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
500 spots open at the discounted price!

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?