A Training Session at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning

Jul 25, 2022

Posted on July 29th 2010
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.
My daughter, Kerry, is interning with Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning (MBSC) this summer and I hope she realizes how fortunate she is to have this chance. Every young person in the field to whom I mention this is envious.
In any event, my wife and I were vacationing in Montreal and I asked Mike if we could stop by and observe. My daughter suggested that we train with the interns as well. As part of their education, every day (Monday through Thursday) the interns are led through the day's training session by one of the lead trainers. In our case, our leader was Nicole Rodriquez, one of Mike's most popular trainers.
My wife and I were in the somewhat unique position of being neither clients or interns but rather participating observers for lack of a better term. As my wife will attest, it is hard for me to be in a training facility and not want to actually train. It must be my ADD or something! And here we were in one of the most innovative and respected facilities in North America if not the world. Let's do it!
As it turned out, the Thursday we were there was the 2nd lateral speed day of the week. For those of you who don't know, Mike's summer programs are generally 4 day per week programs with two of the days being linear speed days and two being lateral speed days. You will see shortly how the entire session is oriented to lateral movement, speed and even the strength training has a lateral component to much of it.
The session started with foam rolling concentrating on glutes, thoracic spine, lats/rotator cuff, and quads/adductors.
Then we moved on to a stretching circuit of the ½ kneeling box hip flexor stretch, table top hamstring stretch, hip rotator stretch, partner adductor stretch and strap IT band stretch.
Next our dynamic warmup started with a squat/lunge matrix, wall ankle mobility work, frontal plane leg swings, 3 way band pull aparts, and X-band walks.
On to lateral bear crawls, lateral shuffles, crossovers and lateral skips which were followed by more explosive stop and stick lateral crossovers with rings as targets. The emphasis was on explosiveness with control as exhibited by your ability to stick/stop on the outside foot.
The crossovers went more explosive yet by eliminating the rings and doing them on the turf where the goal was again to explode but be able to stop on a dime with good mechanics.
Next we went outside to the turf area where we did diagonal lateral bounds with a "stick" landing coupled with med ball side tosses and overhead throws. Emphasis with the bounds was height and distance while maintaining control while landing. I was not the only one to not be perfect with this so that was somewhat reassuring. With the med ball work, explosion and rotation were the key with the side tosses and using the whole body to slam the ball was the emphasis with the overhead throws.
Back inside we went to do the strength portion of the session. As most on this site well know Mike likes to put exercises in groups, in this case triplets or tri-sets.
The first tri-set was incline bench followed by a band shoulder traction "stretch" followed by Landmine ½ moons(my term) or anti-rotation done with straight arms. We did 3 sets of each with the last incline bench set being all you could get…target was 5 reps.
2nd tri-set was supine hip flexion with the Keiser machine, Turkish getups or get-up situps and max rep pushups. This was done for 2 sets.
3rd, tri-set was prone Y's and W's, a plank circuit and Keiser anti-rotation press (Pallof press to many). Again, this was for 2 sets.
Finally, we had our choice of conditioning work with Airdynes, slide boards, Battling Ropes and sled work as some of our options. Though not necessarily congruent with the lateral speed them of the day, I did linear sled pushes because I like them and pushing on turf instead of a track would be "easier" than normal. 6 x 25 yds., some stretching and we were done.
Closing thoughts: First, thanks to Mike for his generosity and willingness to share. It is one thing to read about it in a book or see it on a DVD but to experience the methods oneself is the ultimate learning experience. That is why the hands-on sessions are so popular at the Perform Better events. Doing is learning especially for many in this field as many of us tend to be kinesthetic learners.
Mike has developed a logical, thoughtful organized approach to training his athletes. He has to as even though he has 10,000 square feet at his disposal, you have to have a workable system in place to run groups through starting every 15 minutes all day, 4 days per week. The organization and flow were apparent.
2nd, there was congruity to the training theme for the day that being lateral speed. From the dynamic warmup on this concept was woven into all facets of the session with the frontal plane leg swings, lateral bear crawls, and X-band walks being examples in the warmup and the core work like Turkish getups, Keiser anti-rotation press and Landmine ½ Moons being examples in the strength portion of the session. I think many of us miss the mark in this regard and wander off task forgetting the theme or objective for that training session.
3rd, the interns are fortunate to learn this stuff from one of the best and his staff. To get it constantly reinforced through the daily "workouts" is a great way to hard wire the learning into someone. Doing it and reading about it are two different things as well all well know. These "workouts" also give the staff a better feel for what their athletes are going through and experiencing. I believe in our field if you haven't at least done what you are asking your athletes/clients to do then you are saying: "Do as I say not as I do." That doesn't fly in any field, I don't believe, but especially in our field.
Last, I can't say enough about how helpful and accepting Mike's young staff were to my wife and me. They were supportive without being condescending and also encouraging and offered tips when and where needed esp. Nicole Rodriquez the team leader. Mike has a real dynamo in Ms. Rodriquez. All of this pointed out that interpersonal skills are at least 50% of what we do in this field. All the technical skills in the world mean nothing if you can't relate to people on a personal level. That is what has made Mike so successful and the fact that he has a ton of technical expertise makes him one of the leaders in this industry.
So I hope this article proved insightful into the actual workings of a training session at MBSC and you got some good take away information. I will look forward to feedback on the website.