Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: Movement

Well I finally finished it!! I am a slow reader.

The book takes a while to kick into life. The first four chapters basically summarise three points, 1) Movement quailty before movement quanity, 2) We need a movement quailty standard, and 3) Just because pain is gone, this doesnt mean you are not dysfunctional.

Chapters 5-8 cover all you need to know about the FMS and SFMA.

Chapters 9-14 are where this book really comes to life. Before I actually started the book this is exactly what Patrick Ward told me and his was right. All the information regarding the corrective strategies from chapter 9-14 is golden!

I highly recommend that every coach, trainer, and thearpist read this book. It is a must have.

Stay Strong,


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Am I an expert?

This is going to the be the most open and honest article that I have written to date. So lets begin with this no bullshit article.

There are many of us blogging these days. There are many of us been seen as experts by some. It is becoming hard to know who listen to, and who's information to trust.

This is my story.

I am now 23 years old, going 24 this year. I started in this field when I was 19, but only really began coaching when I was 20. So I am only in this field 5 years. I am very influenced by Coach Michael Boyle, who is and always will be by mentor, along with Martina McCarthy who was the first strength coach I worked under.

At 19 I did a personal training course for a year through the NTC here is Ireland. After I qualified I got a job in a commerical gym at DCU sports club. I hated every minute of it. I use to have to sneak over to the high performance gym so I could get a chance to talk to Martina about strength and conditioning stuff. These conversions would just about get me through the day!

During my time at DCU I decided to do a manual therapy course through the NTC. This quailified me as a Neuromuscular Thearpist. I am currently completing my Higher Diploma in NMT.

At 21 I was so depressed by the job in the commerical gym that I decided to hand in my notice. To my suprise the management refused it! They said they would keep me on part time in the high performance gym. I accepted.

I stayed another year. There just wasnt enough coaching opportunies to satisfy me. I applied for an internship at MBSC for the summer of 2009, but I was not in luck. But I was offered a fall internship which I grately accepted. The internship was a great coaching experience. When I look back on it now I know I didnt appreciate it as much as I should have. I started in September and came back home in December.

When I got home, I had an idea of what I wanted to do. My local GAA club Na Fianna, whom I played with as a kid and teenager had a 800 square foot facility with reasonably new equipment and no head strength coach to run the place. So I decided to volunntee! From January to April 2010 I helped the players who were interested in strength training for free. All two of them!! Then in April I ask the club commitee if I could start training some clients out of the facility. They said yes.

Slowly my clientele begin to get bigger. I am not going to lie my business knowledge is aweful. In fact it is shamefully bad. I have friends that will atest to this.

In the summer of 2010 I re-habbed the knee of Bernie Finlay who at the time was a high profiled Ladies footballer with Dublin. I re-habbed Bernies knee at no charge. Bernie made it back in time to come on in the All-Ireland semi-final and final. In the semi-final she managed to come on and score a point that turned the game in Dublin's favour. This in turn lead me to getting a job as the strength and conditioning coach for the Dublin senior Ladies this year (2011).

My work was starting to get recongised within the club also. I was approached by a few senior players off the senior football panel in the club to be the strength coach for the whole team, and then the senior hurlers also followed soon after.

So as of now I am the head strength and conditioning coach at Na Fianna GAA club in Glasnevin Dublin Ireland. I am the head strenth and conitioning coach for the senior footballers and hurlers within the club, as well as being the strength and conditioning coach for the Dublin senior ladies football squad, and a few general clients also. So I have about 70 athletes that I train and some who I treat.

I am also a geek. I am always educating myself. I just order $388 worth of books off amazon!! And right now while typing this I am sending pdfs to Patrick Ward, and audios to Coach Boyle. Its 11.15pm on St.Patricks day. I am not out drinking. I in my room trying to make myself better. I am up a 8 tomorrow to train my athletes.

So there is my story so far. So does this make me an expert? No. But it gives me credibility in the internet age. I wrote this because I want people to think to themselves when the read my suff, " Robbie Bourke, I can trust this guy. He trains people. He is in the trenches, just like me. He reads. He listens. He watches. He travels. He attends. He coaches!"

Thanks for Reading.

Stay Strong,

Na Fianna Senior Football Strength Program Phase 4

Foam Roll
Dynamic Warm Up (Linear Day 1, Multidirectional day 2)
Plyos(Linear Day 1, Multidirectional day 2)
Med Ball Throws

Day 1:

A1: Hang Clean (3x1)x4 10secs
A2: Mobility exercise which maybe needed by the individual (ie, t-spine, etc)

B1: Trap Bar Dead Lift (3x1)x4 10secs
B2: Incline DB Press - Alternating Grip 3x5
B3: Ab Wheel Roll Outs 2x8

C1: BB Reverse Lunge - Front Foot Elevated 3x5
C2: 3PT DB Row - Neutral Grip 3x5
C3: Standing Isometric Pallof Press w/Split Stance

D1: TRX Face Pulls 2x8
D2: Feet Elevated (weighted with chains)Push Ups 2x8

Day 2:

A1: Hang Clean (3x1)x4 10secs
A2: Mobility exercise which maybe needed by the individual (ie, t-spine, etc)

B1: Chin Up (3x1)x4 10secs
B2: BB RFE Split Squat 3x5
B3: Core: Ab Wheel Roll Out 2x8

C1: Bench Press (3x1)x4 10secs
C2: 2 Arm DB SLDL 3x5
C3: Standing Isometric Pallof Press w/Split Stance

D1: TRX Rows - Neutral Grip 2x8
D2: 1 Leg Shoulder Elevated Hip Lifts 2x8

(3x1)x4 10secs = Cluster sets

Stay Strong,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Back To The Grind Stone!

Well after a great 8 days back at MBSC, I arrived home yesterday at 5.30am. I didnt do much yesterday. I was pleasantly suprise by how the facility was kept while I was away. I need to thank all the lads and "Pat the Bar Man" for looking after it.

Since coming home My phone has been pretty much non-stop. Good to see I was missed. Even yesterday I trained the great Denise Masterson in my jet-lagged state.

Anyway I Uploaded a boatload of videos up on my channel from my time at MBSC. Cheak them out if you want here

And here are some of the photos from my trip:

Stay Strong,


Monday, March 7, 2011

Do we have to Front Squat to be able to Hang Clean?

I use the hang clean in most of my athletes programs. In saying this I dont have anyone do front squats! So this begs the question - Do we have to Front Squat to be able to Hang Clean?

I can safely say no! I teach the hang using Glenn Pendlays teaching of the high hang clean. Since incorporating this approach, I have had hugh success in teaching the hang clean all my athletes who use it.

The fact of the matter is you are only going to catch the hang clean in a quarter squat or even less. (*Just to side track for a second, I guess what I really coach is a hang power clean). I see a lot of athletes who cant Front Squat past a certain range because they are restricted in the t-spine, hips, or ankles, but have absolutely no problem executing a hang (power) clean.

The Pendlay approach I have taking is:

Step One: Get the athlete into a clean grip position and get them into a very slight squat. Above a quater squat.

Step Two: Now that you have shown them the finishing position, and made sure that they can easily achieve the position, you teach them the start position with these three easy cues:

- Chest Up
- Wrist Under
- Sit

Step Three: To execute the lift, you now tell you athletes the following three cues

- Jump
- Shrug
- Punch (to punch the elbows up), or just "elbows up".

This is how I have been teaching it for the last 6months with excellent succuss.

So in my opinion and from what I have seen, you do not need to Front Squat if you are only going to hang (power) Clean, or even power clean. But if you decide to do the full lifts, Front Squats will be an absolute nesscessity.

Just some Thoughts,

Stay Strong,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Case Study: Shin Splints

I wanted to take a moment and discuss the re-hab work I done with a 22 year old gaelic football player with shin splints.

Patrick Ward put up some brilliant Case Studies on his blog a while back, so I decided that I liked his "style" so much that I what copied him!!

1st Session:

I used the SFMA:

Cervical Spine: DN
Upper Extremity Patterns DN

I also look at ALSR from the FMS, which was a 1 on both. So it was DN.

Maunal Treatment:

I performed Muscle Energy techniques to the Upper Traps, scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, and Levator Scaplua.

Corrective Exercise:

MSE x3:

Mobility: Muscle Energy Technique for Hip Flexors, and also hamstrings because of ASLR finding (Big Emphasis on Belly Breathing).
Static Stability:: Leg Lowering x8
Integrated Stability: 1 Leg Glute x8 (Very big focus on belly breathing, and short foot posture)
Pattern: 1 Arm 1 Leg KB SLDL x5

Client was asked to perform:

Hip Flexor AIS, Leg Lowering & 1 Leg Glute Bridge at home for MSE.

2nd Session:

Huge improvement in ASLR and MSE, and cervical spine had remained FN since first session.

Upper Extremites and MSR havent made any improvement so a corrective strategy was put together to address that.

MSR x3:

Mobility: Rib Roll x5 (with oral and facial drivers, and big focus on breathing)
Static Stabilty: Reach Roll Lift x5 (big focus on belly breathing at the end range)
Integrated Stability: 1 Arm 1 Leg KB SLDL x5 (Focus on packed shoulder.
Pattern: TRX Row x5 (Slow eccentric)

Client was now ask to also perfrom the following at home.

And Rib Roll, and Reach Roll Lift for MSR.

Session 3:

Cervical Spine: FN
Upper Extremity Patterns FN

ASLR and MSE had unreal improvements. ASLR was now a comfortable 3, and ASIS's easily were in front of the hips.

Upper Extremity patterns where now FN, and MSR was also FN.

Clients Over Squat was almost FN but arms were still a little too far forward. His over head squat had made a huge improvement though.

Unfortunelately I didnt get a chance to FMS before the client as he was in a rush, as was I. Sorry guys, I know!

As for his shin splints, the client was playing a lot of football at the time, and didnt remove this "negative" during his rehab. His said his shins were "way better", and were not bothering him as much anymore.

I told him to take a break from football for 3 weeks, and maintain his improvements with the corrective strategies that he had been doing at home. If his does this then all pain should be removed.

Stay Strong,