Archive for January, 2009

Day In The Life- Addendum

Posted in Uncategorized on January 31, 2009 by mboyle1959

I received a lot of great feedback on my article this week on, A Day in the Life. However, I left out one huge point. 

The biggest thing I neglected to say was “surround yourself with good people”.

Without my wife and the people around me all the productivity ideas in the world would be wasted. I want to take a second and publicly thank my wife Cindy, my business partner at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning Bob Hanson, and my productivity team, Aaron Hardisty, Adrienne Norris and Anthony Renna. Without these guys I am simply the Wizard of OZ faking it behind the curtain. 

I’d also like to thank the staff at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning who do such a great job. I apologize for such a huge oversight.


Greatest Video Ever

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2009 by mboyle1959

This is the essence of sport. It brought tears to my eyes. You may have seen it but, watch it again

A Day in the Life

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2009 by mboyle1959

I hesitantly posted this piece on Monday on I thought it might be viewed as self-serving. However the response has been entirely positive so I thought I’d post it here also. 

A Day in the Life

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: 

1- Get up early. Successful people don’t hit the snooze button. I remember one great tip about waking up. “When the alarm goes off, get your feet on the ground” I have lived by this for at least twenty years and now rarely need an alarm. Years ago I also read somewhere that you should get out of bed when you wake up instead of rolling over. The concept is related to sleep quality and I have found it to be true. Fifteen minutes of “extra” sleep usually leaves you more tired. If I wake up within 30 minutes of when I am supposed to wake up I “get my feet on the ground”. 

2- Many people remark that they get emails from me at 4:45. That is because I get up, go to my computer, and check my email. I read another hint once that said “if you can respond in under a minute, do it now”. I have adopted that policy as best I can and it has really helped. I can interact with 100 people a day and do most of it before my family gets out of bed. The nice thing is that getting up early also allows me to help my wife by throwing in a load of laundry and allows me to spend time with my children in the morning when they get up. 

3- Write everything down. I have a notebook with me at all times for article ideas, program ideas, notes and To Do Lists. It’s much too easy to forget. Never trust your memory. I also have a Palm Treo phone for day-to-day stuff. 

4- Don’t try to do paperwork at work. I know this sounds silly but I get no paperwork done at work. I try to coach at work. I work at home in the morning. Work before the rest of the world rises and you will get more done. 

5- Don’t go out to eat lunch. What a waste of time. Lunch hour is for “normal” people who don’t like their job and need an hour away. Those that want to succeed will never waste even a half hour sitting and eating. Lunch takes all of 5 minutes. Dinner is a different story. Dinner is family time. I bank my “lunch time” so I can use it at dinner when I have my family. Another benefit of this is that it helps with weight control. I can’t seem to go into a sandwich shop and not walk out with a bag of chips. Often I have eaten them before I get my sandwich. Keep shakes on hand and eat every three hours while you work.

6- Use commuting time. I often spend two hours a day in the car. Often, I will make all my phone calls for the day in the car and, record my podcast interviews with Anthony Renna ( from my car. The police may not like this but it is a great way to save time. Just promise me that you won’t text from the car. I also use the time to listen to my Ryan Lee Insider Audio CD’s and The Strength Coach Podcast or Fitcast

7- Do brief workouts. Again, if you are busy you don’t have time to lift for two hours. I try to do 4-5 High Intensity Cardiovascular Workouts a week. These are either 12-14 minute threshold rides ( usually a five mile AirDyne for time) or a series of distances for time. My favorites are timed miles or half miles with a heartrate recovery. These workouts take a maximum of 20 minutes. In addition, I love Craig Ballantynes Bodyweight 100. It currently takes me less than 4 minutes to get a full body lift. I try to lift twice a week but, probably average one workout every five days. 

As I always say, the secret is there is no secret. Read about how to save time and to be more productive. Read The One Minute Manager. It’s a great start. Pick up little tricks. Success is really is about getting up and being organized. I personal train 10-15 hours a week, work as a college strength and conditioning coach ( BU is currently number 2 in the country) , coach Pro athletes 8 hrs a week all the while keeping up with writing, emails, and I love the idea of “ready-fire-aim” approach. I would rather have done one thing than thought about three. I read another great tip but, can’t remember where. The tip was to be a 90% person. If a success oriented person strives to do 100% they rarely complete anything. The advice was the last ten percent kills you and stalls you. I don’t worry any more if every article or DVD is perfect. I want to always deliver a quality product but, I don’t obsess over it any more. Don’t over –plan or over-think, just strive to get a lot done. Make a list and start checking stuff off.

More Evidence for Late Specialization

Posted in Training, Youth Training on January 28, 2009 by mboyle1959

Current Boston Bruin and former U Minnesota hockey player Blake Wheeler had a hat trick and was MVP of the All-Star weekend Young Stars game. The following was written by Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald about Wheeler on Monday.

” For so many youth hockey players, hockey has become a year-round activity. It was not like that for Blake Wheeler who also played football and baseball at the Breck School in Minneapolis, Minn- and he feels he’s better off for it.

Said Wheeler ” For me, I think it’s the most important thing for kids growing up. You see so many of these kids just playing hockey 24/7 12 months out of the year. And for me i would have gotten really burnt out on it. It was important for me to have a balance in different sports…”

Don’t try to convince yourself that Wheeler succeeded in spite of not specializing. The evidence is overwhelming that athletes succeed because they do not specialize. If you want a great player, develop a great athlete first.

Hank’s Big Adventure

Posted in Fat Loss, Guest Authors, MBSC News, Nutrition, Training with tags on January 27, 2009 by mboyle1959

The following was printed today at my friend Hank Morses’s blog . Hank is a Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning client. He is also the inspiration for my presentation this year on the Perform Better tour.  In addition his story also played a big part in our first webinar Just wanted to share it with my readers:


Hi folks…..we’re almost one-twelfth of the way through the year and have you made your commitment to improving your health? Before you drop some expletives in my direction (who like’s to be questioned by a fat guy?), let me share my weekend.


Friday night, I deejayed a school function for my daughters, where they and their friends got up and sang on stage, danced with their friends, goofed off a lot and had a blast.


Saturday morning, I jumped into the frigid Atlantic at Wollaston Beach in Quincy as part of the John Hancock Birthday Plunge, to raise money for Interfaith Social Services. ISS serves needy families and individuals on the South Shore. Saturday night, I emceed an auction/fundraiser for a three month old baby girl, whose mother died during childbirth last October. You can go the website , if you’d like to donate to her fund.


My point is this: Family and friends are so important, life is short and you have to take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way in life. I was fortunate that, despite my lifetime of fatness, I didn’t have any serious illnesses. I did lose a gallbladder, though. Luckily for me, Mike Boyle offered to help me lose weight and the one thing I’ve done right during the last decade was take him up on his offer and take advantage of the help he offered. I’ve lost about 105 pounds……I tip the scale at 270….and I’ve got a long way to go. My wife, my daughters, my friends….they are all very important to me. YOU are important to your family and friends. Put yourself first, for one. Spend the money on your fitness NOW….not when your relegated to some long term care facility with disabling physical limitations.


When I first started working out, I used to visualize skiing with my daughters, whenever I’d be struggling on the treadmill, or doubting myself. Last winter, while Abbey and Charlotte skied, I sat on my size 54s in the lodge, lamenting how I’d let myself  balloon to 375 pounds.


Yesterday, I skied at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton on a glorious, sunny winter day. The girls both brought a friend. The girls glided down the mountain with their friends, I wiped a tear from my eye as I got to the top of the lift, and felt like Bobby Orr soaring through the air as I made my way down the mountain to the lodge.


I want to thank Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Winchester for helping me attain one of my many goals. If I can do it, you can too.


Go get ‘em……TODAY!!!!




Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2009 by mboyle1959

This week on will be a bit different. We are going to take a break from the “how to” articles and look at some other issues that we deal with day to day.

 Today we will run a piece I wrote called A Day in the Life. This is a time management article I think you will enjoy. I also think it will help your productivity.

 Next up will be another piece from Jeff Higuera called Be Greatful. Jeff is a great young coach and an excellent motivational writer. I have previously shared his work with you on the site.

 Later on in the week will have a new Video of the Week. This video expands on the Functional Training Grid idea we showed a few weeks ago.

 The last item is a new one that I know everyone will enjoy. Beginning this week we will feature a sample program each week. Our good friend Anthony Renna figured out how to screen capture files, making it much easier to post programs on the site.

 As always don’t forget to check out the StrengthCoach Podcast. Anthony has posted Episode 27.5 “The Gray Cook / Brent Jones Conference call at .

Last but, not least if you missed our Fat Loss Secrets Webinar you can still go to .   Once you purchase it, you will be sent an email with a link and a password for viewing.”

Video of the Week- Reaching One Leg Straight Leg Deadlift

Posted in Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females, Youth Training on January 24, 2009 by mboyle1959

The 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/ techniques 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”.

However, some athletes and clients still have difficulty getting the concept of reaching. In order to encourage these clients we took the exercise one step further and had them do it into a wall. The key to the exercise is to position the client or athlete far enouh away from the wall so that they really have to extend to reach it. This may take a little tinkering but, the results are outstanding.


Training for the NFL Combine- 40 yard dash

Posted in Training on January 20, 2009 by mboyle1959

The following is excerpted from a piece I wrote previously and is used with the permission of

Training for the forty yard dash is an interesting process and has become a near obsession in football. The reality is that most athletes are looking to reduce the forty-yard dash time by as little as .1 to .2 seconds. In order to accomplish a one to two tenths of a second reduction I have always advocated training for the first ten yard segment of the forty yard, as this is the area of greatest potential change.

In fact when training athletes for the NFL Combine I have never had an athlete run longer than a twenty-yard dash. Our athletes routinely have gone to the NFL Combine without ever having run a forty-yard dash. To some this may seem foolish but I prefer to view the process as both intelligent and cautious. Athletes rarely injure themselves running a ten-yard dash but often seem to incur muscle strains from repeat forty-yard dash attempts.

In fact, in a race that takes from 4.3 seconds to 5.3 seconds to complete at the elite level, the first ten-yard segment takes the longest time and by default is the easiest to impact. Ten-yard dash times range from 1.5 seconds to 2 seconds.

Each proceeding ten yard segment taking roughly 1 to 1.1 seconds to complete. By simply improving performance in the ten-yard dash, we can easily take off the elusive .1 seconds that so many athletes are looking for. In fact for most elite athletes the forty-yard dash is actually a test of acceleration and not one of speed. I believe we mistakenly use the term speed when in fact we are referring to acceleration. When we say an athlete has great speed we actually mean that he or she has great acceleration. In the famous Ben Johnson versus Carl Lewis races top speed was not reached until the 60-meter mark. This means that the athletes continued to accelerate for a full 60 meters. An athlete that runs a 1.5 second ten yard dash may be capable of a 4.3 second forty yard dash. However, the athlete may run a 1.5 second first ten segment and 2.6 second twenty. This means that the acceleration pattern is as follows:

0-10 1.5 sec

10-20 1.1 sec

When looking at the chart above it becomes glaringly obvious that the initial segment takes 1.5 times the length of the other three. As a result it is obviously the segment most apt to be altered.

Think about this. The forty-yard dash should be run in approximately seventeen steps. Simple. An athlete with a normal stride length will measure out at about 7.5 feet. This means that a reasonably good sprinter will cover 15 feet, or five yards, every two steps. I believe the big key to the forty yard dash is to get the athlete to develop stride length in the first ten yard segment by pushing, not overreaching. Why seventeen? The first five-yard segment should take three steps; the remaining seven segments would take two steps each for a total of seventeen steps. Is seventeen the magic number? No. The key is to teach athletes to push, not reach and to minimize stutter steps. We try to get our athletes to master three steps for five yards and five steps for ten yards and, to do it without a reaching action. We continue to emphasize that stride length is a function of back-side action-reaction and not front side reach. We teach lots of push with no emphasis on stride length from the front side mechanics. In fact we never do B-skip type drills, as I believe they teach improper mechanics and are not appropriate for forty-yard sprinters.

Here are the keys to the first ten yards.

– Is the athlete moving quickly or does he look like he is moving quickly? What does this mean? Many athletes come out of the start with great turnover and go nowhere. They remind me of the Roadrunner from the cartoons. Wheels spinning and going nowhere fast. Often these guys look fast and run slow. Generally these guys are fast twitch athletes who do not like the weight room. The great accelerators often look slow coming out because they are producing great force and minimized steps. Running is all about Newton’s First Law. Action-Reaction. Force placed into the ground produces motion forward, very simple. The start is clearly not about turnover or frequency but about force into the ground. This is the reason there is such a strong correlation between vertical jump and forty-yard dash times. Vertical jump is simply a measure of Newton’s First law. When an athlete applies force into the ground, the ground applies force back in an equal and opposite manner. More force, more vertical displacement.

– Have you timed your athletes for a 10 and 20-yard dash? As I said in the previous paragraph I’ve seen slow guys with lots of turnover and very little movement? Try being objective versus subjective. Time your athletes not just in the forty, but also in the ten and twenty. 1.5 sec hand held is fast. 1.8 is average for a ten (adult male).

– Next, video the ten yard dash and the twenty yard dash. See how many steps it takes an athlete to run ten and twenty yards. Don’t tell the athlete to cut down steps, simply tell him to push the ground as hard as possible. Simply telling an athlete that you are counting steps will cause over striding. You want to see how many steps it takes. This will tell you if you have an athlete who is moving his feet but not applying any force. A good sprinter will run the 10 in 5-6 steps and the 20 in 9-10 steps.

– Also look at the video and see the first step. Does the athlete gain ground? A good indicator of a powerful start is that the foot taking the second step does not touch the ground while the front foot is still on the line. In other words, after step one you should not see two feet in contact with the ground. You will be amazed at how many guys simply step out of the start instead of pushing out of the start. Just as we confuse speed and acceleration, we often confuse first step and first push. A quick first step does nothing. It is the push that creates the action-reaction, not the step. What you want is great push, not a great step. This also relates to stride length. Stride length is accomplished by great forces placed into the ground, not by things like knee lift.

– Another great indicator that the athlete is beginning to understand powerful starts is when the athlete appears to be falling forward out of the start, almost out of control. I tell my athletes to drive themselves out of the start so aggressively that they almost fall flat on their face. I cheer if they look like they are going to fall. That shows me great aggressive push.

– Time each test three times. Either average all three or take the middle, throwing out the high and low. You don’t want to record a mistake. Electronic timers don’t make mistakes unless there is a malfunction. Throw out scores that are obviously wrong.

Start Tips
– Weight is on the front hand and foot. This is not track. There is no block. The back foot can be minimally helpful.

– Hips are low, don’t raise the butt. You can’t push out from straight legs.

– Never take instructions from a track coach on forty technique. They are used to blocks, you don’t have them.

– Eyes are between the hand and foot. Don’t look up. The head should be in a normal anatomical position

– Weight should be so far forward that if you don’t run, you would fall.

Start Drills
1. Dive Starts- have the athlete dive into a crash pad from the start position. This is a great drill for teaching first-push power

2. Timed 10’s- I love timed tens. I try to watch the start and count the steps. We use a Speed Trap timer and don’t watch the clock. We will time every week, sometimes twice a week. A few rules.

• Tell the athletes only three attempts per day. This leaves time for the athlete to ask for “one more” at least twice. I really want to time five reps but, always tell them three.

• Try to get the athletes to forget about the timer and concentrate on the technical things you want done. Big push out of the start, great hip extension etc.

• Please note: – the use of a timer is an excellent way to reduce anxiety about being timed. My athletes are very comfortable about being timed by the time the Combine or Pro Day comes around. It also should be noted that many athletes will choke and revert to old patterns as soon as a timing device is presented. Timing early and often allows the athlete to see the changes in pattern like stepping out of the start or stuttering. The timer also generally reinforces that these behaviors are slower, not faster. Frequent use of the timer does what the book The One Minute Manager calls “catching someone doing something right”. We focus on execution, not time. Great execution will lead to better times, which will ingrain proper habits.

3. 3 for 5, 5 for ten (this is a tough drill as you will constantly have to emphasize that stride length comes from push, not reach, be careful with this drill) I view this as an advanced drill and one that must be monitored constantly. Success is not accomplished by number of steps or strides but quality of strides.

4. One Leg Starts- this is another great drill to teach the athlete how to use the front foot in the start. Simply ask the athlete to run a series of timed tens using only the front foot. This will teach the athlete how to focus on exploding of the front leg. Often our athletes will move from abysmal at this drill to being able to run as fast as from a three point start.

Just a reminder, these drills will improve what you already have. They are teaching drills. The real key to speed lies in increasing force production. To really improve speed these drills and cues must be combined with a lower body strength and power program that emphasizes maximal strength. Don’t underestimate the value of force production in the forty.

Another reminder, if you really want to understand speed, pick up a copy of Charlie Francis Training for Speed. Charlie Francis hits on basic concepts in a way no one has before or after. In spite of any perceived scandal Francis is still the best sprint coach of all time.

This Week on

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2009 by mboyle1959

This week on is female athlete week. Two of our articles will deal with endurance training and female athletes and one will deal with strength training

The first article was one I wrote last week in response to a forum post about females and distance training for basketball. The article is called Should Female Athletes Run Distance. The great thing about the forum is that is often a good source for inspiration. This article will help young strength and conditioning coaches deal with uniformed sport coaches and will help young personal trainers deal with uniformed parents.

Next up will be a reprint of an old series I did along the same lines called Should Women Run? This was very controversial when I wrote it because I originally published it on a consumer site. This series was originally three parts but is reprinted here as one. I’m republishing it to give some background to Monday’s article.

The last article comes from our friends at Virginia Commonwealth, Tim Kontos, David Adamson and Sarah Walls and is called Top 10 Reasons Heavy Weights Don’t Bulk Up the Female Athlete. The article was originally published on and is a great piece for female athletes to read.

Last but not least is our video of the week. This week we’ll show a variation of the Reaching One Leg Straight Leg Deadlift.

As always don’t forget Episode 27 of the StrengthCoach Podcast .

Last but, not least if you missed our Fat Loss Secrets Webinar you can still go to . Once you purchase it, you will be sent an email with a link and a password for viewing.”

Hope you enjoy the week.


Training for the NFL Combine

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2009 by mboyle1959

20 Yard Shuttle

The twenty yard shuttle run or the Pro Agility drill as it is also know is the standard test of lateral movement ability. The drill involves a five yard sprint to the right, followed by a 10 yard sprint to the left and finishing with a 5 yard sprint to the right. The drill is alternately called a 5-10-5 drill for obvious reasons. Scouts generally consider good lateral movement to be .4 seconds less than the forty yard dash time. In other words, an athlete who runs a 4.4 second forty yard dash should be capable of a 4.0 Pro Agility.

Technique here is a bit controversial. Many successful coaches are having excellent results with competing philosophies. In fact, this drill is one that has shown the largest improvement over the past few years as techniques get better. Our current technique is as follows
1- Narrow start stance with a crossover start
2- Five yards right in 3 steps ( please note, one missed step necessitates two steps as the athlete must touch with the right hand and right foot). The big key here is to land on the outside edge of the left foot and execute am immediate crossover step.
3- Ten yards left in 6 steps. Step five is a hard right foot plant leading to another crossover.
4- Sprint three steps through the center.
5- Big keys- 12 steps. Missteps can turn 12 into 16 . The next big keys are great crossovers at both turns.

One area of controversy is touching the ground with the inside hand to get a low turn. Although we do not teach it most athletes are beginning to do it. Some scouts ignore this, others don’t. As many of these tests have been done for years, there are only basic rules and the process continues to evolve. As we have improved our teaching methods we have seen times move to .5 to .6 seconds lower than the forty yard dash and recently have begun to get athletes in the 3.9 range which seemed unachievable a few years ago.