Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Question on Program Rationale

Hear was a readers question with regards to the Na Fianna Senior Football Strength Program Phase 1

Robbie can you give us more info on this program - hate to sound like a broken record but the context around it is important.
Who are these athletes, what is goal of this phase, etc.


My reply:

Glad you asked.

The program is for a Gaelic Football team with little experience with a structured strength Program.

I must add that this is still not the same program for everyone. Some will not bench due to shoulder pathologies, and everyone will have different mobility as fillers due to whatever mobility and movement deficiencies need the most work, etc.

The overall goals for this phase are corrections of FMS patterns in the warm up, technique, and general work capacity.

Also the exercise selection in Phase 1 is to prepare the lads for the slightly more advanced variations of phase 2.


Phase 1: BB RDL - Phase 2 Convential Deadlift
Rational: The hardest part for beginners to learn in the deadlift is how to return the bar to the floor. BB RDL teaches this, as well as a proper hip hinge.

Phase 1: DB/KB Goblet Reverse Lunge - Phase 2: BB Reverse Lunge
Rational: DB/KB Goblet Reverse Lunge teaches proper body position for Phase 2 with the bar

Phase 1: DB/KB Goblet RFE SS - Phase 2: BB RFE SS
Rational: DB/KB Goblet RFE SS teaches proper body position for Phase 2 with the bar.

With beginners I like to use a accummulation, intensification periodization scheme.

4 weeks - higher volume/ slighter lower intensity
4 weeks - lower volume/ higher intensity

With more adavnced guys. I like a block style approach or a modified concurrent where one quality is emphasized and others are maintained. But most people I train just need to move better and get stronger.


Stay Strong,


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas to all readers of this blog,and also a happy christmas to all who have the same love and passion for the iron game. May you have a great day with your loved ones and a peaceful New Year.

Christmas wouldn't be christmas without some early morning strongman training!!

At 10 this morning myself, Tomas Brady, and Joey Boland went to the club to earn our christmas feeding!!

A: Farmer Walks - 5mins (non stop, you go, I go format between the 3 of us)
B: Prowler Sprints - 5mins (non stop, you go, I go format between the 3 of us)
C: Log Press: 30secs on/ 30secs off - 5mins
D: KB Swings: 30secs on/ 30secs off - 5mins
E: MB Slams: 30secs on/ 30secs off - 5mins

For Station C,D, and E, we would stay at one station each for the 5mins and then switch to another station for 5mins, and then the last one for 5mins. Working for 30secs/ and resting for 30secs.


Round 1:
C: Robbie - 30secs on/ 30secs off - 5mins
D: Brady - 30secs on/ 30secs off - 5mins
E: Joey - 30secs on/ 30secs off - 5mins

Round 2:
C: Joey - 30secs on/ 30secs off - 5mins
D: Robbie - 30secs on/ 30secs off - 5mins
E: Brady - 30secs on/ 30secs off - 5mins

Round 3:
You get the point!

Total session time: 30mins (5mins for warm up)

Fun Times........


Stay Strong,


Thursday, December 23, 2010

So You Want To Be a Strength & Conditioning Coach

Well Im here to offer some help.

1. Read:

Boring I know. But its so true. Books, Blogs (Free), Websites (most are free).

2. Read:

Yes its this important.

3. Listen:

Download everything you can find that is related to our field and listen to it. Podcasts are FREE

4. Watch:
DVDs, Webinars, etc.

5. Attend:

6. Get an internship:

For my Irish and UK friends I advise going to the US. MBSC, Cressey Performace, Athletes Performance, Train 4 the Game. This will give so much from a coaching and personal development standpont that the experience will be priceless.

7. Coach:

Coach!! You need to coach. Theory is one thing. Putting it into practice is another thing all together. Volunteer if you have too. But get your hours in. What started as a volunteer role for me ending up being the beginning of my business, when I got back from MBSC.

8. Don't be afraid to make mistakes:

Nothing will ever be perfect. Remember you wont know until you try.

9. First Learn all the Rules then break them (if you want:-)

By this I mean, you need to get to a stage where you have a decent understanding of basic concepts, theories, and ideas, to start to form YOUR OWN OPINION. Please DO NOT be afraid to think for yourself.

10. Interact:

Don't be afraid to connect with other coaches. Most are very willing to email you, or talk on skype. I have made some great friends, and mentors who help me to be a better coach everyday.

11. Seek out the best in the industry:

Make it your business to get to know the Mike Boyles, Eric Cresseys, Charlie Weingroffs, Patrick Wards of this world. If you want to be the best you need to learn from and get to know the best.

12. Repeat 1-4 everyday!

Stay Strong,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Na Fianna Senior Football Strength Program Phase 1

The following is the Na Fianna Senior Football Strength and Conditioning Program Phase 1

Foam Roll
Stretch - (replaced by FMS Correction if needed)
Activation - (replaced by FMS Correction if needed)
Dynamic Warm Up (Linear Day 1, Multidirectional day 2)
Plyos(Linear Day 1, Multidirectional day 2)
Med Ball Throws

Day 1:

A1: Hang Clean technique (Using Glenn Plenday's teching style of the high hang clean. Very Effective)
A2: Mobility exercise which maybe needed by the individual (ie, t-spine, etc)

B1: BB RDL 3x5 (In Phase 1 I like to teach people to be able to lower the bar properly, and how to hip hinge)
B2: Incline DB Press - Neutral Grip 3x8
B3: Core: Plank Row 2x5
B4: Mobility

C1: DB Goblet Reverse Lunge 3x8 (Goblet teaches to chest chest up. Phase 2 will be with a bar)
C2: 3PT DB Row 3x8 (reforces hip hinge)
C3: Side Plank progression

D1: TRX Face Pulls 2x12
D2: Push Ups 2x12 (I like to always have a push up in the program)

Day 2:

A1: Hang Clean technique (Using Glenn Plenday's teching style of the high hang clean. Very Effective)
A2: Mobility exercise which maybe needed by the individual (ie, t-spine, etc)

B1: Chin Up 3x5
B2: DB/KB Goblet RFE Split Squat 3x8
B3: Core: Plank Progression
B4: Mobility

C1: Bench Press 3x5
C2: 1 Arm DB/KB SLDL 3x8
C3: Tall Kneeling Isometric Pallof Press

D1: TRX Rows - Neutral Grip 2x12
D2: 2 Leg Shoulder Elevated Hip Lifts 2x12

Stay Strong,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dry Needling Course

Dr.Joe Donnelly, Me, and Chris Alejandro

Sorry for not be very productive on the blog. Things are busy at UP.

Last weekend (Dec 5-6), I completed my National Qualification in Trigger Point Dry Needling the course was held by the National Training Centre (NTC). I would highly recommend any Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) and Dry Needling course by the NTC.

The course was run over two weekends. Our course instructors were John Sharkey, Chris Alejandro, and Dr. Joe Donnelly from Alanta in US. All were very helpful throughout the course.

Dr. Joe and I discussed about Gray Cooks work, and about him (Dr Joe) meeting and studing with Dr. Janda, and Karl Lewit. Joe also had a close relationship with David Simons, co-author of the myofascial pain and dysfucnction textbooks with Dr. Travell.

Overall a great 4 days of learning. I would like to thank the NTC for their excellent course standards, and also to my friends from the course who were great craic throughout the entire course!

Stay Strong,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Conditioning on Stationary Bikes: Pros and Cons

I often get the question from some of my GAA players, "what do you think of spin, or doing some conditioning on a bike?". Well I am about to give you my definitive answers here. Keep in mind I am talking about conditioning on stationary bikes for field and court athletes

1. Cycling is very anterior chain (quad) dominant: Most athletes are anterior chain dominant. By this I mean they overuse their quads, and underuse their glutes and the hamstrings (posterior chain). Conditioning on a bike feeds this imbalance even more.

2. No acceleration, deceleration, or change of direction (COD): In sports like hurling and football acceleration, deceleration and COD are very important aspects of the sport. Acceleration is all about being able to apply force into the ground. Deceleration is about having great eccentric control of your body, especially on one limb, while COD is also about eccentric control and then being able to rapaidly apply force back into the ground to change direction. Being on a stationary bike does nothing to improve these very important aspects. Someone can argue that I am talking about the speed, and agility portion of training, but even in the conditioning segment I would prefer a field/court athlete to be on their feet, having to deal with these forces as they fatigue. As we know injury risks are higher with fatigue!

3. Hip Flexors: Do we really need to shorten the hip flexors anymore than we already do with all the sitting we do nowadays? I think no.

4. Kyphotic Posture (Rounded Shoulders): Similar to the comment to the hip flexors above, do we really want to bring our spines into more poor posture. Don't we get enough as it is already. Ok you can make arguments for the airdyne, but I am making the argument against your typical stationary/spin bike.

5. Low transfer: The transfer of conditioning on a bike to improve your on-field conditioning is low. What we use to believe before was that if we can improve the strength & conditioning of our cardio-respiratory system by any means (running, cycling, etc) then our conditioning levels in all activities should improve. What we failed to realize though is that there also needs to be a cellular adaptation to the muscles also, as well as the cardio-respiratory system. This is why on a bike Lance Armstrong is the most conditioned human in the world, but in the New York City marathon he was why back at the end of the field. This is becacuse he has made the cellular adaptations (mitochondria, capillaries, myogoblin, hemogoblin) in the muscle tissues and blood when cycling, but not when he is on two feet running.

Ok now for the Pros

1. Injuries: Anybody coming back from some joint or lower extremity injury, the bike may have some role to play in the initial stages. In fact I have heard Dan Pfaff talk about how his has used bikes to still get some training effect for his sprinters with a broken bone in their foot or a lower extremity issue. This may seem to fly in the face of what I just stated above about transfer, but Pfaff is using a specialized bike that manages to get his athletes in positions similar to those that are encounter in sprinting. Also he states his volumes is a lot higher on the bikes due to there being no ground forces. Keep in mind also that Pfaff calls this a serious Plan B!

2. Variety: OK. I know you're like WTF. I am contradicting myself again. But you need to remember I am answering the average athlete who is not on a well designed strength & conditioning program, has shitty posture, and has poor acceleration, deceleration, and COD capabilities. But for a well trained athlete who is concurrently training all these qualities that I have mention, some conditioning on the bike will be a welcome change. This is why I think conditioning on the airdynes at MBSC is ok, as the athletes are working on their posterior chain, their hip mobility/flexibility, their acceleration, deceleration, COD, etc.

3. Recovery: Low impact, and requires little mental attention. For recovery it is a tool in the toolbox.

So there you have my opinions on conditioning for field/court athletes on a stationary bike. Hope you find it somewhat useful??

Stay Strong,


Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ultimate Performance Montage

One Of my favourite youtube videos is Joe DeFrancos Montage. So I decided if DeFranco can make an awesome montage, so can I! Well one of mates really made, but you know what I mean.

I just want to say a big thanks to all the great guys and gals who I have been training all year. You are a great group to work with.




Thursday, November 18, 2010

DB Complex Warm Up


Here is a dumbbell complex warm up that I used with some of my guys. I use this as a warm up, but it can also be used for conditioning as a finisher. When using it as a warm I will place mobility drills in bewteen the rest intervals of the complexes as fillers.

DB Comlex:
2 Arm DB Bent Over Row x5
2 Arm DB SLDL x5 (Each Leg)
2 Arm DB Curl & Press x5
2 Arm DB Reverse Lunge x5 (Each Leg)
1 Arm DB Snatch x5 (Each Arm)
DB Goblet Squat x5

Mobility 1 x1:
Wall Slides x10
Ankle Mobility x10
Leg Swings x10

Repeat Complex x1

Mobility 2 x1:
Push Ups x10 (not mobility, but I like to keep a push in the warm up)
Quadruped T-Spine Rotations x10
Spiderman Stretch x5

Repeat Complex x1

Mobility 3:
Alternating Lunge Martix x5 Each Leg


Stay Strong,

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Interview with Mike Guadango

1. Mike thank for your time. Could you give my readers your background, and how you came to be a strength and conditioning coach?

Growing up I was always active but always hurt. Because of this, I spent a lot of time in physical therapy and the chiropractor. Once I started using both of them, obviously I started noticing a difference. And to top it off, I was ALWAYS a HUGEEE Sly and Arnold fan growing up. Always being the smallest kid in class made me admire the biggest dudes there were haha.

Years later…

I like lifting and training so why the f*ck not? I now have a BS in Exercise Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology, I’ve been with Joe DeFranco for about 7 years and been working for him for about a year and a half. I’ve also studied under James “The Thinker” Smith and Buddy “The Legend” Morris out of Pittsburgh.

2. What, in your opinion, is the biggest problem you see in the strength and conditioning industry?

I’m not one to really bitch about the problems with “society” and shit like that. But I guess my biggest problem would be how any dick can be a “trainer” and claim to know more than the next one just because they’ve read a few books and maybe even have their CSCS. This is a bullshit cert FYI. Some people actually need to dumb themselves down in order to get it.

Needs to get with the Times!!!!!!!!!!

3. You recently release a quality nutrition bar, FOCUS FOOD for training. Could you give my readers some insight into why you felt the need to produce your very own bar?
(no comment)

4. Apart from Joe D, who has had the biggest influence on you as a coach?
I’d honestly have to say “The Thinker” is. During my time at Pitt, he really worked with me and took me “under his wing” or as we jokingly say, “gave me the red pill.” He exposed all the problems with my way of thinking without telling me how stupid I really was haha.

Don’t get me wrong, I f*ckin’ LOVEEE Buddy Morris. In fact, I got VERY close with him. He’s like my twin, only older, bigger, and he might be a bigger asshole than I am. But I think James really influenced me to change my mind set about things more than anyone.


5. What are you all-time favourite books in the following areas:
- Strength Training: Supertraining (Still working on getting through ALL of it haha…I think we all are!)

- Physical Therapy Rehabilitation: You know, I can’t say that I’ve read entire books with PT, I kind of take what I need out of them and continue to reference back to them.

-Nutrition: Metabolic Typing Diet and Eat Right 4 Your Type have some pretty interesting stuff in it. They’ve got their ups and downs.

-Business: I don’t worry about business stuff. That’s not my gig.

-Random: When I was younger I read the book Jonathon Livingston Segal. And at that time I was battling injuries. Much like anything else, my situation twisted it to be about things that I needed. It made me feel like I could accomplish anything if I just put my mind to it. In a way, it helped give me the work ethic I have now.

6. What would be the single most important advice on nutrition that you could give someone?

Just because something works(ed) for someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. Everyone is different; everyone has their own way of responding and evolving to virtually every single stimulus. This is what makes us individuals.

7. You are a fairly high level baseball player also. How much do you feel strength training has contributed to your baseball performance? Also what areas are the most important for a baseball player to work on in terms of strength training in your opinion?

Without my training, I wouldn’t have done half the things I did. It definitely was a reason I had such a good collegiate career. Speed, power and velocity all went up due to my strength training regimen.

Since baseball players are orthopaedic f*ucking messes it’s necessary that they’re properly maintained from a prehab/rehab standpoint, before, during and after training. Otherwise, there’s no point in training at all.

8. Could you give my readers a basic summary of what your methodology on strength training is (eg. how do you assess, design, and periodize programs)?

Haha there’s no short way to answer this question without being vague.

I assess by analysing general movement patterns for any biomechanical issues. And the design of the program is determined through that.

Assuming there are none, then time frame, availability, dedication and money (unfortunately) must be discussed.

I will write programs accordingly. Like I said earlier, every athlete/person is different. For me to give different people the same blue print would be completely irresponsible. Each person requires different needs. Sorry for completely dodging that question but I wasn’t about to give you a 10page f*cking answer haha.

9. If you could choose one exercise and on exercise only, what would it be and why?

Squats. Wanna get someone strong? Put some heavy sh*t on their back and squat it. Wanna get someone tough? Make em squat it for high f*cking reps!


10. Last question, what advice would you give to young coaches getting into the field?

As Thinker says, “Be a sceptic.” Form your own opinion. Cuz as you know, there are wayyyy more sh*tty people out there than there are good.

RB: Mike, thank you so much for your time. Where can my readers find out more about you and any projects you may have coming up in the near future?

MG: I’m actually starting my own website:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another great video from Teds Talk

Alan Russell on regenerating our bodies


Stay Strong,

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Can we eat to starve cancer?

Here is a great talk on some new techniques to treat cancer, and also about some of the best foods to eat to defend yourself against cancer.

Stay Strong,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This is for "BUNKIE"

Today was my Testing day, or as Eric Cresseys calls it Moving day.

I have put a solid ten months of strength training in this year. I experimented with Joe DeFrancos Westside for Skinny bastards for 12 weeks at the start of the year and have to say I made big gains. Then experimented with Wendlers 531 for 12 weeks, and the last 12 I experimented with self designed program influenced by Eric Cresseys Maximum Strength.

So, you guys are still probably wondering about the title. Who is "BUNKIE". Bunkie is Steve Bunker, a strength and conditioning coach at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning. He runs Mikes second facility at North Androver, MA. Think about the coolest guy in the world that you know, and that is who Steve is.

When I interned at MBSC, Steve looked after me from day one. He bought me a bicycle, so I would not have to walk to the facility. He also had me over for thanks giving dinner with his family.

Last June of this year, me, Cedric Unholz, and another friend of mine Stephen Bennett tavelled to Rhode Island to the Perform Better Summit. Who do you think gave us housing, food, and transport over those few days in Boston. Thats right, Bunkie. To put into words what Bunkie did for the three of us that week would not do him and his family justice.

So, I dedicated my testing day today to Bunkie. His passion for strength training, powerlifting, and his family is an inspiration. He is the reason I wanted to be stronger. When I was over last June Steve was preparing fro a meet, and we all went to North Androver to do a lift. Steve's two sons Drew, and Craig came is well to lift. I was so envious of Drew, and Craig. I would love to be able to go to the gym to lift with my father.

Steve walks the walk. His trains hard, eats well, gets to bed early, is up a the crack of dawn to train athletes and clients, and makes his family his number one priority.

These lifts are for you Bunkie:

190kg Deadlift


145Kg Squat


40kg Chin Up x 2


I also tested my bench and got 107.5kg but the camera died!

Stay Strong,


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Stroke of Insight

My classmate on my NMT course Bre O'Connell mention this video to me. It really is an amazing and brilliant story about neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor's experience of her very on stroke . Its only 20mins, so when you get the chance watch it.



My Stroke of Insight

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Super-sets. Tri-Sets, Quad-Sets, Straight sets,Energy Systems, and my thoughts

Do you pair your Main Lifts all of the time, some of the time or never? Why? Why not?

I had a great discussion with Patrick Ward (who is starting to become a mentor), and with my good friend Cedric Unholz. We got onto the topic on the alactic system for strength and power athletes.

The alactic system as we know is our ATP CP system. It is used for all out maximum efforts in strength, power, and speed. Depending on who you read this system only has a life of 7-10secs, before it starts to ask for help from the anerobic system. It then takes depending on who you read again 3 or more minutes for it to replenish fully. If we want it fully replenhished?

In thinking then of programming super-sets, tri-sets, and quad-sets for strength and power athtletes, does it make sense? Now for the discussion I am only talking about the programming of Main Lifts here. I think yes and no.

If we think about the energy systems use throughout a match (eg. hurling, football, soccer), we know that we get a contribution of all three systems throughout the entire match. I think sports like the above would fall under the alactic-aerobic caterogies.

So in this line of thought I ask the question again do super-sets, tri-sets, and quad-sets make sense when training the big lifts.

What would make more sense:

Eample 1:
A1: Deadlift 5x1 @ 90% - alactic
A2: Bench 5x1 @ 90% - alactic
A3: Mobility - active recovery - aerobic

Example 2:
A1: Deadlift 5x1 @90% - alactic
A2: Push Ups 4 x12 - anerobic
A3: Mobility - active recovery - aerobic

Example 3:
A1: Deadlift 5x1 @ 90%
A2: Mobility - active recovery - aerobic

Eample 4:
A1: Deadlift 5x1 @ 90% - alactic
A2: Mobility - active recovery - aerobic
A3: Bench 5x1 @ 90% - alactic

Example 5:
A1: Deadlift 5x1 @90% - alactic
A2: Mobility - active recovery - aerobic
A3: Push Ups 4 x12 - anerobic

I think they all make sense.

Lets like at each example more closely:

Example 1:
In this example we have to alactic lifts back-back. I dont really think there is anything wrong here with this example. My only question would be is one lift taking away from the other as the intensity that they are being performed at is pretty high. I don't this model would work well for a powerlifter, as I do feel that one lift may take away from the other. I would say there maybe some gobal fatigue going from a heavy deadlift to a heavy bench. But how much of a difference??

Example 2:
I think this example also works well, and when looking at the energy systems involved it looks like a good model for a field/court player as all three energy systems are worked. Again my only question would be is our lower body main lift (alactic system work) being compromised by the gobal fatigue of the upper body assistance work (anerobic system work). This brings another question tough. Do we want some fatigue going into are next set of Deadlifts? This would seem to replicate the energy demands on the field and court and would seem to make sense in that regard.

Example 3:
This is just pure alctic development. One Max effort and relax. This method is ideal for powerlifters, olympic lifts, and a lot of track and field events were one all out effort is required. I think this can a have a lot of benefit to a field and court athlete to when you are in a phase where you are really trying to emphasis power/speed/stength/alactic processes. A model I actully like is cleans 1 rep every 60-90secs for field/court players

Example 4:
I think would make more sense then example one as there is a recovery period between both efforts I think model would work fine. But is there still some negative effect one from lift to the other? Does the difference really matter if we are talking about field/court athletes and not powerlifters etc.

Example 5:
I really like this model for a field and court athlete. I this reflects the demands of the biochemistry of field and court sports very well.

When I listen to Dan Pfaff he talks about always trying stimulate the similar biochemical processes in the weight room that will carry over to the sport. Thats way I think it is important for us to consider these concepts.

I think also it depends on what time of year we are taking about. Patrick brought up the point that in the one phase tri-sets, quad-sets are useful for building work capacity if that is the goal, where as in another phase, straight sets with some active low intensity rest is what we would do to refine those alactic strength and power qualities.

This is just some thoughts to chew on. I dont think there is an all out right or wrong way. I agree with Patrick that there is an optimally way depending on what time of year and phase you are in.

As always people,

Stay Strong,


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Ultimate Strength and Conditioning Resource

The day has finally come and BodyByBoyle Online is live!

BodyByBoyle Online has been in development for almost a year, and
trust me, it will be well worth the wait.

BodyByBoyle Online

What is BodyByBoyle Online?

Simply put, it is everything you need to become a great
athlete, trainer, or strength coach. Here is a quick breakdown of
some of the incredible features at BBB Online.

1. An Extensive Program Database: BBB Online includes 12-months
worth of programs at launch. Included are the same programs Mike
Boyle uses with his elite athletes, rehab programs for the low
back, hips, and shoulders, fat loss programs for beginner clients
and more hardcore fat loss programs for those that want a
challenge. Plus Two Months of programs will be added each month

2. The Most Complete Exercise Video Library Ever Created: At
launch BBB Online has over 280 exercise videos. EVERY movement
and exercise that is used at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning
has been filmed in HD and professionally edited. By everything,
I mean, all of the warm-ups, stretches, speed work, agility
drills, plyometrics, ballistics (medball) exercises, olympic
lifts, and strength training exercises. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

3. An Educational Database That Will Give You the Knowledge to Be
The Best Athlete, Trainer, or Strength Coach Around: BBB Online
includes a vast educational database. Included are full DVDs,
Exclusive F.A.Q. videos with Mike on a wide range of subjects
(plus more added each week), and videos of our entire staff
meetings at MBSC. Some weeks you may get over 60 minutes of video
just from the staff meeting. That is like a mini-seminar! And the
guys at BBB Online will be taking requests, so if you want to
hear Mike talk about (insert subject here), all you need to do is e-mail them
and they will make it happen.

Those features are just the tip of the ice burg, the BBB Online membership
also includes a revolutionary piece of software that will make
training athletes and clients online as easy as a few clicks of the mouse.

The best part about BBB Online, is that you will be in heaven if you
like to train hard using the most complete programs used by elite athletes,
or if you are a trainer or a strength coach that wants the tools and the recipe
that has made MBSC the #1 Gym in America. They are
literally giving you the keys to Mike Boyle Strength and
Conditioning, you can do whatever you wish with what is inside.

Now stop reading and check BodyByBoyle Online Out! There are only
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BodyByBoyle Online

An Interview with Mladen Jovanović

Mladen Jovanović

1. Mladen thank for your time. Could you give my readers your background, and how you came to be a strength and conditioning coach?

First of all, thank you for the interview Robbie. It makes me really proud that there are people that are interested in what I do, say and think.

In short, I decided to enter the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education at University of Belgrade, Serbia after I did years of computer programming and after I finished Technical High School in Pula, Croatia. I wanted a 180 degree turn. Somehow, I was always kind an athletic, but I never pursued athletic career in any sport, mostly for the fact that I got my glasses at age of 12 or 13. I had, and I still have huge interest in martial arts, although weightlifting and strength training in general are catching up lately. I am still trying to find out what motivated me to do a jump from IT to coaching. I guess I always wanted to see people improve and I always wanted to understand what are the factors and causes of being really good at something. Having a good background in problem solving while being a young programmer and being athletic for some reason strange to me and without any real in-depth specific knowledge of any sport in particular (both about-sport and in-sport), I decided that more ‘general’ career of strength and conditioning coach is right for me. Since we lacked a strength and conditioning program at my Faculty, couple of us students at the time started collecting signatures and interests and demanding such a program. Finally, the Faculty opened the strength and conditioning program. Since we were among the first students to enter it and also a generation of students that was there during changing times at the Faculty, the strength and conditioning program was a disaster.

Then I decided that in order to learn I need to trust myself in acquiring the knowledge and not wait for the knowledge to be served to my table. I decided to learn English and read all the books I could get my hands on (and back at that time, ordering books and DVDs from USA was really complex and expensive). The first ones I read were “Life Science Physics” and “Neuromechanics of human movements” by Enoka . The former is an old book on mechanics and physics in general for students of biology, medicine and life sciences in general. I read it with the glossary and it was painful. But, those particular books gave me a lot of scientific background and I started learning English. I remember reading “Low Back Disorders” by Stuart McGill, in which he referenced “Supertraining” by late Mel Siff. I somehow acquired a copy of Supertraining and started lifting while reading it. I guess the book imprinted a critical thinking in me, although it wasn’t a very practical book. Afterwards I started reading everything and practicing on my own and with other students and friends. I remember entering late Charlie Francis’ forum by a recommendation of my really good friend Jovan Buha and the rest is history. As I already mentioned, getting books and DVDs to Serbia was really problematic, so couple of coaches sent me their material for free, and I just wanted to say thanks because they helped me a lot. Some of them include Charlie Francis, Mike Boyle, Tim Noakes and Martin Rooney. I have also got a free copy of the new book by Keith Davids and I wanted to thank him one more time using this opportunity.

That was about theory. My first practical experience came with Partizan Basketball Club. I was doing an internship with cadet’s part of the club while still studying . Our supervisor was Professor Vladimir Koprivica, a former student of the legendary Dr. Leonid Matveyev, who did his best to educate the “lost” students from the strength and conditioning department.
My first professional job was a head strength and conditioning coach for Football Club RAD from Belgrade. That was a real awakening from student dreams. Afterwards I went to tennis, soccer again and finally volleyball where I was working with some of the best volleyball players in the world, one of whom was famous Serbian volleyball player Vladimir Grbić who is my very close friend and was actually my boss during the last season in volleyball club Klek from Zrenjanin, Serbia.

I am currently residing in Cambridge, MA after I finished my summer internship at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning facility in Woburn, MA.

2. What, in your opinion, is the biggest problem you see in the strength and conditioning industry?

First, it is the name. This is not an industry.

Second, it is the ideological dogmatic methodology, where everyone is jumping from band wagons every couple of years. German philosopher Hegel explained this by thesis-antithesis-synthesis triad. There is nothing new under the Sun and some methods are known from since Ancient Greece and longer. So, instead of trying to sell certain method or new exercise or coaching gimmick, strength and conditioning coaches should spend more time understanding the context under which certain methods, loads and exercises produce results for a specific individual under specific circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad in trying to make a living, but I guess we are doing it in a very superficial and a wrong way. Instead of being fascinated with *new* methods, revolutionary exercises and gimmicks, one should try to see the big picture and don’t get lost in the details. We are working with people (says a guy who spend a lot of time programming), and trying to understand them and their motivation, goals and circumstances, developing your own coaching philosophy and personal skills can yield more results than getting TRX, kettlebell or whatever certification.

Third, it depends on the country and sport I guess. Certain environmental constraints, like culture, economics and politics can have great impact on overall sporting problems including strength and conditioning.

And as a side note, I was just talking with my roommate and friend Cem Kantarci, a wise Turkish guy and my common-sense advisor, about the curse of strength and conditioning. The curse is very simple: we, strength and conditioning coaches, or the term I love more – physical preparation specialists, are not stand-alone coaches. We need to be part of the coaching staff. We need to have huge general knowledge about all aspects of sporting preparation and specific knowledge in physical preparation, but our work is only being assistant and advisor (unless you train personal clients). We are always going to be ‘second’ and we are always going to work in the shadow of the head coach. Thus, a great deal in being a good physical preparation specialist is having a good coaching staff environment and being a part of really good coaching team. For being unable to be the “main man”, strength and conditioning coaches bitch about how important we are and stuff. Well, we are not and that is the curse. I wish one day I become a head coach in one sport so I could make all the decisions and stuff, but till then we need to suck it up, improve our communication skills and accept our multi-disciplinary role and stop selling gimmicks to show the world how smart and important we are, because we are not.

3. You are a very well read individual on periodization for strength training and conditioning. What in your opinion is the optimal periodization scheme for an experience field or court player?

There is none. It depends on the three constraints: athlete level, goals and context. People are forgetting about the importance of the context and trying to analyze certain methods taken out of it. This is why I said it is more important to understand those constraints and the solutions they demand, than trying to say what better or worse method is taken out of context. For sure, every method has its pros and cons, yet those three constraints I mentioned will demand specific solutions. Everyone is trying to find out whether complex-parallel periodizazion is better than block periodization and such. Well, here is the truth – when we stop using either/or logic and starting thinking more both/and and using more critical, pragmatic, and complementary thinking we are going to understand that there is no good and bad. There are only optimal solutions for certain problems under certain contexts.

Periodization can get so complex. Get it simple!

4. Who has had the biggest influence on you as a coach?

Charlie Francis. I feel very sorry for not ever being able to meet him in person, since he died in May this year.

The late Charlie Francis

5. What are you all-time favorite books in the following areas:

Uh-oh. Hard question. As the saying goes, it is not so much important what to read, but what not to read. There is an abundance of information these days and we need to develop certain ‘filters’ for all the info out there and really select good sources out of a lot of mediocre or wrong ones. I could probably type a bunch of books, but I will try to keep the number of them to minimum.

- Strength Training: Well, this is hard. For theory I would suggest Supertraining by Siff, Strength and power in sport by Komi and Science and Practice of Strength Training by Zatsiorky. Practical books would probably be Practical Programming by Rippetoe, The Coach's Strength Training Playbook by Joe Kenn and books and articles by Christian Thibaudeau, Charles Poliquin and other. I said it is really hard.

- Physical Therapy Rehabilitation: Clinical Sports Medicine by Brukner and Khan. A must have handbook for strength and conditioning coaches. We need to stop thinking we need and can do other people’s work, yet we need a general overview and this book is a great choice.

-Nutrition: Everything by Lyle McDonald. His free articles are real gems and far better than expensive books out there. You can check his materials at
-Business: I am starting to learn more about this field. Mark Young recommended me E-Myth. Haven’t checked this one yet, to be honest.

-Random: I just read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Although some of the critiques say he cherry picked his examples I think he is onto something.

6. We have often heard Coach Boyle ask “How strong is strong?” How strong is strong in your opinion?

Again it depends. I agree that athletes need to be athletes first and then basketball players, soccer players, etc second. This is why they need a certain general level of strength to begin with. Anyway, even from this general strength level we expect certain transfer to the field and injury prevention, yet the forces experienced in the event demands different levels of general strength levels and different levels of general and specific strength training. Compare table tennis and volleyball. Do they need same general strength levels? But do they need certain amount of general physical preparedness and athleticism? For sure!

Also, if we check the real world strength levels of the team sport athletes, for example rugby players provided by Dan Baker’s research papers we can see that they are not that high, at least not as high as you can see on YouTube videos. This doesn’t mean that we need to stop working on this, it just means that some other things are more important, like team work, technical skill, decision making, etc. I kind of follow basic strength recommendations by Kelly Baggett and I cannot wait for his new version of Vertical Jump Bible.

Some numbers I am personally aiming at as a good strength levels (not in the case of ordinary team athletes) are:

Clean: 1.5 x BW

ATG Squat: 2.0-2.5 x BW

Dead Lift: 2.5 – 3.0 x BW

Bench Press: 1.5 x BW

Chin-Ups: 1.5 x BW x 5reps

7. Sometimes there seems to be a huge gap between some physical therapists and strength and conditioning coaches. How in your opinion can this gap be bridged?

In my opinion strength coaches should do their job and stop putting their nose in other people’s work. We do need to know the basics, but for the pure lack of time, we cannot know everything in enough depth to be experts at everything. This is why I said earlier that strength and conditioning coaches are part of the coaching staff, and providing a good coaching team with the head coach in charge, good communication and good recruitment of coaches that work as a team is a way to bridge this gap. It is not what you know, but who you know in this case. We need to appreciate other peoples work and they need to appreciate our work.

8. Theres has been a lot of talk lately about doing some ‘aerobic’ type circuits to elicit certain hypertrophy adaptations to the left ventricle of the heart to help improve cardic output during certain activities, and to help recovery in between high intensity bouts. What in your opinion would be the most ideal to incorporate this idea into a strength and power athletes program?

My opinion on this is that this lately CO discussions, although a nice breath of fresh air (or just a phase in thesis-antithesis-synthesis triad) are reductionistic in it’s nature. The question is what is the best method of improving CO and whether it is improving only this factor. Old training wisdom suggested that long duration low intensity training improve oxygen uptake in skeletal muscle and intervals improved oxygen transport (heart stroke volume). During the ‘80s the ideas reversed, but the new research is showing that older ideas are correct. You can check more on this in Lyle McDonald series of articles on endurance:

So, instead of using reductionistic approach, my quest is to find a nice fit between organism~environment. We do need to understand basic functioning of the parts of the system, but knowing where the certain bolt in the car is will not teach us how to drive the same car in the traffic. In this sense, we need to figure out what the types of demands are placed from the environment to the organism (athlete) and vice versa.

Incorporating some of those ideas in strength and power program would demand analysis of the organism~environment. Also, this comes to importance of low intensity work (both specific and non-specific) with the aim at improving specific and general work capacity of the lifter. In more practical term, this would mean smart planning and utilization of low intensity modalities in a certain days or certain parts of the year. If I remember correctly Mike Tuscherer provided some nice example in his Reactive Training Manual regarding planning strategies for improving work capacity. This may also include low intensity specific work, or general work like jogging, swimming, etc. Again, it depends.

9. Could you give my readers a basic summary of what your methodology on strength training is (eg. how do you assess, design, and periodize programs)?

I try to fit the training to the individual needs, his level and context at hand. Also, I am experimenting with using auto-regulatory training to allow and teach athletes to modify their own training, make decisions and be responsible and partly in charge of their own training. In my opinion, allowing athletes to chose/modify training will promote autonomy, increase opportunities to feel competent and hence lead to enhanced intrinsic motivation. Autonomy, complexity/mastery and purpose; three things that make 'work' or training enjoyable. For this sole reason, I am interested into individualization in team settings, and using RPE and other subjective indicators in planning and monitoring training.
For further info on this I suggest interested readers to check some of my articles that are available on-line soon at my blog:

10. If you could chose one exercise and on exercise only, what would it be and why?

Squats. Probably because they have the biggest carry-over to sporting activities. And because I like them.a

Back squats baby!

11. Last question, what advice would you give to young coaches getting into the field?

Get the basics first. Learn about mechanics, physiology and psychology. Basics are basics. Start doing internships and coaching soon and start training (walk the walk, talk the talk – practice what you preach). Also, continue pursuing coaching skills in the sport of your choice at the same time because you may not like the career path of strength and conditioning. Be selective about what you read and try to develop critical thinking.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Whole New Way to do Interval Training

I hope you enjoyed the video of Mike Boyle talking about his new
stance on squatting. I know he is going to be discussing
squatting and it's variations a lot on BodyByBoyle Online.

Mike is back again talking about why he has changed how
his athletes condition at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning.
It will be interesting what result Mike's athletes reap from the

This form of conditioning can also be implemented in a fat loss
program as well, so if that is your goal (or your clients) give it a shot, trust me,
it sounds a lot easier that it actually is.

You can check out the video of Mike explaining the changes

A Whole New Way to do Interval Training

If you do consider yourself a serious athlete, lifter, strength
coach, or trainer, you owe it to yourself to hear what the owner
of the #1 Gym in America (By Men's Health) has to say when it
comes to performing better and getting your clients and athletes
real results that will improve their conditioning, body composition,
and speed.

Also keep an eye out this week as Mike is literally giving everyone the keys
to Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning with BodyByBoyle Online.

As I have mentioned before, I got a chance to preview the service
and I was blown away. From the training programs, to the exercise
videos, to the educational content, it is simply the ultimate resource
for strength and conditioning.

Stay tuned as BodyByBoyle Online is launching on October 6th at
7:00 am EST. There is a limited number of spots available so don't
miss out!

Again you can check the video for free here:

A Whole New Way to do Interval Training

Friday, October 1, 2010

Has Mike Boyle Changed His Mind on Squatting?

When Strength Coach Mike Boyle speaks, I listen. Mike has been
one of the leaders in the fitness world for the last three decades for
two reasons.

1. He is always learning and implementing new techniques with
his athletes.

2. He always gets fantastic results with his athletes and clients.

Mike Boyle shook the fitness industry, (and riled
a few feathers) a year ago when he looked right into the camera
and told people they should not have their athletes squat.

It has been almost one year since that video hit the internet.
Now Mike is back to talk about why he has started to use squat
variations with his athletes.

Some of the things Mike Talks About Are:
1. The importance of teaching the squat pattern
2. Why Athletes Should be Front Squatting if they olympic lift
3. Why you will see athletes squatting at Mike Boyle Strength and

You can check out the video for free here:
Has Mike Boyle Changed His Mind on Squatting?

If you do consider yourself a serious athlete, lifter, strength
coach, or trainer, you owe it to yourself to hear what the owner
of the #1 Gym in America (By Men's Health) has to say on one of
the most controversial subjects in the industry.

There will be one more video coming later in the week on how and
why Mike has completely restructured how he programs conditioning
at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning.

Stay Tuned!

Again you can check out the video for free here:
Has Mike Boyle Changed His Mind on Squatting?

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Weekend with Dr.Leon Chaitow

Me with Dr.Chaitow

I yet again had the pleasure to be taught by Dr. Leon Chaitow at National Training Centre here in Dublin this past weekend. This weekends module covered the European version on neuromuscular therapy (NMT) for the upper extremity. I throughly enjoyed the entire weekend. Dr. Chaitow was in fine form and share a lot of his knowledge with us.

Saturday 9-5:
As stated above, the upper extremity was our covered topic for this weekends module. We started out with some breakout assessments of upward rotation, looking for an early firing of upper tapezius and levator scapula. We then went onto some more assessments of the pecs, lats, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, and subscapularis, just looking at muscle lenght.

Dr. Chaitow then discussed skin palpation as an assessment tool. He talked about using skin draging, Lewits skin stretch (which I find very good), Skin rolling, and also using c-bends, and s-bends. The great thing about these assessments is that they can immediately become the treatment. The skin can tell you an aweful lot with what is going on with a patient.

After lunch we went into our third breakout of the day and used Muscle Energy Thechniques (METs) on the muscles we had assessed earlier in the day.We then perfromed some Integrated Neuromuscular Inhibation Techniques (INIT) on one another on are posterior shoulder.

Sunday 9-5:
Sunday morning began with assessments of the sternoclavicular joint (SC), and acromioclavicular joint. After these assessments we then went into treatment for restricted SC and AC joints using METs.

Then we moved onto a quick discussion about the spencer shoulder sequence. This is a method use to increase mobility at the glenohumeral joint. This is a method I had previously tried from just reading Dr.Chaitows Positional Releases book. It was great to actually have him show and guide us through this technique in the breakout. I along with a few others found it to be very effective.

After lunch we then went into some skin asssessments of the forearm and upper arm, using the same skin palpation techniques we used previously the day before. Then from there we went into treatment of the forearm after are assessments using position release, MET, and INIT.

Near then end of the day Dr.Chaitow showed us a good test to rule out thoraic outlet syndrome (TOS). He also on request from me and some others showed us some of his MET techiques for restricted ribs, both elevated and depressed.

During the weekend Dr.Chaitow also talked about his views on High Velocity Thrusts (HVTs), as used by chiropractors. He though process is METs have been shown in a variety of cases to be just as effective as HVTs, with a lot smaller risk element. He still thinks that HVTs have a place in treatment, but would recommed exhausting others options first. This kinda sounds like Coach Boyles risk:benefit ration idea.

Another thing Dr.Chaitow spoke about was when using HVTs is that they may take more time to recover from, them METs. He stated that therapy is a stress just like anything else. This is very similar to what Dan Pfaff takes about with his sprinters. It is trying to find that balance of just doing enough to get a response, but not too much to cause to much stress to the system.

I love when you here many great people talk about the same ideas, and thought processes, even though they are involved in two different disciplines.

I throughly enjoyed the entire weekend with Dr.Chaitow and my classmates, who are all extremely sound people. The assessments, and techniques we were shown will definitely find they way into my toolbox!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Interview with Jamie Rodriguez

Me and Jamie

1. Jaime thank for your time. Could you give my readers your background and how you came to be a strength and conditioning coach?

Thanks for having me Robbie. I have been a strength coach at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning for the past 7 years, as well as the head strength coach for the American Hockey league Worcester Sharks.

I became interested in strength training around thirteen years old. I wasn’t very tall but I was lucky enough to be pretty strong and athletic.. As far back as I can remember I was always one of the fastest, strongest, most explosive amongst my friends, but I what I lacked was sports specific skills. I was mediocre in every sport, my athletism could only take me so far. So I played sports for the social aspect. I basically lifted because it was a way for me to get out the house and stay away from doing drugs and drinking. Where I grew up if you did not exercise and play sports then drinking and drugs were the only other options. There was no internet and I did not buy body building magazines, I joined school sports so I could stay after school and hit the gym. I went in and used every nautilus machine in the room. The free weight room was not available to anybody but the football and wrestling team. Like any young male I hit the chest and back hard. Every night 100 push ups and 100 sit ups I had no clue what I was doing in terms of lifting. I know this obviously does not sound like the ideal story of a strength coach, but I am sure it is way more common than you think. I have never had a tragic injury but I had a number of male and female friends that had pretty bad injuries (ACL tears, broken ankles, blown disc, dislocated shoulders). This is when my interest for training grew. I thought to m self If I can’t play competitive sports I want to help athletes stay healthy in their sport. I saw what my friends had to go through in rehab and it was horrible. I asked myself what could have prevented this injury from happening. What made their scenario different from others? What’s to say it wouldn’t happen to me.

While looking for colleges I knew I wanted to do training, I also knew I wanted to get the hell out where I lived. I read about a athletic training major. I did not know much about it but I knew it had to do with working in an athletic setting, and it was far. I started with athletic training but soon realized (no offense to athletic trainers) that all I was doing was waiting around for athletes to get injured. I soon after switched majors to exercise science. It was more in my ball park, I make athletes stronger and reduce the chance of injury during competition. Immediately after I interned at Mike Boyle strength and conditioning and made sure I learned as much as I could in the short amount of time.

2. What, in your opinion, is the biggest problem you see within the fitness industry today?

I have two problems with the fitness industry.

1. Everybody wants to tell you how much they know, but no body wants to shut up and listen to the older trainers who have experience in the field. I mean lets be serious most of training is not rocket science. I see young trainers all the time that think they created a new training method and there is no other way it should be done. I gaurantee there are a thousand trainers out there that have done that same workout 10 years ago and found out better ways to do it. I tell every young trainer and intern I meet “ God gave you two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. Use them accordingly”. I am 29 years old, still very young with so much more to learn and I gaurantee when I am 40 I will still follow the same rules. Listen and watch before you speak.

2. Another problem is most “So called “training experts have no hands on experience. I’m sure other coaches out there will agree with this notion. Who do you trust when it comes to training? There are so many internet guru’s out there that have the best program, but they have really only trained themselves and a few buddies that are from their men softball league. You can be an absolute genius when it comes to training and truthfully I wont care. My first question is who do you train? How many people have you trained? It does not neccesarily have to be just athletes either. I am a big believer in the 10,000 hour rule. If you put in over 10,000 hours into educating your self, applying your methods to real life, training people day in and day out. Then I will listen to what you have to say.

3. Describe to my readers what it is like to work at a facility like MBSC?

It is a place where training never gets dull. You are always learning. The athletes that come through the door bring the best out of the trainer and Vice Versa. The different personalities that work at the facility are what make it a great experience. Mike is always encouraging his staff to continue education and provides us with the tools to succeed. Training programs are always questioned and discussed openly. We are always looking for simplistic way to make who ever comes through the door faster and stronger. What is most important is that every athlete that walks out the door leaves with a sense of accomplishment. Always leave better then when when you came in. Mike Boyle has said in many occasions “ There is a science and art to training. Anybody can do the science, but it takes more to master the art of training.” I can easily say that all coaches at MBSC possess the art. Every athlete buys into the program and is successful.

4. Who has had the biggest influence on you as a coach?

There have been a lot of coaches that have influenced me. I try to take something from every coach in come in contact with. However if I had to name a few it would be trainers that I have spent a lot of time around. Each one of the trainers below have made me a better person professionally and personally at some point in my life.
• Michael Boyle
• Ed lippie
• Shayne Foley
• Mike Potenza
• Garnett Vamos
• Sean Skahan
• Al Vermeil

5. What are you all-time favourite books in the following areas:

- Strength Training: I am going to jump on the band wagon and say “Advances to functional training.” I mean it is so simple to read its ridiculous. You wont find many books out there that explain theories, programs, and exercises as easy as this book. Also “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” good book to get the basics down.

- Physical Therapy & Rehab: Don’t read many physical therapy but I loved Mike Robertson “bullet proof knees” Along with this I always refer back to my anatomy book.

- Nutrition: John Berardi writes great stuff. I am usually online with my nutrition information.

- Personal Development: Mike Boyle gives us books all the time to read. So there are a lot. But truthfully there is nothing better than first hand experience with people. I think I am good with people but I still need to put my self out there more.

- Random: Women strength books and magazines. Find out what drives the opposite sex. If a man cant figure out what is going on in their head, we can atleast find out how their body responds to training. An audio book I recently listen to was “The Talent Code” It was good. I have gotten into audio books and pod cast. It makes life easier with time and education. Also I read little kids books and nursery rhymes. It is good to read with your kid. It makes me feel younger and it helps me escape from stresses of the world.

6. Could you give my readers a basic summary of what your methodology on training is (eg. how do you assess, and design, and periodize programs)?

No matter what the sport is, I treat everyone like an athlete. I think a lot of times coaches base their program design solely on the athletes sport. Every body is an athlete first. So everybodys program follows a similar outline. My job is to make an athlete more explosive, stronger, faster, agile. Now that you understand, my next step in programming is assessing the athlete. What is the athletes goals? You have to find out what the athletes goals are. It is not only about what you want as a trainer. Than I put my athlete through a screening. Majority of the time I use the Functional movement screen. I have to make sure an athlete is capable of squatting, Benching, jumping, and sprinting before I put them through a program. If I do not take the time to assess, I am doing my athlete an injustice and putting he or she at a higher risk of injury. Even though they may not get hurt in the gym, they are still at risk on the field.

Once I assess that my athlete is an absolute stud I design their program. This is how I break it down.

• Foam Roll/Stretch/activation/AWU
• Speed/ power

• Explosive movement (clean, DB snatch, Jump Squat, KB swing, Etc)
• Corrective movement pattern

Tri Set
• Knee dominant or hip Dominant (bilateral or unilateral)
• Push or Pull Exercise
• Corrective stretch or Core

Quad Set( Complimentary exercises/Corrective exercises/ Sport specific lifts
• Knee dominant or hip dominant (Unilateral)
• Push or pull
• Sport specific movement
• Rehabilitative or Anti rotary movement


Periodization all depends on how long I have an athlete. Majority of the time I will not have an athlete for longer than 4 months. In this scenario I follow standard periodization and hammer away on strength and power. If I do have an athlete for a longer period of time, I will choose different variations( eccentric phase, Endurance phase, High set low reps, Deloading phase, sometimes start from square one and use higher loads. Just keep hammering on the basics. (Keeping it simple can still get an athlete strong)

7. If you had to pick one exercise, and one exercise only, what would it be and why?

To be honest the pull up/chin up is my number 1 pick. I am sure most trainers out there will say a leg exercise. It is the hot topic now between single leg and billateral squats, or just because it has been down since beginning of time. I love a pull up though:
• it is one of few exercises that is hard with just your body weight.
• Every guy can bench but very little can do a pull up.
• You can typically do a chin up anywhere with out equipment.
• If you have a strong back you will have a strong bench (push)
• You can always tell a good athlete from behind not from up front
• Kids suck at pulling these days, majority of population can’t do them right

Chin Ups Baby

8. What are you long term ambitions in this field?

My long term ambition is to work with a professional hockey organization or have control of a competitive Division 1 school. My Long Long term is to not have work crazy hours at all and hang out with my family. In reality I know I have to put in the dedication and effort for years before I have earned my way down the road goal. I will achieve my first goal though.

9. What annoys you?

I feel like this is a maxim interview now Robbie!!!! Girls who don’t have a sense of humor and think they are a 10 when they are really a 5!!. Just kidding…. Truthfully I hate trainers who think they know it all and are just plain Dicks (excuse my language) If you are smart then spread the wealth. We are in a tough profession, at one point they were grinding it out. If a young trainer wants to learn give him the time of day.

10. Last question. What advice would you give to other young coaches, like myself getting into the field?

Young athletes have to do exactly what you did Robbie. Read, read and read some more. Educate your self, and put in the time to visit and meet people. Get an internship somewhere and take full advantage of it. Even if you find out the place you are interning sucks. Give it 100 % and take what you can from it. Read forums and strength sites like

• Obviously

There are so many great sites out there.
Also put your self out there, don’t be shy talk to people. Introduce your self to trainers from all over. They want to learn just as much as a young trainer. In the end we are all nerds for the field and look for any new edge and knowledge to make themselves a better coach. It’s a small Circle of friends, make sure you squeeze your way in that circle.

RB: Jaime, thank you so much for your time. Where can my readers find out more about you?

JR: You can find me at . Also I have a blog that I recently started a few months back. When I have time between work and my family I get on and write about sports, research, training, and work outs I feel will get the average guy as well as athlete stronger. The Blog is . Also I have a youtube Site

Thank you Robbie again and keep up the great work with your blog.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Training for the wheelchair race!!

Everytime I see guys in a gym it is like their they are training for a wheelchair race. All they do is one useless arm exercise after another. When will the day come when you walk into the gym and you see guys actually training their little brittle legs?? Imagine that!!

Training for a Wheelchair race?

Think about when do you ever hear young lads say, "I was in the gym yesterday and I just slaughtered my legs out of it", or "I want to get bigger stronger Legs"!No lads just gravited toward the bench, bicep curls, and sit ups. Well sorry ladies, but unfortunlately we don't use our arms to run. But in fairness just doing the bench, bicep curls and sits ups are not that bad (huh)? Thats if your goal is shit posture, shoulder problems, back problems, and to stay weak!

When will guys figure out that to get strong and bulid size you need to do heavy compound lifts CONSISENTLY. Deadlifts, Squats, Split Squats, Lunges, Chins, Bench, Push Ups, Rows, Overhead presses. Notice there is no pink dumbbell isolation exercise mention there (ie, curls, tricep extensions). Most guys just have a SERVRE CASE OF WEAKNESS, and badly need to start incorporating these lifts into their programs in a progressive manner.

Another thing our little weaklings need to recogonise also, is that the squat rack is might to be used for..... what for it..... SQUATTING, and its variations. So please, stop curling in the rack!!

Down with this sort of thing!!

So the moral of the story is, if you want to get strong and put on some size also. you need to start training your WHOLE body. Really hammer you LOWER body, and upper back in the process, and you will be ahead of 99% of guys out there.

This is what REAL training should look like!!

Stay Strong,


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Arguing for argument's sake!

Lately I am seeing a lot of people in our industry writing rants on certain topics, like the FMS, foam rolling, mobility work, and breathing techniques.

Now I have nothing against people disagreeing, or questioning certain techniques and methods. Actually I am all for this, as this is how a lot of us continue to learn.

But what I do that issue with is 1). People slating techniques that they don't understand or 2). Slating coaches for using certain techniques and methods when they do know how a particularly individual is applying these techniques.

Lets take the FMS. People argue that it alone is not a comprehensive assessment. To this I agree. But 1). The FMS is NOT an assesssment, its a screen, and 2). Gray has stated on numerous occasions that the FMS is just ONE piece of the puzzle. I think we would all agree on this. So why are we arguing??

How about breathing techniques? Some coaches are getting piss off when other coaches start talking about breathing. Again lets get a little perspective here. Nobody has their athletes doing 1 hour sessions of diaphragmatic breathing. It is something that is being utilized for only a FEW MINUTES of a session. Now is it helping? Well if we think that it has benefit, and we know that it can't negatively affect our athltetes and it takes little time away from training, then what are we arguing about?

Lets take foam rolling. Some say its not a warm up. Thats right its not a warm up. No one ever say it was the warm up. It is part of an overall thought process. Now even if foam rolling isn't achieving what we initial thought it was, I refer back to my point in the previous paragraph. If we think it may have a benefit with no negative side effects, and its takes little time away from the overall training process then way not try it at least. Again what is the argument?

At the end of the day there are many whys to skin a cat. But lets stop arguing for arguments sake. Sure it can make for some interesting blog posts, and interviews, but when it comes down to it I think we nearly all agree with 95% of everything that we all do. Even the 5% that we do not, I would venture to say that if we were actually face to face and discussed our thought processes behind certain things, we would even come to an agreement.

Stay Strong,

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Squat or Deadlift?

To squat or to deadlift? If you could only choose one of them, which would you choose?

For me I would choose the deadlift, and here are my reasons.

1. A deadlift has no preceding eccentric contraction. Therefore its carryover to the initial few steps in acceleration is high.

2. You get more band for your buck with a deadlift, as you also get upper back work, shoulder work, and grip work.

3. Nearly all athletes need more posterior chain work

4. Deadlifts do not require a spotter

5. For in-season programs the fact the deadlifts do not have a big eccentric component is a good thing from a muscle soreness, and recovery standpoint.

6. Many athletes with bad shoulders cannot squat (with a straight bar anyway), but can nearly always deadlift as the arm is by the side.

7. Deadlifts are a great for rehabbing shoulders

8. Athletes with poor ankle mobility are poor squatters, but can they can still perfrom a deadlift with good form as ankle mobility isn't a hugh limiting factor. This is due to a more vertical tibia (or closer to vertical) position

There eight reasons why I would pick the deadlift over the squat. Now DO NOT get me wrong here, I love squats. My athltetes squat in the off-season. But if I had to choose between a squat or deadlift, I am picking the deadlift everytime.

Remember this is only my opinion. If you perfer to squat, and you are getting great results, who I am to argue. As long as you have a sound rationale for doing what you do, I have no problem with your program choices. Man I sound like Rob Panariello!!

So which one would you choose?

Stay Strong,


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Non-contact injuries, normal or just common?

Hamstring tears, quad strains, pulled groins, torn ACLs (non-contact that is), low back pain, shoulder impingment. These are all common injuries that we hear of all of the time. The question is, are non-contact injuries (NCIs) normal or are they just common?

First of all I think we need to distinguish the differences between what does normal mean, and what does common mean. Do they not really mean the same thing?

Normal: In Medical terms, free from injury and illness

Common: of frequent occurrence, a regular event

So back to our original question. Are non-contact injuries normal or just common? I think the above definitions will now help us to appreciate that they NCIs are NOT normal, they are just common.

So, WHY are NCIs so common in the first place. There can be many factors that contribute to NCIs. Such as the following:

- Poor Posture
- Poor nutritional habits
- Poor sleep
- Poor recovery
- Poor stress management
- Poor Strength and Conditioning levels
- A poorly designed strength and conditioning program that is only contributing to the occurrence of a NCI

Now that we have established that NCIs are abnormal, and also they contributing factors, how do we as strength coaches and therapists go about reducing their common occurrence?

The following is what I would find neccessary to help bulletproof an athlete from injury:

1. Assessment - FMS (I know its really a screen), postural assessment, injury history, lifestyle questions (stress, sleep, job, etc)

2. Design the most effective and efficent strength and conditioning program to bulletproof the athlete in question from any future injuries, while at the same time getting him/her bigger, faster, stronger

3. Re-assess!

So Remember non-contact injuries are NOT normal, they are just common. So with a proper strength and conditioning program, good nutrition, good stress management, and proper recovery, their commonility will be reduced greatly.

Stay Strong,


Monday, August 23, 2010

Does your low back round when you squat?

We have seen this discussed before many times among strength coaches. "I have an athlete who rounds his low back at the bottom of the squat. What do you think it is?"

Many theories have been put forward. Hip mobility, core stability, or lateral hamstring tightness/stiffness. All of these could most definitely be contributing factors. But something I have never seen discussed on the matter is the thoracic spine, and cervical spine.

I started to think any the thoracic spine and cervical spine being limiting factors to the squat (and also the deadlift for that matter) when talking to Charlie Weingroff at Providence last June. Charlie was talking about the importance of "packing the neck" when squatting and deadlifting.

Charlie went on to say that looking up, and putting the cervical spine into hyperextension is not a good idea. Then it clicked for me. Think about it. Your spine is just one long line. We separate it into the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions for convenience, but what happens at one region of the spine will without question effect other regions of the spine.

So say we have an athlete with a slightly hyperextended cervical region, and he has a stiff t-spine, as he squats down he will run out of his neutral spine position at a higher point during the descent, then if we had another athlete who had packed he cervical region, and had a mobile t-spine.

The athlete with the stiff t-spine will now look to get more motion from another area to reach the depth required. This is where the rounding of the low back at the bottom position will be seen.

Another thing to look for with athletes who struggle with this is the hand position on the bar during a back squat. If they have trouble holding the bar, chances are the t-spine is so stiff that it is limiting their amount of external rotation at the humerus. These are the athletes that get 1's on the shoulder mobility of the FMS. If you switch the athlete to a front squat, they should be able to descend slightly further as external rotation will not be a limiting factor.

So when someone asks for your opinion on why does the low back round when squatting, ask the coach, "Do you get your guys to tuck their chin in?". "What is their shoulder mobility on the FMS like?". And "What is their ALSR Like"?.

I think if you get an athlete who scores 3 on the ALSR, but 1 on and SM, and they have a hard time getting into position when deadlifting or round their low back at the bottom of the squat, consider looking at the thoracic, and cervical regions of the spine.

I am not saying that the cervical and thoracic spine are the only cause of the low back rounding when squatting and even when deadlifting, but I think that it is something else to consider.

Stay Strong,