal appears to be the most effective strategy although other strategies like imagery, self-talk and attentional focus also have empirical support. The range of tasks that have been used to measure force production have been limited tomovements such as handgrip, leg extension, bench press, sit-ups, pressups, pull-ups, and the standing broad jump. Additionally, most studies have used undergraduate and/or untrained samples. Only a very small number of studies have examined well-trained individuals. Currently, no explanation for why psyching-up may influence force production has any substantive support. Although a small number of studies have examined moderating and mediating variables, few consistent patterns have emerged and knowledge in this area is somewhat restricted. Given the importance that many athletes place on their mental preparation just prior to performance this is an area that warrants further examination. Research needs to examine a range of complex sport-specific tasks and use well-trained samples. Additionally, research needs to further examine why psyching-up may enhance force production.


Force Production Handgrip Strength Bench Press Rugby Union Training History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Dr Michael McGuigan from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Mr Graeme Thomas from the Waikato Institute of Technology and the two independent reviewers for their helpful comments. The authors received funding from the Waikato Institute of Technology to assist in the preparation of this manuscript. The authors have no conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sport Science, School of Human Movement, Recreation and PerformanceVictoria UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Waikato Institute of TechnologyHamiltonNew Zealand

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