Archive for January, 2009

Video of the Week

Posted in Injuries, Random Thoughts, Training on January 13, 2009 by mboyle1959

One of our members, Ray McCarthy, asked me to explain the Yoga Table, an active stretch that was mentioned in one of the workouts we posted. I actually searched some Yoga sites for a picture and could not find one. So I shot a video clip. I’m not sure where I came up with this but, it works.

The Yoga Table , as we perform it, is a great exercise and serves a bunch of purposes. The key is to lift up with the glutes ( glute activation) while stabilizing the spine by drawing in the abs ( core activation). What this does is stretch the psoas in an active isolated manner ( glute contraction with hip extension and lumbar stabilization equals psoas stretch). An added benefit is an upper body stretch in the shoulders.

The shoulder flexibility may limit the hip stretch in some tight athletes so the move becomes more of an upper body stretch than a hip stretch.

This is actually one of my favorite active flexibility exercises because it has so much “bang for the buck”.

This Week on

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2009 by mboyle1959

This week on we have a couple of reprinted articles, a new article and a new video. Why reprinted articles? I think there is some great stuff that our readers may not have seen.

First up today is Training is Like Farming. This is an article that I wrote a few years ago and dug up in response to a forum post. When I realized it was not on the site I decided to add it. The point is obvious and is contained in the title. There is no quick fix, only the law of the farm.

Second is one of my all time favorite articles, Variety in Strength Training. This is the best periodization article ever written. It has appeared under this title and also in the NSCA Journal under the title Five Steps to Improving Your Football Strength Program with slight changes. When people ask about how we design and periodize I often refer them to this article. It is reprinted with kind permission of the author, Coach Charles Poliquin (

Next up is The Vehicle to Success. This is another great article by Shelby Turcotte. Shelby is one of the good young writers I have been lucky enough to meet over the past few years.

Last is a video clip of one of my favorite stretches, the Yoga Table. I’m hoping to add a video of the week to the site every week from here on in.

As always don’t forget Episode 27 of the StrengthCoach Podcast There is also a link on the home page of
Hope you check out the site.

The Most Important Hire A Coach Can Make?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 10, 2009 by mboyle1959

Just read a great blog post by Eric Musselman, ( former NBA Head Coach), courtesy of my friend Josh Ford at about hiring a strength and conditioning coach called The Most Important Hire a Coach Can Make. Take a second to read it.

Coming from a former head coach in the NBA this is quite a compliment. It’s even better in light of Coach Meyer and Coach Stoops comments. I think that the sport coaches who are successful truly get the value of a great strength and conditioning coach. Just remember, being a great strength coach is as much or more about how you do the job as it is about what you know. The big key is attention to detail. No matter what program you choose to run, you must do it well.

I wrote the following three or four years ago. Take a second and see just how important the great strength coaches have been to the NFL.

Question of Strength?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2009 by mboyle1959

I have to admit, I’ve always been a fan of Charles Poliquin’s writing. Maybe not always a fan of his interpersonal skills. I used to look forward to picking up Muscle Media 2000 to read Charles latest article. Charles recent tnation article is classic Poliquin. Charles always has an opinion and in this issue I have to agree.

I love the Hang Snatch and hate the Box Squat. Anytime you say you hate the Box squat you have to be ready for the Westside disciples to jump down your throat. Take a minute and click the link above and read.

If you are interesting in reading some other great stuff, click the link below to go to

Physiological Testing Versus Performance Testing

Posted in Random Thoughts, Training on January 6, 2009 by mboyle1959

I have a confession to make. I hate physiological testing. VO2 Max Tests make me angry. Physiological testing is most often, in the words of my friend Paul Robbins, a test of what an athlete “might” do. I like performance related tests. Lets pick a task and all do it. Whoever goes the longest, or the fastest is in the best shape. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to deal with angry and upset athletes after the results of a physiological test are posted. The complaint is always the same. “I’m in much better shape than him/her. Why did they score higher?” I could never give an honest answer because what I wanted to say was “don’t worry, those tests are a stupid waste of time”. The truth is that at Boston University we ran correlations and not one performance related test correlated to a physiological test. In other words, a VO2 test did not correlate to any performance test we did, even endurance tests. A hose and a gas analyzer can’t measure heart or desire, it can only measure gas. We have found that when the race starts gas is often just a lot of hot air.

This Week On

Posted in Updates, Uncategorized on January 5, 2009 by mboyle1959

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. This will mark our second full year at The site continues to be the best place to go for performance enhancement information and believe me, it will only get better. As always we have three new articles for you:

Recovery Methods- Sean Skahan
Sean talks about recovery in the NHL world and reinforces some important lessons.

Swiss Ball Exercises That Don’t Suck- Nick Tuminello of Performance U
Although I don’t love the title, I do understand. I love Nick’s writing style and the way he thinks. I will tell you that I don’t necessarily agree with everything in this article but, like it none-the less.

If Your Post-Operative Knee Athlete Lacks Confidence, Post Them Up- Robert Panariello MS, PT, ATC, CSCS

Rob owns Professional Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy and
Professional Athletic Performance Center in Garden City, New York. In addition Rob is a veteran of the PT and strength and conditioning world. I’m flattered that he will be submitting some articles for the site. This is the type of article I love. A great simple idea born out of great experience. I know you’ll like it.

Also don’t forget Episode 26 of the StrengthCoach Podcast with this weeks guest Nick Tuminello .
Also, with the holidays over I hope we can get forum traffic back up. Post your questions and your answers so we can all continue to get better.

If you are not a member yet, click on check out

More Evidence for Free Play

Posted in Youth Training on January 2, 2009 by mboyle1959

My good friend Daniel Martinez was kind enough to forward this blog post to me. Although the link was from a volleyball blog it is actually about English soccer. Here is the essential quote.

“In England, at the age of eight, thousands of kids are accepted into Soccer Academies. They go to school and learn one sport – football, the number-one sport in the world, which we call soccer. That we have to call the world’s most popular sport something else in our nation says something all by itself, but I digress. These young athletes then train for nearly a decade, year-round and at the ripe, old age of 16, their “graduation” as it were take place. They find out if 1). They are signed to pro contracts or 2). “Released” and sent off to just play recreationally.

So Mark set out to see if he could determine what might separate the players signed vs. those let go. After a long look, they found really only one key thing that they could measurably say was different. The kids who were released, played an average of a couple of hours of “street soccer” a week. This would be like sandlot games for us, games played without a coach; rules set by the players; scoring options determined by the players; field of play determined by those playing.

Those who were signed to pro contracts? They averaged just under 10 hours a week of street soccer. Wow.”

The key, free play. If you watched the Don Lucia clip yesterday, you heard him say he had ‘the second best job in coaching”. The first “head coach at an orphanage”. To read the whole piece you need to go You may need to cut and paste the link.

Now contrast to this interview with Elena Delle Donna ( mentioned in a previous post) who according to the video had a personal trainer in second grade! The video is on the right sidebar.

A Great Video for Coaches

Posted in Youth Training on January 1, 2009 by mboyle1959

The video below is of University of Minnesota Hockey Coach Don Lucia talking about youth sports. Please take a few minutes out of your day and watch it. If you like it, please share it.