Archive for February, 2009

This Week on

Posted in Uncategorized on February 9, 2009 by mboyle1959

This week is numbers week. First we get part 2 of Joe Bonyai’s Soccer series.

Next up will be:  5 Things I’ve Learned– this is the first article from Bruce Cohn. Bruce has worked with me the past two summers and has been in the field for as long as I have.


6 Tips for Coaching Young Athletes– from Tom Sullivan. It’s nice to have Tom writing for us as he is an MBSC alum. I think it’s great to have my former athletes contributing to the site and sharing real world experience.


25 Mistakes in 25 Years– This is the re-release of an article that has been referred to by many as the best one I have written. I think with the number of new members, some may not have taken the time to read it. 25 Mistakes- Evolution of a Coach was also the subject of my presentation at last years Perform Better seminar and soon will be my newest product. We videoed last years talk and will soon have it available on DVD.

Video of the Week is a Rotational One Leg Squat on the Functional Training Grid, an excellent multi-planar exercise.

I hope everyone continues to long on and post. I love the direction of the site. We are developing a great reputation as a place for learning for new coaches and experienced coaches, which is great.

I also want to remind everyone that our Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning Winter Seminar is this Saturday, February 14th. We have an unbelievable line-up of speakers and still have a limited amount of space left. The seminar will feature myself, Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, Brijesh Patel, John Pallof and Chris Nowinski. You can go to to sign up.


As always don’t forget to check out the StrengthCoach Podcast  at  .

Zak DeOssie in the Pro Bowl

Posted in Uncategorized on February 6, 2009 by mboyle1959

One of my favorite clients is going to the Pro Bowl. It’s been a pretty good last few years for Zak. Zak was drafted in the 4th round in 2007 out of Brown University by the Giants, got a SuperBowl ring in 2008 and now will be the long snapper in the 2009 Pro Bowl. I just want to congratulate Zak as he is one of the best guys I have had a chance to work with. Zak has the ability to make everyone around him better and treats my staff and customers like they are his personal friends. He is also one of the hardest working young men I know. I jokingly told Zak he should probably retire after the Pro Bowl because his career can only go down hill. I’ll be watching the Pro Bowl on Sunday for the first time in a long time to cheer for Zak. Hope you do too.


Training to Bench 225

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2009 by mboyle1959

I can say one thing with confidence about training an athlete to bench 225 for reps.


Throw your coaching techniques out the window.


What does that mean? Lets take a look.


1- Train for Endurance

For most athletes training for a combine-type test, the 225 bench press test is an endurance test not a strength test. It is common knowledge that the relationship between strength and endurance changes as the number of reps increases. I have seen athletes that can bench press 400 lbs do 225 for 20 reps and I have seen athletes who can bench press 350 pounds do the same number of reps. The key point, if you want to get better at reps, do reps.


2- Train for Strength

In point two, I can immediately contradict myself.  The other reality is that up to a certain point you need to develop max strength. In the short run more strength actually can lead to more endurance. Sound confusing, not really. The reality is if your maximum bench press is 245 you will be lucky to bench 225 for 2. A 400-pound bencher has a far greater chance of doing 30 reps at 225 than a 300 bencher. What I’m saying is you need to work both ends of the spectrum. To get better at the 225-rep test you must train for both endurance and strength. Your max bench press number determines what you should be capable of. The high rep practice converts strength to useable endurance. Usually on our first pressing day we will work on max strength and finish with one endurance set, on the second pressing day we will work solely on endurance.



This relates to both points one and two. The eastern Europeans have a saying. “If you want to be a great violinist, practice the violin”. You won’t get better at the 225 test by just lifting heavy.  For the six to eight weeks prior to the combine we would perform a set of 225 for max reps at the end of our first pressing day. The goal would be to try to get 1 more rep each week.


4- Work on Technique

Technique matters, but not the technique you’re used to. This is what I meant about throwing out everything you normally do.

– I always tell my athletes to control the weight at all times, except when benching 225. When benching 225, I tell my athletes to go as fast as possible.

– I always tell my athletes to lock out every rep, except when benching 225. When benching 225 for reps you want to appear to lock out the elbows after each rep without actually doing so. I call this a “soft lockout”. I instruct the athlete to switch from concentric to eccentric as fast as possible. In the process of switching I instruct them to go up as fast as possible, allow the elbows to extend almost to full extension and immediately reverse the action and get the bar back to the chest. Bringing the bar back to the chest is less of a controlled eccentric and more of a controlled drop. The bar should descend rapidly, using as little eccentric energy as possible but not bouncing off the chest. Lots of contradictions. I know as I said, I teach this a specific event having nothing in common with anything else I teach an athlete about strength training.


In other words, I want the athlete to do as many reps as possible, as fast as possible, with technique that is at best borderline. At no other time in the year would this be acceptable but the reality is that the best performances of this test are done in this style.


Pro scouts will not count reps that are done with a big bounce, an arch, or an obviously short arm action that comes well short of lockout. However, the “judging” of this test is entirely subjective and the best performances I have seen were always on the border of being unacceptable. The key is to learn to walk the line. This means fast reps with just a hint of a bounce, extending the arms almost to a fully locked position but not locking out until you need a rest.


Warm-up Strategies


Heavier loads- some coaches will advocate a warm-up set at a weight greater than 225 for 1 rep to get greater neural excitation. I believe this may work for athletes anticipating more than 20 reps but may be too taxing for those anticipating less than 20.


Lighter loads- I have always advocated a simple strategy based on my powerlifting experience. Two warm-up sets. 135 for 5 and 185 for 2 and then go for it.


The bottom line- Up to a point endurance is proportional to strength. You need to get as strong as possible. At the same time endurance is a skill. You need to work on endurance.  The bottom line is to work on strength, endurance, and the specific skill of the test.


Training Suggestions


Lactic acid tolerance is a big factor. Coaches have had success with various forms of endurance training. Some coaches will have athletes train with lighter loads like 185 and 205 lbs. Some coaches will have athletes practice max reps at 235 so 225 will feel lighter on test day.  I personally like drop sets on day 2.


Sample Workout


400 lb bench max- current max at 225 – 20



Week 1

Day 1              Day 2

Bench              Incline

135×5              135×5

225×3              185×3

275×1              225×5


340×5             Bench Drop set

300×10           225x max 185 x max 135 x max

225x max


The key is to understand that your athlete is training to impress a scout, not you. You need to allow technical flaws that are not acceptable at any other time of year or with any other group. Our job is to help our athletes make the best impression possible. Remember, practice, practice, practice. 

This Week on

Posted in Updates, Uncategorized on February 2, 2009 by mboyle1959

Not exactly sure about the order of articles for the week but, here’s the lineup.

Getting Strong and Learning to Squat. I had started this a while ago but, finished it in response to a couple of forum posts.

Hacking Your Strength Training- this is another Alwyn Cosgrove reprint. The piece was originally written for t-nation but, I wanted to share it with our readers,

The rest of the week is Springfield College week. Obviously as an alum I’m really proud of the work being done there. The program is unique as it run by the graduate students, many of which have worked for and with me.

We are lucky enough to get the return of Joe Bonyai to Joe is a grad student at Springfield and an excellent writer. He has a two-part article on Training for Soccer which will run the next two weeks.

We also have a video feature from Dan Liburd, another Springfield GA and a former  MBSC intern. I like this video as it shows the thinking that goes on in the Springfield College Strength and Conditioning facility.

As always don’t forget to check out Episode 28 of the Strength Coach Podcast at There is a great interview with Daniel Martinez from Elite Volleyball Performance in San Antonio, Texas.  Daniel is a very intelligent coach who is a competitive Olympic weightlifter and a frequent contributor to the forum.  As always, Anthony interviewed me about some of my articles and forum topics and Gray Cook answered a question about Ankle Mobility.

To read any of the above articles just click here