Morning Musings #9 – Iron Sharpens Iron, Mental Skills, and Triphasic Awesomeness

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.


I recently had the great benefit of enjoying the company of a group of individuals who are vested and/or employed within various positions in the fitness industry: coaches in collegiate strength and conditioning, coaches in semi-private fitness facilities, private personal trainers across several states, and everything between.


Avengers Movie

We fought, we drank, and we discussed breathing.

Further, I believe one of the coaches involved mentioned that if I ask and expect my athletes to get better everyday, then I will also hold myself accountable to that as well. Love that #getafterit attitude.

One of many benefits of interacting with these people is the chance to bounce ideas off of one another, appreciate where each one is coming from not only from an individual point of view, but also the accompanying logistics that they face as a coach and trainer (and how they attack it), along with the social gathering afterward – where the real magic happens.


Everyone discussing breathing… or talking about deadlifts. Tomay-to tomah-toe.

While the details of the discourse in the meeting would be terribly difficult to replicate via reading during this blogpost, let’s just say things got a little crazy.

As I alluded to in this post, I enjoy taking a step back from the intensity of the meetings and discussions and finding the big picture that everyone is truly talking about. On top of this, it is truly humbling to wax poetic with several individuals who are intensely passionate about their craft. This not only allows me to learn, but to also reinvigorate the reason why I’m here in the first place.

Meeting Minutes

Mental Goals

When discussing mental goals with an athlete or client, I will often make a [mental] note; often times it is fairly straightforward such as “I want to help my team win,” or “I want to lose this belly fat.” However, there may be individual complications involved, such as an athlete knowingly having an individual weakness that he or she will need to work on, or a client having retention skills in regards to nutrition in regards to social events.

Plan of Action:

  • Create a rubric for the client/athlete to fill out based on steps involved with the end goal.
  • Write down the goal (or the steps involved with the goal)
  • Prioritize the goal numerically
  • Have the client/athlete score their current state.

The finding is usually that yes, almost everything involved with the goal is important. However, the perceived importance towards success for an athlete or client along with their perceived current state in that specific step towards that goal will show their subjective feelings in their own individualistic state of being – or in other words:

  1. What are some steps towards the goal?
  2. What is important? (Write down a number on scale of 1-10 in order of importance)
  3. What is your perceived expertise level in [above] step? (Write down a number on scale of 1-10.)
  4. Initial evaluation of the athlete or client will be documented for later use.

Whether or not there is a large gap between the two numbers, instant feedback can be given from the coach or trainer after a period of time, say from one to three months, or even one year’s time. Further, this has personally given me some traction in a rubric format of how to go about understanding someone’s perspective.

Triphasic Training

While I can’t do this topic justice in one blog post, namely because I have not experimented and experienced this methodology nearly as long as Cal Dietz, the author of Triphasic Training, and the Strength and Conditioning Coach of the University of Minnesota for roughly 8 different sports, I will preface the following by saying that there are many methods – I enjoy following principles, and by following principles, this method was produced.

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. ~The G.O.A.T.

At the end of the day, the purpose of “triphasic training” is to enhance one’s training program through specialized use of the three phases of a muscular contraction: there is the eccentric phase, slight isometric pause, along with the concentric portion of the motion. As a broad stroke statement, almost everyone focuses on the concentric portion of any given lift – lift heavy and lift it fast.

However, by stressing the motions of the eccentric (and isometric) phase of the movement, and training it appropriately at certain loading parameters (or weights used of a 1 rep max), then you can begin to increase the amount of force developed.


If an athlete spends less time developing more power, then there is a greater reflexive response elicited.

If the above didn’t make sense to you, (or on the other hand you want to read more on triphasic training), I’d recommend looking into triphasic training even for general population, body composition clients, and youth athletes for two simple facts:

  1. By purposefully slowing down the movement (focusing on the eccentric) you can appropriately teach a movement in [x] amount of reps (instead of whipping around doing 10 good looking reps out of 100s), and
  2. You will be able to generate more force, and therefore, no matter what your goal, achieve increased strength or power, (and for fat loss clients – more calories burned as a result of a higher output of force).

I’m all about good movement, and I’m all about increasing force output.

Keep it funky.



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