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.


  1. Robbie thanks again for the interview, your doing a great job over there!!

  2. No Problem Jamie. I appreciate you taking the time fot the interview.