Regain Control

Where are you?

Where do you want to go?

How can you get there?

Appreciate the PROCESS.

I recently heard the step structure of 1) Out of Control 2) Regain Control 3) Let Go of Control from Dr. Seth Oberst. It resonated with me and I began to reflect on one of my biggest takeaways from the collegiate setting, as a strength and conditioning coach.

The Process.

If you are new to training and/or consistent exercise or maybe you are experiencing pain during exercise, you are out of control in the weight room realm. Our job as a coach, is to help you regain control in movement pattern and category competencies, progress with safe loading, and remove barriers to fitness.

Safe experiences will update your predictive model about how you view a task. For example, a safe experience would be successfully performing a deadlift exercise or a quantity of load that you did not think possible in reference to previous pain experiences and/or perceived personal limitations of capabilities. Safe experiences and skill acquisition will remove barriers to fitness and you will earn the ability to move into the next step.

Once you regain control, you will need to let go of control. Letting go of control is the focus on fitness, expressing physical savagery, and performance. This third step is moving the scale towards training, not messing around, not living in a land of novelty, and earning the right to acquire a specific goal.

Where are you? Where do you want to go? How can you get there? Is a PROCESS. All good coaches should able to determine what the client/athlete needs to succeed and a process towards getting them there. If you jump to methods of letting go of control before control is established, you risk the chance that you will backtrack soon or you will go nowhere.

Moving backwards or going nowhere refers to the inability to maintain the successful execution of a pattern (technique/form, i.e. squat depth) with a increase in load or volume. Oftentimes we see an inability to maintain squat depth with an increase in load or volume because the individual has not had enough repetition in that pattern to acquire that skill. We did not regain control.

Out of Control

  1. Low/No Training or Sport History
  2. Experiencing Pain (with or without exercise)

Regain Control

  1. Accumulate volume within a pattern utilizing a tool that provides success
  2. Reduce pain as a barrier to fitness by providing safe experiences that update predictive model

Let Go of Control

  1. Timed Sets, As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP), Velocity Intent/Tracking, Max Load Testing within a pattern
  2. Fitness (start at regaining control of #1)

Biggest Takeaway from the Collegiate Setting: Learning a Process.

Working in the collegiate setting taught me about the value of creating a intake process. Every single year a group of new student-athletes would arrived and we had a PROCESS for their arrival. A PROCESS for teaching them what they needed to know in order to get to the level of their upper-class teammates, and be successful in the weight room. Each coach had a process, a system, and the athletes had to go through that process in order to learn how to be successful in that system. Athletes knew what was important to each coach and what to expect.

The collegiate setting has provided me a great appreciation for having a process and categorized steps to determine the direction in which I need to guide someone to achieve their goals within my value system. As a coach in the collegiate setting you are responsible for teaching young adults about exercise and how to train. You have an influence over creating a belief system towards training for the people you work with, and the best coaches seem to have a process.

I learned, from some of the best collegiate strength coaches in the country, to be clear about what you want athletes to learn. At Northeastern University we had a clear structure and process for taking in new people into our system, which was a tremendous lesson for me. Having a process will help you decide what is important, what you want the people you work with to learn, and determining what steps to take to get there.   

When a new student-athlete arrived to our facility, we had medical clearing procedures, testing, and sessions with the strength and conditioning coach that were centered on learning the basics within the training system. The goal was to be able to integrate the new student-athlete into team training, and acquire basics skills (regain control) in order for progression to occur during the next four years of their collegiate career.

The initial session with the strength and conditioning coach involved going over the movement patterns of the hinge, squat, pushup, split squat, etc. There were movement patterns related to exercises that the student-athletes needed to know and execute well in order to be successful in accumulating volume over time and earning the ability to let go of control. The initial session and first team training session was also used to establish expectations and standards.

The following years were filled with elements of progression and establishing control over weight room components that the strength and conditioning coach deemed important. There were also opportunities to let go of control through team challenges, competitions, timed sets, max loading, velocity tracking, speed development drills, and conditioning sessions. However, it all started with an initiation of regaining control and developing skills for success in a system of performance development and learning.

What process do you use?

What do you deem to be important for weight room success?

Want to learn more?

More information about creating a process within your training principles will be included in the upcoming MBT Strategy Course:

The course will take you through MBT training principles, processes, and model, as well as provide you with action steps in order to help you create your own principles and model to implement within your own context. This course will guide you in implementing these principles into your exercise selection, coaching, and programming.