Foam Rolling vs PVC?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2016 by mboyle1959

I got a great series of questions from a former player who is now a strength and conditioning coach.

Q- Would you recommend a harder rolling surface over a normal foam roller? Especially for those who have been rolling for long periods of time? Think regular black foam roller vs. a pvc pipe.
A- The idea of “no pain no gain” is loosely based on the fact that we know that rolling will initially be uncomfortable. However, we can’t jump forward from “no pain, no gain” to the idea of “more pain, more gain”. PVC pipe etc. may be OK in certain areas for really large, muscular clients. In general, foam rolling is not a “harder is better” pursuit.

Q- Would you agree that if I were to use a normal foam roller that physiological change over time would take longer? Would the denser surface and increased compression equal faster change than a softer surface?
A- This goes back to point 1 above. Harder may lead to injury, bruising etc. The key is appropriate pressure for the client or athlete. My guideline is to match the density of the tool to the density of the client.

Q- Are you concerned at all that the aggressive rolling with a harder surface could actually cause more damage and risk acutely impairing performance?
A- Yes, see above

Q- Lastly, do you have any credible research that support any of your answers, or is it more subjective based on your experience with training and your practice?

A- I think it is a combination of subjective experience and, the subjective experience and research around massage therapy, ART, etc. If you think of rolling as “poor mans massage”, than you are on the right track.  There is significant research in the physical therapy field about tissue change via manual techniques. That is why we have ART, MAT, Graston etc. I think we are then expanding this thought process to rollers and other self massage tools.

The bottom line is that it is always about appropriate pressure, not more pressure. Think about the strength training process. The weight that helps you get strong is one you can lift. If we doubled it, that would not help and probably hurt.

Step Ups, Step Downs and One Leg Squats

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2016 by mboyle1959

One of our coaches asked about why we don’t do step ups.

I realized that I had actually written an article for about it.

Step Ups, Step Downs and 1 Leg Squats

A lot of confusion exists in the fields of strength and conditioning and physical therapy about single leg exercises. In fact we just had a well timed forum question on the forums about using step-ups. I’ve written extensively in my all three of my books about single leg exercises and single leg progressions but, sometimes things are worth repeating. I often see the terms step-up, step down and 1 leg squat used almost interchangeably in the literature. I also think many coaches think these three exercises are similar. The truth is that all three share similar movement patterns yet the three are distinctly different. Lets look at all three:


Sport Specific Training?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2016 by mboyle1959

Here’s a good one from the Free Articles section of

This is the question that comes up all the time. Sounds like a great set up for a joke . “A parent walks into a strength and conditioning facility and says….” Well in many ways, it is a joke. On us. Parents consistently walk into a facility and say “my son ( or daughter) plays ___________ can you design a program for ______________?” You fill in the blank based on your area.

Sport Specific Training

Confused About Deadlifts and Squats

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2016 by mboyle1959

This piece was originally written for T-Nation and then was added to the Free Articles section Of Later it became the basis for the lower body chapter of my new book The New Functional Training for Sports.

Deadlift or Squat/ What’s the Difference?


A Letter to My Younger Self

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2016 by mboyle1959

I wrote this for my site last week and thought I’d share it here.

A Letter to My Younger Self

Have You Tried Gratitude Writing?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 21, 2016 by mboyle1959

There’s a lot of evidence that gratitude writing ( writing about good things in your life) can have a really positive effect. I’ve been doing this for about four years and have to tell you, it works.

The book 59 Seconds- Change Your Life in Under a Minute 

Has a few good exercises to help you.

You can also download an app for your phone. Mine is called Random Gratitude Journal. Every day it prompts you to write what you are grateful for that day.

Do me a favor, give Gratitude Writing a try.

If You Love Kids, Love Hockey or Just Want to Feel Good, Read This

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2016 by mboyle1959

Great piece from the Players Tribune by Carolina goalie Cam Ward

The Bravest Guy I Know


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