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Sample Articles/Programs from StrengthCoach.com

Here's a few sample articles to give you an idea of the kinds of things you'll find in the Subscribers Area of SportSpecific.com These articles are reprinted as they originally appeared.

Working the Floor
Michael Boyle - December 30, 2012
I just read a thread in the Business Forum that had advice that blew me away. I'm not sure how many readers visit the Business Forum so I'd thought I summarize some of our readers' thoughts on working . . . keep reading
Filling Buckets
Michael Boyle - October 21, 2012
There is a kid's book that my son read in first grade called Have You Filled a Bucket Today. In short, “bucket fillers” give you good stuff and h . . . keep reading
Power Cubed
Michael Boyle
Once again social media has produced an article idea. What would I do without Facebook? Recently my twelve year old daughter published a YouTube clip of herself doing a set of hang cleans. Not only did the clip produce a technical discussion about Olympic lifts, it produced a theoretical discussion about training for power. One topic that came up was "how do we train for power?". I realized that although I knew the answer I don't think I have ever really written it down. . . . keep reading
Becoming a CNP
Michael Boyle
One question that seems to come up frequently on the StrengthCoach.com forum is the "what certification do I need?" question. I seem to answer this one over and over. People ask about NSCA, ACE, NASM, etc. as if the certification matters. I can tell you two things with relative certainty. . . . keep reading
The Myth of In-Season "Maintenance" Training
Ben Bruno
When I was in high school it used to annoy me so much when adults would start sentences with "Back when I was your age, things used to be so much different…" It just sounded so lame, and it made them seem old. . . . keep reading
The Front Squat/Back Debate: Part 4
Jim Reeves
In the last article we looked at the breakdown in the performance of the back squat and some of the reasons behind its typical technique errors. We also looked specifically at the low back and hip's role in the back squat and the requirements athletes must have for technical mastery of the lift. So, the question then has moved towards who can perform the back squat? In the discussion forum on Strengthcoach.com, it seemed there was a defensive stance taken by some that the purpose for my explanations was to discredit the back squat exercise and its performance. This is just simply not the case. I don't think the back squat controversy is founded within the exercise itself. I think the controversy has roots in the lack of critical thought applied by some in the safe and effective prescription of it as an exercise. . . . keep reading
The Front Squat/Back Squat Debate: Part 3
Jim Reeves
Part 3: The Comparision Continued . . . keep reading
The Front Squat/Back Squat Debate: Part 2
This is Part 2 of Jim Reeve's four-part article comparing front squats and back squats. In this segment, Jim analyzes the two lifts through video and picture. Due to the high number of pictures in the article, we had to post it as a PDF file, so please click on the link below to read it. This is some really good stuff. . . . keep reading
The Front Squat/Back Squat Debate: Part 1
Jim Reeves
Leave it to Mike Boyle to get people's juices flowing. It's not enough for him to come out and confront the industry with the stance that strongman and power lifting techniques do not make for great sports performance training options. Or that running athletes have a real disconnect with their sport and injury patterns. Next, the guy blows the top off the sports training world saying that he's taking all squats entirely out of his programming. Shocking statements at the time for some, but not without merit for Mike. His "Death of Squatting" stance certainly caused quite an uproar and has obviously progressed in the time since as Mike continues to search for the most effective way to train his athletes. . . . keep reading
Why Crossfit May Not Be Good For You
Michael Boyle
Let's face it, Crossfit is a controversial topic in the world of strength and conditioning. Crossfit gyms are springing up all over the world. They are cheap and easy to open, with only a weekend certification and a few thousand dollars worth of equipment. This appeals to many in the fitness business. You can be part of a rapidly growing trend and you can do it without great expense. I am not a Crossfit fan so some might view this piece as yellow journalism. I will try to keep my personal opinions to myself and deal with what is generally agreed upon as safe in strength and conditioning. . . . keep reading
Sport Specific Training
Michael Boyle
This is the question that comes up all the time. Sounds like a great set up for a joke . . . . keep reading
Repetition vs. Repetitions: Training Youth Athletes
Anthony Donskov
The mother of mastery is deliberate repetition! As Coaches, we are always trying to find better ways to gain maximal results while promoting movement proficiency for our athletes. Variety plays an important role! Reps, sets, stress fluctuation, tempo and exercise selection are a few of the variables that need to be manipulated in order to produce maximal adaptation. . . . keep reading
10,000 Hours and Early Specialization in Sports: Mutually Inclusive?
Max Prokopy
1997 was a landmark year for young athletes, burgeoning internet gurus, and helicopter parents. As Tiger Woods drained the final putt of a record-setting performance at the Masters, millions of parents, coaches, and educators watched in awe. Tiger's first TV golf appearance was at age 2(!). By age 21 he was the most formidable force in the sporting world. Either conscious or sub-conscious, these well-documented facts galvanized the early specialization movement. Best-selling books such as Outliers, The Talent Code, and Bounce are wonderful accounts of the grueling ascent to expertise. However, they might create as much trouble as inspiration. The message received by parents and coaches often places early specialization into one sport above the value of diverse movement. More importantly, it's held high above "play." While there may be more Tigers-in-progress than ever before, we've also seen a rapid rise in youth sport overuse injuries. . . . keep reading
3D Tour of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning
Perform Better
Take ninety seconds and go on a 3D tour of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn courtesy of our friends at Perform Better. After the tour, make sure you have downloaded your copy of Designing Strength Training Programs and Facilities available for free on this site . . . keep reading
Will the FMS Cure Most Communicable Diseases?
Michael Boyle
OK, so the title is a bit tongue-in-cheek. However, if you are a regular Strengthcoach.com reader you might be tempted to answer yes. It seems every thread now begins with the statement "have you done the FMS on them". Every answer parrots the same mantra. If you attack the weak pattern, the athlete or client will be miraculously cured. To be honest, I think doing the FMS should be step one for every client that complains of pain. In fact, if you have the time it should be step one for every client, period. . . . keep reading
25 Years, 25 Mistakes
Michael Boyle
This year I'll enter my twenty-fifth year as a strength and conditioning coach. Last month I watched Barbara Walters celebrate her thirtieth year with a special called "30 Mistakes in 30 Years." I'm going to celebrate my twenty-fifth anniversary by telling you my top twenty-five mistakes. . . . keep reading
CHANGING THE GAME
Anthony Morando
There comes a time in all our lives when we reinvent ourselves, and more often than not, that time comes when we least expect it. In the strength and conditioning world, we as coaches/trainers influence people by helping them to achieve their goals and maximize their potential. In helping our clients reinvent themselves, we sometimes unexpectedly reinvent ourselves as well. This article is about far more than resistance training, core stability, and sled pushes. This article is about "changing the game." . . . keep reading
Charles Pazdera: Real Strength
Vince Gabriele
The other day we lost one of the strongest kids in the world. I refer to him as a kid because that is how I knew him. Charles was about six years younger than me and we grew up together as close family friends, even though far apart in age. You could never refer to him as a kid anymore. No kid could ever stare cancer in the face for 3 years and walk tall the entire time, never ever once saying why me. This was a man. Charles is now pain free and waiting for us. He defines the word strong. . . . keep reading
Assessing Credibility in the Internet Age
Michael Boyle
If you've ever bought a product on the internet, take a minute and read this. . . . keep reading
"The Business"
Alwyn Cosgrove and Jason Ferruggia
This article was written in response to a trend that both Jay and I experienced. We were getting approached by trainers asking us for business advice and how to "jump the ladder, get out of the trenches and avoid training clients for a long time". We are all for helping motivated individuals fast-track their career, but the fact that a trainer is asking how to avoid training people, didn't sit well with us. We all get started in this industry through our desire to help people. If you don't want to be in the "trenches" helping people - maybe this industry is not for you. You know who you are. . . . keep reading
In Season Training-Something is Better Than Nothing
Michael Boyle
Kind of a lousy title for an article but, it's true. I often talk to coaches who say "we don't train in-season, we don't have a weightroom". I think I have a simple, low cost solution.
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The Essential Eight - Eight Mobility Drills Everyone Should Do.
Michael Boyle
Mobility seems to be "the" hot topic. Everyone has their own opinion. If you've read any of my articles on mobility - A Joint by Joint Approach to Training you know that mobility should be done only for those joints that need it. If you haven't read Joint by Joint, go back and read it before you read this.

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Training the Overweight Client
Michael Boyle
Training obese clients represents a series of truly unique challenges. Within these challenges lie great business prospects and opportunities to change lives'. However, to succeed trainers need to put a large amount of thought into the process of dealing with an overweight client. Unfortunately as Ben Franklin noted "common sense is not very common". We constantly see trainers making recommendations for overweight clients that are both dangerous and foolish.
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Improving Foot Speed and Agility
Michael Boyle
A couple of threads on the StrengthCoach.com forum got me thinking about the question of foot speed and athletes. I can't tell you how often I hear a parent or a coach ask, "How can I improve my son's/daughter's/ athlete's foot speed or agility?" It seems everyone always wants the shortcut and the quick fix. The better question might be "Do you think you can improve foot speed?" or maybe even the larger question, "Does foot speed even matter?"< . . . keep reading
Get Functional Strength Coach 3.0 for 25% off
Michael Boyle
Have you been waiting for FSC 3.0 to go on sale? . . . keep reading
A Training Session at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning
Bruce Kelly
Last week I had two chances to learn from two of the best and even though I have been doing this for over 25 years I couldn't pass up either opportunity. . . . keep reading
Dealing With Hamstring Injury
Michael Boyle
Strangely enough there were three separate posts the past two weeks dealing with hamstrings strains and hamstring rehab. I thought it would be better to take the time to write a thoughtful article rather than a rushed forum post. . . . keep reading
My Top Coaching Influences
Michael Boyle
A blog reader posted this question recently and got me thinking. Who were my top coaching influences? I put a little thought in and came up with this list. Initially this was going to be a Top Ten but the more I thought the more the list expanded. Apologies to those I left out. I have been very lucky to have met so many great coaches. . . . keep reading
The Tao of Boyle
Nate Green
Originally Printed at www.t-nation.com April 14, 2010 38 years of under-the-bar experience, the best exercises, and why back squats still suck. "... Tao is often referred . . . keep reading
Video of the Week - Knee Dominant Exercises
Video of the Week is the Knee Dominant Exercise Jukebox. This actually includes two hip dominant exercises and a great 1 leg squat demo by New Jersey Devil Jay Pandolfo. . . . keep reading
The Truth About Speed, NFL Combines and the 40 Yard Dash!
Mike Boyle
Speed is the stuff of urban legend. Deion Sanders supposedly showed up at the NFL Combine, ran a 4.2 and went home. We routinely hear of high school kids who purportedly run 4.3's and 4.4's. The stor . . . keep reading
Does It All Come Down to the First Ten Yards?
Michael Boyle
I have always been a ten yard dash proponent. When we test speed, regardless of sport we test the ten yard dash. In fact, I wrote an article previously that questioned whether we really ever tested speed in most team sports. If we choose to be specific, what we really evaluate with tests like the 40 yard dash is acceleration. The best sprinters in the world accelerate for up to sixty meters. That means that each ten yard split continues to get lower up to sixty meters in a world-class sprint race. A forty yard dash is a test of acceleration ability, not speed if we want to get our physics right.
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Titleist Performance Institute Cyclone Circuit
TPI
The Titleist Performance Institute's Junior Golf Cyclone is the name of the program we use for kids between the ages of five and eight. The Cyclone is composed of 6 to 12 stations depending on the size of the facility. Stations focus on speed and athletic development.
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Learning to Speak Coach
Michael Boyle
My friend Valerie Waters is an expert in coaching females. She claims to speak "female". Much like Mel Gibson in the movie of the same name Valerie knows what women want. She really believes that she speaks "client". By that she means she understands what the female client wants and can present a program in a way that engages the mind of a female. . . . keep reading
Build Bigger Legs, One at a Time
Michael Boyle
I've advocated single-leg training over the years for a variety of reasons, which I summed up in this article for TMUSCLE back in 2007. In my view, single-leg training results in less back stress due to the reduced loads. And, although the phrase "functional training" is overused, single-leg training meets my definition. It's the application of functional anatomy to training. You do almost everything in sports in a split stance, or by pushing off one leg from a parallel stance, so it just makes sense to train your body that way. . . . keep reading
Training for MMA- Be Brilliant at the Basics
Dewey Nielsen, Performance Enhancement Specialist
What works best for a fighter? Linear or undulating periodization? Kettlebells or dumbbells? Olympic lifts from the floor or hang? What do you do for GPP? What exercises do you use to train pulsing? Did you grow a beard to look more like Ryan Reynolds (has nothing to do with this article but I do get asked that)?
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Interval Training- HIIT or Miss?
Michael Boyle
I think every fat loss article we read espouses the value of interval training for fat loss. In fact the term HIIT ( for High Intensity Interval Training) is thrown around so much that many people just assume they know what it is. However among all the recommendations I see to perform HIIT, very few articles contain any practical information as to what to do or how to do it. I have to confess that I stumbled into this area somewhat accidentally. Two different processes converged to make me understand that I might be a fat loss expert and not know it. In my normal process of professional reading I read both Alwyn Cosgrove's Afterburn and Craig Ballantyne's Turbo Training. What struck me immediately was that what these experts were recommending for fat loss looked remarkably like the programs we used for conditioning. At the time I was reading these programs I was also training members of the US Women's Olympic Ice Hockey team. It seemed all of the female athletes I worked with attempted to use steady state cardio work as a weight loss or weight maintenance vehicle. I was diametrically opposed to this idea as I felt that steady state cardiovascular work undermined the strength and power work we were doing in the weightroom. My policy became "intervals only" if you wanted to do extra work. I did not do this as a fat loss strategy but rather as a "slowness prevention" strategy. However, a funny thing happened. The female athletes that we prevented from doing steady state cardiovascular work also began to get remarkably leaner. I was not bright enough to put two and two together until I read the above-mentioned manuals and realized that I was doing exactly what the fat loss experts recommended. We were on a vigorous strength program and we were doing lots of intervals. . . . keep reading
How to Use Sled Training to Dramatically Improve Speed and Acceleration
Mike Boyle - March 20, 2009
How to Use Sled Training to Dramatically Improve Speed and Acceleration Discover why EVERY athlete must incorporate sled training into your sports training programs and workouts. . . . keep reading
Should You Stick to the Recipe?
Michael Boyle
Anyone who knows me knows how much I like analogies. One area that continues to frustrate me is talking to trainers about programming. Often the conversation goes something like this, "I use a little of your stuff, a little of Mark Verstegen's stuff and mix in a little of …". In trying to describe how this works or potentially doesn't work I've decided that a food analogy may be the best route. Some people can really cook, others need cookbooks and recipes. Some people write cookbooks, others read cookbooks. Even in the restaurant world, there are cooks and there are chefs. Cooks follow the recipes, chefs create the recipes. Even those who know anything about cooking understand that every ingredient in a recipe has a purpose. You wouldn't bake and simply leave out flour would you? The key is to figure out if you are a cook or a chef. Here are some basic guidelines. . . . keep reading
Video of the Week - Rotational One Leg Squat
The video of the week for this week is the Rotational One Leg Squat. . . . keep reading
A Day in the Life
Michael Boyle
I often get asked, "How do you get so much done with your business, coaching, writing, speaking etc". I usually try to give a humble answer and mumble something about hard work etc. The truth is there is a method to the madness and I'd like to share some of the things that have increased my productivity: . . . keep reading
Video of the Week
Video of the week this week is a variation of the One Leg Straight Leg Deadlift. I think the hip hinge action of the one leg straight leg deadlifts is one of the more difficult exercises to teach. Many trainees have difficulty maintaining upper back position as they forward bend and end up substituting spinal flexion for hip flexion to get range of motion. In order to prevent this we developed the concept of the Reaching One Leg Straight Leg Deadlift. The actions of reaching out with the hands and back with the foot "turn on" the entire posterior chain in an almost reflexive manner. Athletes and clients who could not conceptualize the exercise, suddenly "get it". . . . keep reading
Female Strength
A forum post about women's inability to do chinups prompted me to post these videos. They are not and were not made to be technique videos. They were simply to show how strong our girls were in 1998. . . . keep reading
ACL Injury Prevention Is Just Good Training
Michael Boyle
Is ACL injury prevention just good training? I think so. The program we use for ACL injury prevention is actually the same program we use with everyone! The truth is ACL injury prevention programs often consist more of packaging than new concepts. Calling a program an ACL prevention program may be nothing more than a way into the head of the athletic trainer, physical therapist or coach. But, if that's what it takes, I'm all for it. However, as coaches we have to realize that we should be practicing great injury prevention concepts with all our athletes and our weekend warriors. . . . keep reading
Are You Afraid of Deadlifts?
Michael Boyle
Just in time for Halloween, Mike Boyle presents..."Are You Afraid of Deadlifts?" . . . keep reading
Comprehensive Training Program for Knee Rehab Continuation
Jonas Beauchemin Atlanta Falcons Assistant Strength Coach
Audio Interview Included
If you are a strength coach or a personal trainer the chances that you have encountered an athlete recovering from some sort of ligamentous knee injury at some point in your career is pretty high. Whether it is damage to the ACL, MCL, PCL, LCL, or some combination of any of these, the incidence in the athletic and general population is alarming. Hirshman, et al estimated that 1 out of every 1000 people in the US incurs a knee ligament injury each year. The current US population is around 304,000,000 so that means according to Hirshman's figures there will be a projected 304,000 knee ligament injuries in the US in 2008. Of course our primary goal must be a pro-active one with an eye toward reducing the incidence of knee injuries. Unfortunately the mindset of the majority is to get hurt and then train or rehab rather than training with prevention in mind. Therefore it is inevitable that at some point you are going to work with a client that has suffered some sort of ligamentous knee injury.
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Understanding Sports Hernia Part 2
Michael Boyle
Prevention and Rehabilitation of Sports Hernia
Sports Hernia Prevention
A big key in prevention of any injury is to use appropriate screening techniques. For screening athletes I am a proponent of Gray Cook's Functional Movement Screen ( www.functionalmovement.com) The FMS is a seven part screen designed to predict risk of injury and should be done in it's entirety on every athlete at least once. Of particular interest in the sports hernia area is the FMS- Hurdle Step (a test of the hip flexion pattern). An impaired hip flexion pattern usually demonstrates a lateral shift of the pelvis when attempting to flex the hip. This would indicate an impaired hip flexion pattern. In the impaired hip flexion pattern it is theorized that the deep flexors (psoas and iliacus) are weak or inhibited. This forces the athlete to use quadratus lumborum to hip hike to create the illusion of hip flexion. In essence, lateral flexion of the pelvis on the spine raises the hip. Cook advocates not focusing on individual muscles but rather on fixing the pattern. To fix the pattern we have adopted a "top down" approach to attempt to recruit the deep hip flexors. . . .
keep reading
Box Hip Flexor Stretch
Stretching the psoas and iliacus can be difficult without a partner and a table. The other day I came up with this idea to get all the things we need in a good hip flexor stretch. . . . keep reading
Does It Hurt?
Michael Boyle
I get asked rehab questions all the time. I have rehabilitated athletes in almost every major sport who were told they were "all done" by a doctor or a team trainer. Because people know my background, they often ask for advice. Most of the time they ignore the advice because the advice does not contain the answer they want. They say "it only hurts when I run", I say things like "don't run". . . . keep reading
2 New Additions to Recommended Readings
Read the classics! Sometimes we need to revisit the past to really learn. . . . keep reading
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