Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Interview with Sam Leahey

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

My educational background is in Exercise Science and Physical Education. I doubled majored in those two areas and also earned a minor in Sport Coaching. This fall I intend to get my masters degree in Applied Exercise Science as well. I played both Division 1 and 3 sports in college and I would say that being an athlete was the initial stage of my S&C passion.
I always had a passion for program design and the “process” leading up to game day. As the years went by I found myself wanting to learn more and more about that process of training for particular sport season. The more strength and conditioning coaches I came in contact with the more intrigued I became and the more I wanted to learn about training athletes of all types.
The very first respected S&C Coach I learned of was Coach Michael Boyle. I devoured every book he wrote and from those readings came to find more strength coaches who exhibited a passion for the “process” of enhancing athleticism over the long term. The snowball effect continued on and here I am calling Mike Boyle, Eric Cressey, Jeff Oliver, and Brijesh Patel mentors.

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

Young coaches/trainers who (all quotes from Nick Tumminello):
“Would rather be right than helpful”
“Mistakes your personal opinions for facts”
“Tells other professionals “this is how you should do things” over saying “this is how I do things”
“Who thinks they are smarter than the human body”
“Thinks they need to fix everybody’s problems”
“Trains to your bias”
“Tries to be cool instead being effective”
“Forgets who’s session it really is”
“Is overly stuck on the science”
“Uses Exercise as Punishment”

3. You recently started an internship with Eric Cressey. How is this going for you so far?

It’s been amazing. It hasn’t been a total paradigm shift but certainly modifies my thought process in terms of program design, priorities, time management skills of a S&C Coach, movement, and host of other topics that would take too long to articulateJ In my opinion every young coach like ourselves should seek out numerous internships. At the same time I think maximizing your time spent at each place is equally as crucial. I really find it odd when a fellow college student does an internship and all they do is the required amount of work. For some facilities and colleges that’s hardly anything! You really need to go above and beyond in most cases and sometimes even “pull out” experiences that you would not otherwise have if you didn’t actively pursue them yourself.

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

Mike Boyle, Eric Cressey, Jeff Oliver, Brijesh Patel, and Jeremy Frisch.

5. What is your all-time favourite book in the following areas:

Strength Training: The Science and Practice of Strength Training and Functional Training for Sports (i can’t pick which one had the biggest impact on me so I’m listing them bothJ)
Physical Therapy Rehabilitation: Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes
Nutrition : Precision Nutrition
Random: The Bible

6. What do you do to for your continuing education (Seminars attended etc) and what resources that are out there would you recommend to young up and coming coaches (Podcasts, Websites, Blogs, Products)?

Ø Read, read, and then read some more books, ebooks, articles, and blogs!
Ø Listen to
Ø Watch webinars at
Ø Attend Perform Better Summit, MBSC Winter Seminars, Cressey Performance Seminars, and any conference/seminar a local college is having.
Ø Listen to audio books in the car
Ø Networking with other coaches/trainers

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

This question seems to be pretty common and I think I would have to agree with Coach Boyle on this one – a Sled Push. However I’d do it two different ways:
Ø As a general strength exercise – heavy and slow. This way you’re getting foot, knee, core, scapular, and elbow stability, single leg strength, etc.
Ø As a special strength exercise – lighter and explosive, almost sprinting/bounding. This way you’re still getting the above benefits but now you’re getting single leg power.
Done both ways you can cover any part of the strength-speed curve with added benefits of foot, knee, core, scapular, and elbow stability.

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

In the purist sense:
Ø Be Humble
Ø Don’t bad mouth other coaches/trainers to other coaches/trainers, both young and old. Keep stuff to yourself if it’s not positive, otherwise it will always come back to stain your reputation later on. If you’re going crazy and you just HAVE to tell someone, then tell someone you trustJ
Ø Pay Your Respects
Ø Figure out what’s important to you and push EVERYTHING else aside. From there, go out and TAKE what you want in this life. “Impossible” is just an excuse not to try!
Ø If you’re not reaching you’re goals then you’re not doing what it takes, period! Bill Parcells once said:
“Blame No One, Expect Nothing, DO SOMETHING!”
I think it applies here. If a young buck like us wants to have their own training facility at a young age like Eric Cressey did, go out and get it! Put it all out on the line and do what it takes! Same is true if you want to be the head strength coach of a big time division one college, go get it!

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

They can email me at or my facebook pageJ I purposely don’t have a blog or a website . . . yet. I think too many young people nowadays have a blog, website, or other mediums through which their promoting themselves through. Yet they haven’t done crap in reality! Guys like you Robbie are the exception.
Thanks for the interview my man and I hope people can relate to the things I’ve said here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Interview with Patrick Ward

I just want to let everyone know that I returned the favour to Patrick Ward and did an interview for his blog.

In the interview we talk about my background and how I got in this field, why I think soft tissue work is cruical for maximum results, and what advice would I give to my athletes. So if you have two minutes, give it a read.


Some Light Reading

I got some of my books that I ordered from amazon today.

- Secrets of Russian Sports and Fitness Training
- Block Periodization
- Principles and Basics of Advanced Athletic Training
- Transfer of Training in Sports

Hopefully I will get the rest by the end of the week. Looking forward to getting stuck into these ones!!!!


PS. My Interview with Sam Leahey will be up tomorrow. So make sure to stop by tomorrow ;-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Interview with Charlie Weingroff


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

Yes, I think like many of us in our profession, I began as an athlete playing ice hockey and baseball through high school. I enjoyed weight training, and I found it very cool to be strong. I used typical young bodybuilding approaches and had success at that time. Going into college, I played baseball, but I knew that was done after college To stay in sports, I eschewed being an orthopedic surgeon since even though I was very good at carrying or moving large objects, I wasn't very good at putting them together. So I became set on being a Certified Athletic Trainer and go on to graduate school. My undergrad had the same Premed program for the ATC program, so that also gave me all the prereqs for physical therapy school. My advisor said I could still do everything I wanted to do as an ATC even if I went to PT school, and it would make me more marketable and have a good backup as well. So I graduated undergrad in '96, got my ATC in '97, MSPT in '99, and DPT this month. In the summer of '98, I was working as a PT aide, and one of the referring physicians asked the owner of the PT office if they knew any ATCs for a minor league basketball team coming to the area. I got that job while still in PT school, and after graduating, the connections from that minor league job got me to the New Jersey Nets for the '99-00 season. From 2000-03, I was the Head Athletic Trainer in the IBL and NBDL, which also included responsiblities of Strength Coach, Equipment Manager, and Travel Secretary. In '03, I got back to the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers as Game Day Athletic Trainer and Rehab Consultant. At that point, the 76ers did not have a Strength Coach, so given my build I think the players found some confidence lifting with my guidance. That earned me Head Strength Coach and Assistant Athletic Trainer for the 76ers through 2006. Currently I am Director of Sports Performance and Physical Therapy @ CentraState Sports Performance, which is a hospital-owned sports training center where we train and rehab folks as PTs, Personal Trainers, and Strength & Conditioning Coaches all side by side.

2. What, in your opinion, is the biggest problem you see within the fitness industry, and also with physical therapy today?

The biggest problem I see in fitness and rehab is individuals that do and should have credibility are very poorly skilled and poorly motivated clinicians. If someone has any kind of facility, any kind of certification, any kind of following in what they do, that automatically gains them credibility in the public's view. In fact, these folks are atrocious clinicians, don't help the people that trust them, yet become the measuring stick for success. Nothing frustrates me more than seeing leadership, respect, and credibility based on prolifics and marketing. Credibility seems to be gained by folks with tons of blog posts with interesting information or a huge facility and following. Marketing champions over skills, which is just very sobering for folks that work hard to do the best they can by the people that trust us with the most sacred things they have, their bodies.

3. Charlie being a physical therapist and a strength coach, could you give us a summary on how you integrate the two into one wholistic approach?

I think when/if I put together my DVD this summer, the title will be Rehab = Training, Training = Rehab. I think they're all the same. They are both a mode to improve specific qualities. With an individual in front of you, they are a bag of qualities. ROM, strength, balance, hip extension, proprioception, 40 time, 4-board close grip bench press, curveball grip, cervical segmental mobility, the list is endless. Some qualities are movement based, some speed and strength based, and some skill based. Certainly when there are qualities that are below industry standard or when they hurt, these qualities take precedence. Some qualities may be industry standard, and the aim is to improve their measures with the belief that some greater goal will be improved. Often there is a combination of pain, physical limitations, GPP, or SPP. Qualities that you attack may be based on your individual skill set or environment. You just prioritize the attack based on what they need and what you have to give. Certainly pain and movement dysfunction or "rehab" will take precedence, and depending on the severity. That may or may not leave room to train other qualities. It's just about prioritizing qualities and going to war with the skill set that you have as a practitioner. I'd like to think that my niche is indeed blending some skills of addressing a lot of different qualities.

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

It is almost absurd for me to single out 1 individual to answer this. There have been so many people in so many different venues and walks of life that have influenced me in different facets of life. I will say this, which was a paraphrase from something I said at my brother's wedding. I wanted to thank my parents for whatever they did for me and my brother because whatever they did, they did it right.

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

- Strength Training:
Functional Training for Sports
- Physical Therapy Rehabilitation:
Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance
- Business
How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Nutrition :
- Random:
Green Lantern: Secret Origins

6. What do you do to for your continuing education (Seminars attended etc)?

I am very much in tune to following what Gray Cook puts out. I am honored to call him a colleague and friend and been able to disseminate his messages of brilliance.
Some of the things I have on my calendar for 2010 are continuing the Prague School of Rehabilitation DNS series, Postural Restoration Institute, TPI, Hands On Seminars, and Maitland.
I have gotten away from focusing on performance training education outside of books as I have come to believe that an elite purchase on general movement is far more key than mastering any of the great strength and speed programs. I'm not sure it even matters much who or what you follow as long as you are busting your ass and moving properly and efficiently.

7. What resources that are out there, would you recommend to young up and coming coaches (Podcasts, Websites, Blogs, Products)?

I spend a lot of time on and When valuable things come up through there from links and posts from elsewhere, I check them out, but really just those 2 sites are on my daily go-to clicks.

8. 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)?

I do not have an enormous assessment package. Here is what we do Day 1. Everyone gets what I call the Janda Screen which is a combination of Janda's and Kolar's ISSS tests. It is done supported on the table or floor. Its goals are to assess and test the inner core and joint centration. Since this examination is supported, it is mainly looking for true joint mobility. This is in a one-on-one situation. Even though it is no more than 10 minutes, it is not practical for more than 1 at a time since there is quite a bit of passive movement and palpation. Then if the individual is in pain, they get the SFMA followed by the Breakouts, but since I do the Janda Screen first, I don't always go by the book and do all the Breakouts. If the individual is not in pain, they get the FMS. The FMS or SFMA is the guide or indicator for success. Excellence through symmetrical 2s and 3s in the FMS and functional non-painful movement in the SFMA are the goals. How we get there is far less important than getting and staying there.
A session is qualities-prioritized as I mentioned before. The ultimate program with broad qualities is in this order is soft tissue work, passive stretching, joint mobility, corrective exercise, dynamic warmup, speed and agility technique, power, strength, conditioning. As we get towards power and strength, many performance qualities are interspersed as we set up super-, tri-, and quad-sets. You can see that the dynamic warmup bridges typical rehab qualities with performance qualities. Some folks can get a beast of a workout just getting up through corrective exercise. A lot of this is semantics, but it is how I position specific goals and tasks.

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

Turkish Get-up because it can serve almost any purpose with mild tweaks in repetitions, speed of movement (even though your not supposed to go fast), load, or technique.

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

In a positive way, care about being better than anyone that has ever lived at what you do. This doesn't mean stomp out the competition or be disrespectful. What I mean is that if you try to be the better than everybody else, you will automatically be the best you can be.
And just care about what you do and the people you impact. Honor those that came before you and gave you the opportunities to do what you do now. Just by caring puts you on the down side of the Bell Curve. You can be a greenhorn or have a very limited skill set. But if you are really care, and I mean REALLY care, about something, you are automatically better than half the people in your profession.
And speaking of the Bell Curve, the goal is to be on the very, very end. If you are in the 80th percentile, you are pretty damn good. But there are also 20 people better than you. Some people think an SL500 is a very nice Mercedes. Many SL500 owners have never seen a Maybach.

Charlie, thank you so much for your time. Where can my readers find out more about you?
I don't have a Website or anything, but I am very accessible at Coach Boyle's and Joe Heiler's I am often at conferences supporting Woodway and Vibraflex, and my role in the booth is not just to discuss the products my company is selling. My e-mail is, and as you know, I respond in some way to every message I get.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hows Your Mobility Part 2

Hip Mobility

As we continue with our discussion on the joint by joint approach which I covered in my previous blog post , we now move up from the ankle and begin to look at the hip.

It is very common that hip mobility is the underlying issue with most low back pain. As I pointed out also in my last blog post, if you begin to lack mobility at segments that need mobility (i.e hips), your body will compensate by getting a stable segment to start to pick up the slack (i.e low back).

The hip is a ball and socket joint, thus it is meant to have a lot of mobility. It is important that we use multiple exercises to increase our hip mobility as it moves in all 3 planes of motion, sagittal (flexion, and extension), frontal (adduction, and abduction), transverse (internal, and external rotational).

Hip internal rotation range of motion is usually a big issue with a lot males. This can be very problematic for some populations like golfers, hurlers, tennis players, baseball players, and just about any rotational sport athlete. If you lack that hip internal rotation, you are at a higher risk of developing back pain. This was shown in a study done by Murray et al (2009), and also by Van Dillen et al (2008).

The following video is an exercise I got from Eric Cressey to improve hip internal rotation. This exercise addresses soft tissue restrictions in the external hip rotators. I like to get my athletes to perform some soft tissue work (i.e. foam rolling, use of a tennis ball) first and then perform this exercise to try to increase length in the hip rotators.

Supine - Knee to Knee Stretch

The next three videos are a split squat series that I got from Mike Boyle. I like these three exercises as they address hip mobility in all three planes of movement.

Split Squat

Lateral Squat

Rotational Squat

These are some simple exercises that if done on a regular basis, will vastly improve hip mobility. Also add in some hip flexor stretches and glutes bridges (to turn on your glutes) to the mix and you will be doing a lot to improve the health and longevity of your hips and low back.

Hip Flexor Stretch

With this stretch get a reebok step, or something to elevate your front foot. Angle your body at a 45 degree angle to the step. From there cross your outside leg over the leg closest to the step. Have the arm that is on the same side as the knee on the ground overhead reaching for the ceiling. Rock yourself into the stretch and hold for two seconds, and rock back. Do anywhere from 8-12 reps, or static holds for 15-20secs.

The hip flexor is often a major player in low back pain, as it attaches up onto the lumbar spine. It is generally short, stiff, or toned with most people, due to a lot of sitting. So it is good to try and stretch it a few times on a daily basis.

Glute Bridge

The key with this exercise is to ensure the you use your hips to bring you hips off the ground, and not your back or hamstrings. If you start to cramp in your hamstrings this is your body trying to compensate, because you are not using your glutes. Drive your heels into the ground, and squeeze your glutes hard as you bring your hips toward the ceiling. Make sure to also brace your core (abs), to keep the lumber spine (low back) stable.

Give these a try.

Next up, improving our thoracic spine mobility.

Until then,

Stay Strong,



The relationship between hip rotation range of movement and low back pain prevalence in amateur golfers: An observational studyPhysical Therapy in Sport, Volume 10, Issue 4, November 2009, Pages 131-135Eoghan Murray, Emma Birley, Richard Twycross-Lewis, Dylan Morrissey

Hip rotation range of motion in people with and without low back pain who participate in rotation-related sportsPhysical Therapy in Sport, Volume 9, Issue 2, May 2008, Pages 72-81Linda R. Van Dillen, Nancy J. Bloom, Sara P. Gombatto, Thomas M. Susco

Joint By Joint Approach to Training - Mike Boyle

Thursday, January 14, 2010

An Interview with Patrick Ward

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

Thanks for having me Robbie. I was always into exercise and working out (started at age 13). I played sports through my youth and high school, and then into my early twenties I did some competing in olympic weightlifting as well. So, being a strength coach/trainer was sort of a natural progression. I didn’t like working in an office and doing the 9-5 thing. I would rather do things that I enjoy doing everyday, and this is it.

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

I think the biggest problem is how easy it is to become a trainer. Anyone can get a certification from weekend course, and start training people. Naturally, this floods the industry with a lot of unqualified individuals who really have no interest in advancing their knowledge/education and progressing this field. So many are really lazy and don’t read anything or do anything to get better. I am really interested in gaining as much knowledge as I can, and I want to get better everyday. I wish more people were interested in the same thing. There are many people in this profession that I have met, that I can’t even sit down and talk shop with. They just don’t get it!

3. You recently open up your own facility with Keats Sniderman (Congratulations by the way). How have you found this experience?

Yea, Keats and I decided to rent a facility together. We own separate companies and we split the rent, but we do a lot of things together as well. It has been great having my own place, although there are a lot of other things that you have to do when you own your own facility – little (and big) things that you don’t think about when you work for someone else. It has been a good deal though. We were both pretty miserable renting space at various massage therapy studios and small personal training gyms.

4. You are also a Licensed Massage Therapist. How do you integrate this with the training of your athletes and clients?

Yes, both Keats and I are licensed massage therapists (and certified in neuromuscular therapy through Judith DeLany’s American NMT group).

I integrate the soft tissue work with athletes or clients when I need to. Sometimes after my initial assessment, I may find some things that need some manual work, so I just work on them. Then we get off the table and try and move and create some strength, stability and understanding through that new range of motion. I’ll also use it sometimes if an athlete has been training hard for a few weeks, as a means of recovery (to help encourage a parasympathetic state).

Additionally, I get a number of referrals for soft tissue therapy from physical therapists and chiropractors, as they send over people who may need more work than they have time to give them, or people who are preparing to be discharged and need to start training a little more intensely as they get ready to move back into sports participation.

5. Who has had the biggest influence on you as a coach, and as a therapist?

I have been influenced by a lot of coaches. If you look at my program design manual, you will see pretty plainly who my influences are. Guys like Mike Boyle, Vern Gambetta, Al Vermeil, Louie Simmons, Mel Siff, and Gray Cook are all in there (as well as a number of others). Additionally, my peers and my clients, who are continually asking questions and challenging my thought process, influence me. This keeps me learning and seeking out more knowledge.

From a therapist standpoint, my first influence was a local massage therapist that taught some of my classes, Don Miller. My main influences are Judith Delany and Leon Chaitow. Their large neuromuscular therapy textbooks are full of great information. Also, physical therapist, Charlie Weingroff, has made a big impact on how I do things. He is a really smart guy and offers a lot of practical information.

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

o Strength Training: Supertraining by Mel Siff
o Physical Therapy Rehabilitation: There are four titles I would put here – Shirley Sahrmann’s Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes, Stuart McGill’s Low-Back Disorders, Chaitow and DeLany’s Clinical Application of Neuromuscular Techniques (Vol. 1 and 2) and Warren Hammer’s Functional Soft Tissue Examination and Treatment by Manual Methods. All good books!
o Nutrition: Anything by Lyle McDonald. That guy is incredibly smart.
o Business: Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuck
o Random: The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, MD

7. What do you do to for your continuing education (Seminars attended etc)?

I try and attended as many seminars as I can. I purchase a lot of books and DVDs and I subscribe to a few journals (and try and get research from other journals that I don’t subscribe to when I think they will help me with something). I am always trying to advance my knowledge.
Some things that I have on the schedule for this year so far are:
- NSCA Arizona State Seminar (which I am also speaking at)
- Perform Better Clinic in Phoenix
- NSCA National Convention (I go every year)
- ACSM Convention
- Functional Movement Screen in Phoenix
I am also helping assist at the Neuromuscular Therapy courses being taught here in phoenix this year.
That is all that is on the schedule so far. But I am sure I will add more things as the year goes on. Between workshops, conferences, books, DVDs, and journal subscriptions, I spend a few thousand dollars on con ed every year.

8. What resources that are out there, would you recommend to young up and coming coaches (Podcasts, Websites, Blogs, Products)?

Mike Boyle’s website has a lot of great information. I also just became a member of Joe Heiler’s and it is very good as well. I really like Lyle McDonald’s website, He has a ton of great articles and research reviews. I also will read Charlie Francis’s website from time to time.
I listen to the Strength Coach Podcast and Mike Robertson has a podcast that is really good too. Those are the main ones I check out (as well as the one from Keats and I have a podcast also, although with the holiday and then some of the things we are trying to do with the facility, we have not had time to update it. But, that is one of the goals of this year – to do more podcasts. The website is

9. 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)?

Sure. I use the Functional Movement Screen, developed by Gray Cook, for my initial assessment. Depending on what I am seeing with that, I will then move to various other tests to get a full understanding of the individual in front of me and the best way that I can help them, based on their limitations or inabilities. I also do a palpatory assessment, to see what the tissue feels like, so that I have an idea of the general tone of their tissue. If the athlete plays a particular sport, I also try and key in on range of motion assessments particular to that sport (IE lead hip internal rotation for a golfer or throwing athlete, etc.). After that, we can do more sport specific tests or strength/power tests, depending on the individual and what we are training for.

After my assessment is completed, I write the program. The design is pretty simple – the warm up keys in on any mobility restrictions that showed up in the assessment or any special needs that they individual may have (some times the warm up may also include some soft tissue work). After our warm up, we train power (depending on the individuals abilities), then strength and then our energy system work (intervals, tempo work, medicine ball work, etc.). What goes on in each of those sections of the workout will be dependant on the individual and what their needs are and also will depend on the frequency of training (how many times a week they are coming in).

In the first phase of training, it is very general, and we work on improving work capacity and getting in high quality work (learning proper exercise technique, improving deficits, etc.). We do a little bit of work in each of the three energy systems – power, strength, anaerobic/aerobic (aerobic mainly by way of tempo runs or just recovery training done with either low intensity body weight circuits or easy recovery walks outside. Anaerobic work is in the form on sprints and/or interval training).

After that first phase, we start to prioritize what we need based on the time we have to prepare. I keep all three energy systems in the program, but I try and increase the volume of one of them, and slightly lower the volume of the other two, in order to emphasize/focus on one to a greater extent. I don’t get very mathematical like some do with this stuff. I try and keep it simple and just know that in a power phase we may be doing slightly more plyos or Olympic lifts and in a strength phase we may be doing less volume of that stuff, and more volume of strength work. If it is inseason, then trying to keep the athlete healthy is paramount, and trying not to destroy them in the weight room (during a time when they are competing frequently) – just get in as much high quality work as they will be able to tolerate.

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

Read everything and read often. Read things that you like and agree with and things that you don’t like and don’t agree with. The later is important, as it will make you ask some questions, give you some cognitive dissonance, and either challenge you to think a different way, or reaffirm your beliefs in what you already know/do. Talk to ask many people as possible – coaches, therapists, doctors, etc. – to gain as much knowledge as you can.
Be an infovore!

Patrick, thank you so much for your time. Where can my readers find out more about you, and any projects that you may have coming up?

Thanks for having me Robbie. It has been great. I don’t have any upcoming projects at this time (other than trying to get better at what I do).

Readers can find me at my main website – - where I have a blog that I update pretty regularly with my thoughts and ideas on training and soft tissue therapy. I also am on twitter - - and facebook - - and our podcast is –

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hows Your Mobility - Part 1

Ankle Mobility

The joint by joint approach formulated by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook is something that has had a huge positive impact on the strength and conditioning industry.Its impact is also being strongly felt in the rehabilitation field among some physiothearpists, and many other manual therapists.

I for one use the joint by joint approach to drive all my training with my athletes. It is so brilliant and yet so simple at the same time. As I once heard Tim Vagen say about the joint by joint approach " I wish I had thought it up first". Me too Tim, me too.

The following outline is adapted for Boyle/Cook:

The Joint by Joint Approach:




Thoracic Spine (Mid Back)

Gleno-Humeral (Shoulder) Joint




Lumbar Spine

Scapulae (Shoulder Blades)

As you can see from the outline above the joint by joint approach shows us that are joints alternate between mobility and stability. Now what do you think happens if we lose our mobility in one of our mobile segments? Well..........

Ok, I'll just tell you then. Keep your underwear on!!

Lets use the hips as an example. If I start to lose my hip mobility, my body will start tocompensate with motion at the LUMBAR SPINE, or the KNEE. Now according to joint by joint chart above the lumbar spine and knee are meant to be stable. So, do you think that it is a good idea for stable segments to begin to become mobile segments? Well..........

Thats right! Hell No!

So when someone comes to me with pain in their knee, I want to look at their ankle, and hip mobility. When someone comes to me with pain in their low back, I want to look at their hip, and thoracic spine mobility. When someone comes to me with pain in their shoulder, I want to look at their thoracic spine mobility, and how their scapulae sit on their thorax.

As we age we start to lose our mobility in our mobile joints, and to compensate for this we start to give up stability in our stable joints to be able to move.

The following outline shows what can happen to our joints as we age:

Adapted from Mike Boyle:

Mobile Segments:

Ankle -

Hips -

Thoracic Spine -

Gleno-Humeral Joint -

Stable Segments:

Foot +

Knee +

Lumbar Spine +

Scapulae +


Less range of motion = -

Increased range of motion = +

So as you can see, mobility, and stability work is vital for your health and longevity.Below are two sample ankle mobility exercises that I use with my athletes. I have to give credit here to Mike Boyle (once again), as I got these mobility exercises from him.

Ankle Mobility 1:

The key with this exercise is to keep your heel of your front foot down. It cannot raise off the ground. All you simply do is drive your knee straight over your toes as far forward as possible, while keeping your heel down. Lightly touch your knee off the wall. When you feel that you can comfortablely touch your knee off the wall while keeping the heel down, move your foot back slightly and challenge yourself to get an extra bit of motion.

Ankle Mobilty 2:

With this exercise for the ankle you are achieving mobility in a more frontal and transverse (side to side, and rotation motion) plane of motion. The first mobility exercise we did above, mobilised the ankle in the sagittal (straight forward motion) plane. The key to this exercise is to keep the toes of the foot on the ground pointed forward toward the wall.

Give these a try,

Until next time,

Stay Strong,


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pictures From Boston!

Boston University

Cressey Performance



Me and the MBSC Staff

I almost look like a professional!!

Me and the great JP (John Pallof)

Me with some guy Boyle??

Me with the great Steve "Bunkie" Bunker - Legend