Archive for October, 2008

In- Season Training

Posted in Training on October 20, 2008 by mboyle1959

As I always say, I love the forum at The posts and threads seem to provide a wealth of article ideas. A recent post on in-season training made me aware that, in spite of writing 3 articles in the past year dealing with in-season training, I still had left some ground uncovered.

Consecutive Days?

On question that came up centered on training on consecutive days. I have always recommended two day in-season programs. One reader took this to mean that it would be OK to train two days but to use consecutive days and do an upper-lower split. This in my mind defeats the purpose. Let me clear things up, In season training should consist of two non-consecutive total body workouts. Doing a split routine is actually like training once, not twice.

Sets and Reps

Sets and reps is easy. I like to undulate my reps every three weeks and, I like to keep sets low. Three sets of an exercise would be very high volume for us in season. Most often we do 1-2 sets. We rarely go beyond 10 reps in-season. We also rarely do less than three reps. For power exercises we simply alternate between 3 sets of 3 and 3 sets of 5. For strength exercises we will use 3×3, 2×5, or 2×10. Most assistance type exercises wil be done for 2 sets of 10 all through the in-season period.

Ladders, Plyos, Agilities etc.

Another question that comes up frequently is “what about ladder work, agility, plyos?” The in-season program is a strength program. If we lift post practice we don’t do any pre-workout, preparatory things. We come off the ice, we pick up pour sheets and we begin lifting. If we lift prior to practice we follow our “normal” pre-practice routine of foam rolling, static stretching and dynamic warm-ups. However we rarely do any speed, agility or quickness exercises in season. I’m not sure if others do but, my goal is to use the time allotted to work on strength.

I’ll be posting this as an article this week at along with a sample of our inseason program.

Psychology Trumps Physiology Every Time

Posted in Training on October 19, 2008 by mboyle1959

My friend Alwyn Cosgrove has a way with words. He has the ability to succinctly sum things up. Last year I was describing some training results that did not seem physiologically correct. I had been doing circuit training with my athletes, primarily for teambuilding purposes. However the circuits we were doing were causing excellent strength gains. I was dumb founded. I was doing things that should not produce strength gains yet they were gaining strength.

Alwyn summed it up simply by saying “Psychology trumps physiology every time”. As usual, I grabbed my notebook and wrote Alwyn’s thought down. Sometimes as a coach we can’t see the forest because of the trees. I was trying to design the perfect program with the perfect balance of sets, and reps. What I wasn’t getting was the effect of peer pressure. Athletes pushing each through a circuit was causing an increase in effort.

I think it is easy to get caught up in concepts. How CNS intensive is the training, how much rest between sets etc. etc.? However, what we often miss is the human element. When I think of many of the coaches I know who are having great success with strength increases one thing they all have in common is the emphasis on effort and environment. If you read Jason Ferrugia’s work or Joe DeFranco’s work or any of the WestSide info wordslike effort, intensity and environment always seem to come up.

This past summer I experimented with a combination of HIT and peer pressure. We did a “test” almost every day. Tests could be 1 RM, 5 RM, or 10 RM but, what they had in common was an attempt to get as many perfect reps as possible with all your teammates watching. It was both fun and productive.

I think it is way too easy to get caught up in the science and forget that young athletes will respond under pressure. Next time you think program design, remember Alwyn’s words “psychology trumps physiology every time”.

MBSC Winter Seminar

Posted in Seminars on October 18, 2008 by mboyle1959

My friend Kevin Larabee of the FitCast fame (, I think) made the observation that I had left off our annual Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning Winter Seminar from the speaking schedule. I commented but, figured that a longer explanation might be needed. I left it off because we haven’t set up a website to take sign ups and we hadn’t finalized topics. That was probably short sighted so, here is what I do know.

The speakers will be Eric Cresssey, Mike Robertson, Brijesh Patel, and John Pallof, in addition to me. Topics are trickling in. We should have a more formal announcement in a week or so.

Speaking Schedule

Posted in Seminars on October 17, 2008 by mboyle1959

Just wanted to post my  2008-09 Speaking Schedule

October 16 Anaheim, Ca World Golf Fitness Summit
Power Development for Golf

November 14-15 Miami, Fla ECA Miami
Nov 14 The Joint by Joint Approach to Warm-up and Training
Nov 15 Training the Endurance Athlete, Power for Golf
December 13 Perform Better NJ
Training Special Populations/ Obesity and Low Back Pain
January 24 Perform Better, LA
Training Special Populations/ Obesity and Low Back Pain
February 7 Perform Better, Orlando, Fla.
Training Special Populations/ Obesity and Low Back Pain

February 14 Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning Winter Seminar

w/ Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, Brijesh Patel, and John Pallof
March 21-22 Perform Better, Boston ( same seminar repeats two days)
Training Special Populations/ Obesity and Low Back Pain
May 8-10 Perform Better Summit , Providence, RI
Training Special Populations/ Obesity and Low Back Pain
June 11-14 Perform Better Summit, Chicago, IL
Training Special Populations/ Obesity and Low Back Pain
July 30-Aug 2 Perform Better Summit, Long Beach, CA.
Training Special Populations/ Obesity and Low Back Pain

Interpreting Social Media

Posted in Media on October 16, 2008 by mboyle1959

Some People Don’t Get It

Every once in a while I go on YouTube and see the comments attached to some of the videos we post. Yesterday I happened to read one about the Women’s Bench Press clip (<a href= ). If the link doesn’t work, just type in Women’s bench Press on YouTube and it will come up. Guys are on there critiquing technique. “They lower the bar too fast” etc. etc.

What this makes me realize is that in some ways you have to just ignore social media. It’s great for exposure but for many it has become an outlet for critics and negativity.

I’m tempted to try to explain and then realize, “why bother?”

Then there are days like today when I say, “I’ll bother”. The clip mentioned is a group of women we trained, mostly members of the 1998 Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey team performing a set of bench presses. The purpose of the video was to document how strong these female athletes were. I filmed it because I prefer authenticity to “claims”. I also filmed it so that when we spoke to young female athletes we could give them something to strive for. Technique aside, a female athlete who can bench press or hang clean 135lbs. is a strong athlete. It was not meant to be a technique video or a training video but rather a real life example of what female athletes are capable of. I know it won’t matter to the critics but, there is a method to the madness.

Teddy Roosevelt said it best

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”