Archive for December, 2009

Opening a Facility

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2009 by mboyle1959

Anthony just posted Episode 49 of The Strength Coach Podcast with the theme of “Opening a Facility.”    His interview with me was all about facility planning, location considerations and  equipment choices.  He also interviewed two successful coaches who wrote articles for about opening facilities: Tim Yuhas and Justin Levine.

The podcast starts out with Alwyn Cosgrove’s tip about Lifestyle Design and it finishes up with an interview with Rob Milani from Perform Better about how they can help you design your studio, even if you are just thinking about it.

If you are thinking of opening a studio, check this one out.


The Blind Side

Posted in Uncategorized on December 29, 2009 by mboyle1959

Just a quick FYI. If you haven’t seen The Blind Side, go this week. Any reader of this blog will be moved by the story. One thing it does is make you realize there is always more you do.

PS- Sandra Bullock was great.

This Week on

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2009 by mboyle1959

First up this week is an article from a new author, Alan Stein. Alan is a Washington, D.C based strength coach. His article Vertical Jump Con Artists takes a real look at the programs that promise huge increases in vertical jump.

Next up is Things I Learned in 2009 from Tom Sullivan. Sully always offers excellent insight into the real side of opening a business.

Last up comes 35 Things I Learned in 2009. I actually lifted this from site member Robbie Bourke’s blog I’ve been trying to get Robbie to write something for StrengthCoach so I just stole this. It’s a great time of year for these 2009 retrospectives.

Video of the Week

Video of the Week is my new favorite variation of the Hip Lift or as Brett Contreras calls it a Hip Thrust. Pictured is a Band Resisted Hip Lift using two benches. I like the term Hip Lift better as thrust sounds too ballistic and makes me think “lumbar extension”. The key to this exercise is to develop core control prior to loading. I also know that I’ve been “anti-band” on the site but, I think this is a pretty safe exercise with bands and bands give the end range load that really hits the glutes.

Here is the link to the thread that got me thinking

(Non-members won’t be able to access this)

As always don’t forget to check out the StrengthCoach Podcast  at  Last but not least, make sure you keep up with

Site Notes

Just a reminder, the articles and videos go up over the course of the week. Generally one each day.  Only one article mentioned on this email will go up on the day you receive this email.

Also, your credit card statement will show a change from, not Hope you enjoy the week.

Merry Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized on December 25, 2009 by mboyle1959

Just wanted to take a second to wish you all a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday or whatever you celebrate.

This Week on

Posted in Uncategorized on December 24, 2009 by mboyle1959

Sorry, I forgot to post this on Monday.

First up this week is an article from Brett Klika of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego.

Brett always has excellent contributions and Ten Thousand Hours is no exception. I already forwarded this one to my entire staff. My advice is for any of you that own facilities to do the same.

Second is Sam Leahey’s overview of our MBSC Summer Program. Sam actually posted this in a thread but, I thought I’d post it for everyone to see. Sam’s overview was so good that I made it the backbone of our summer training manual.

Last up is another article from Bruce Kelly called a Weekend at the RKC Certification. This is Bruce’s firsthand description of his weekend course and as usual with Bruce’s stuff, this is well thought out. Best of all I thoroughly agree with Bruce.

Video of the Week

Is a Kettlebell Pressout courtesy of Dan John’s excellent DVD Warmup Workouts and Barbell Complexes. Dan calls this a Heartbeat Press but, either way it’s a great core exercise. I love the combination of difficulty and simplicity. The entire DVD is great.

PS- Don’t forget to check out the StrengthCoach Podcast  at  Last but not least, make sure you keep up with Anthony latest webinar is Alwyn Cosgrove on “The Truth About Fat Loss Programming.”

Alwyn will covers the science of fat loss from a nutrition, resistance training and cardio training standpoint.

Site Notes

Just a reminder, the articles and videos go up over the course of the week. Generally one each day.

Also, your credit card statement will show a change from, not Hope you enjoy the week.

Training Is Like Farming

Posted in Fat Loss, Nutrition, Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized on December 23, 2009 by mboyle1959

I’ve had great responses printing some of my older articles from her so, I’ll continue with:

Training Is Like Farming

I think I remember Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People making reference to what I believe he called “the law of the farm.” The reference was meant to show that most of the truly good things in life take time and can’t be forced or rushed. Covey described the process of farming and alluded to how it requires patience and diligence to grow crops properly. In addition, farming requires belief in the system. The farmer must believe that all the hard work and preparation will eventually yield a long-term result.

As a strength and conditioning coach, business owner and personal trainer, the concept has always stuck with me. The process of exercising is much like farming or like planting a lawn. There are no immediate results from exercise and there are no immediate results from farming.

First, the seeds must be planted. Then fertilizer (nutrition) and water must be applied consistently. Much like fertilizer in farming, too much food can be a detriment to the exerciser. Only the correct amounts cause proper growth. Overfeeding can cause problems, as can underfeeding. As I sit and wait for my lawn to sprout or crops to grow, I feel many of the same frustrations of the new exerciser. When will I see results? How come nothing is happening? All this work and — nothing.

The key is to not quit. Have faith in the process. Continue to add water and wait. Farming and exercising are eerily similar. Continue to exercise and eat well and suddenly a friend or co-worker will say, “Have you lost weight”? Your reaction might be, “It’s about time someone noticed.” Much like the first blades of grass poking through the ground, you begin to see success. You begin to experience positive feedback. Clothes begin to fit differently.

When my friends or clients talk to me about their frustration with their initial lack of progress in an exercise program, I always bring up the farm analogy. We live in a world obsessed with quick fixes and instant results. This is why the farm analogy can be both informative and comforting.

An exercise program must be approached over a period of weeks and months, not days. The reality is that there is no quick fix, no easy way, no magic weight loss plan, no secret cellulite formula. There is only the law of the farm. You will reap what you sow. In reality, you will reap what you sow and care for. If you are consistent and diligent with both diet and exercise, you will eventually see results. However, remember, much like fertilizer and water, diet and exercise go together. Try to grow crops or a lawn without water. No amount of effort will overcome the lack of vital nutrients.

The law of the farm.

Plant the seeds.

Feed and water properly.

Wait for results; they will happen, not in days, but in weeks and months.

Fast Food?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 20, 2009 by mboyle1959

Josh Trent, one of my Facebook friends. Sent me this video. It’s a little off the wall and I have to admit I found it entertaining. Take a look. You need to click the top right pane that says “Say No To ..

Wat to go Josh.

Dan John Reviews Advances in Functional Training

Posted in Uncategorized on December 18, 2009 by mboyle1959

I’m not good at asking people to buy my products. I don’t do a lot of promotion ( although many think I do). That’s why it’s so good when someone else writes a review I can post. If you are interested you can order at or at .

Below is Dan John’s review of Advances in Functional Training:

There is a line in Mike Boyle’s new book, Advances in Functional Training, that just made me laugh out loud: “On the other hand, some of our hardest working athletes look like they hardly train. As long as their performances reflects the time and effort they’ve put in, I’m happy.” The whole book is filled with these kinds of simple lines that anyone who has been in sport for the past few decades wants to applaud. The best athletes in the world don’t look like guys on the covers of magazines. The best athletes train to win, not to look the part.

Boyle’s book is a page by page illumination. Do I agree with everything written? That’s the million dollar question. I have found that I don’t “read” AFT, rather, I reread it. He doesn’t do Kettlebell snatches because of the learning curve to teach the right catch. That leads to bruising, so Boyle doesn’t do them. Madness! Then, I reread his reasoning, sadly shrugged my shoulders and admitted that he is right for his needs and clients. And on we go through the book as his REAL world experience drips off the pages. Agree or disagree with his conclusions, but at least take the time to think and reason along side of him!

Here is the problem that this new book is addressing: most of the people writing books about aiding performance are full of crap. For whatever reason, we have a generation of internet experts (like me, by the way) who use secret formulas, mysterious programs, Voodoo hexes and a variety of untried ideas to push training. Boyle’s book comes from the other side:Michael has a gym, he trains people, he fixes issues and then he lets us know what works. For whatever reason, this kind of honesty bothers people!

Boyle’s advice is honed from the gym and from discussions with the top names in the field. He demands “Olympic style” Front Squats for the same reasons I do and he also has no issues with insisting that leg presses are garbage. He has interesting insights on the importance of the O lifts, but he also recommends some variations (like the Clean Grip Snatch) that work better for athletes than the standard work. I applaud the thinking throughout the book. He discusses HIT with an open mind as well as the ups and downs of hypertrophy work.

After your first reading, you will find, like I did, that you will have picked up a lot of ideas, but the structure of the book isn’t like one of Pavel’s where you come away with “Do THIS!” Instead, you will have something more like an encyclopedia of fitness and training. It’s odd for me to read this book and make myself realize that I may have been wrong on many of my long held beliefs. I hate Trap Bars because of, well, I just don’t like anything that isn’t Old School. Boyle’s book convinced me to buy some for our facility. Since we are not a powerlifting gym, why not be smarter? Sadly, my brother, Gary, has been telling me this for years: get Trap Bars!

The insights on single leg training alone might be worth the cost, which is not very much. It is a 35 buck book that has 315 pages of information. I just spent $50 for a 19 page e-book for reference and got little out of it. Should you do all the hip movements described in the book and the dozens of bridges, planks and single leg moves? Well, yes. Will you? I also marveled at the simple templates at the back of the book where you can xerox theses and design your own programs. It might take weeks to lock down all the movements for a typical workout, but why not start today?

I can’t recommend the book highly enough. It made me think. I would pick it up at random times during the day and double check something that just kept bugging me. Any book that makes you think this much deserves further discussion. Seriously, along side Kono’s book, Pavel’s PTTP and ETK (and Return of thee Kettlebell now that I think about it), and a few others, this book had me shuffling pages back and forth, standing up and trying things, and plopping the book on the table and going into my gym to try things.

Note: I got an odd negative email after I noted that I was reading and enjoying the book. The writer also noted that I must believe that Boyle’s farts smell like roses, too. I have no idea what caused that response, but, for the record, I have never met Michael Boyle, nor smelled his farts. Thank you.

To order go to or to . By the way, you can also get Dan’s products at The new DVD series is excellent.

Painful Exercise?

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, Random Thoughts, Training on December 17, 2009 by mboyle1959

I got a bunch of interesting responses to my Does It Hurt post. One reader said:

“What about situations where ‘no pain’ may not be indicative of ‘no problem’ or more precisely ‘a problem is brewing’?”

I think this is why I wrote articles like Should Women Run? and why I always recommend interval training on a bike. The truth is that Does It Hurt is really simple advice but, not all inclusive.

More interesting are the questions and responses that followed. Numerous PT’s who seem to specialize in pain management stated that painful exercise was OK. I strongly disagree in almost all cases. One PT actually went so far as to describe manual therapy as placebo. I have to tell you the dialogue is interesting. Make sure you go back and read not only the post but the responses.

Below is an excerpt from an article I wrote for called My Ah-Ha Moments. Lots of this info is contained in my new book Advances in Functional Training.

Ah-Ha#2-. Soft tissue work, whether for chronic muscle strains or for tendon issues, is like weight training. Treatment is actually a stimulus. In effect what the therapist is doing is irritating the tissue to produce a chemical response. The chemicals produced are what begin the healing process. This why soft tissue work is often painful and can leave you feeling similar to a workout the next day.

Ah-Ha#2B- Soft tissue work goes by many names. The names don’t matter, the treatment does. Physical therapists use the term soft tissue mobilization. Chiropractors usually use ART or Active Release Technique. Massage therapists just called it deep tissue work. Just remember, the magic is in the hands, not the names.

Ah-Ha#5 It May Be Ok to Do Painful Exercise

I have always said “if hurts don’t do it” and “does it hurt” is a yes/no question. I still believe this in almost every case. However, my studies with Dan Dyrek have again shown me the error of my ways. In rehabilitating or reconditioning ( boy do the PT’s get bent if they think I’m doing rehab) a client or an athlete with a tendonitis/ tedinosis condition  it may be necessary to endure some tendon pain to produce the proper remodeling effect. Just remember this is the isolated exception to the rule. The painful stress to the tendon acts much like soft tissue work to initiate a healing response.

The key is the type of pain. Acceptable pain is localized to the target tissue, and the tissue is painful to touch. There should be no swelling and no motion restrictions. The pain should follow a DOMS like pattern and be gone in 2-3 days.

My point is that Does It Hurt? in my mind applies in almost every situation, the exception being the two above. I have trouble believing that having a client or a patient do an exercise that causes them discomfort is benefitting them.

Does It Hurt?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2009 by mboyle1959

This is another of my previously published pieces reprinted for your reading pleasure:

I get asked rehab questions all the time. I have rehabilitated athletes in almost every major sport who were told they were “all done” by a doctor or a team trainer. Because people know my background, they often ask for advice.

Most of the time they ignore the advice because the advice does not contain the answer they want. They say “it only hurts when I run”, I say things like “don’t run”.

A famous coach I know once told me “people don’t call for advice, they call for agreement or consensus. If you don’t tell them what they want to hear, they simply call someone else”. His advice to me, don’t bother wasting your time with advice.

Here I go again wasting time.

If you have an injury and are wondering whether or not a certain exercise is appropriate, ask yourself a simple question. “Does it hurt”? The key here is that the question ‘does it hurt?” can only be answered yes or no. If you answer yes, then you are not ready for that exercise, no matter how much you like it. Simple, right? Not really. I tell everyone I speak with about rehab that any equivocation is a yes. Things like “after I warm-up it goes away” etc. are all yes answers. It is amazing to me how many times I have asked people this simple question only to have them dance around it. The reason they dance around the question is that they don’t like my answer. They want to know things like “what about the magic cure that no one has told me about?”. What about a secret exercise? I have another saying I like, “the secret is there is no secret”. Another wise man, Ben Franklin I think, said “Common sense is not so common”.

If you are injured and want to get better, use your common sense. Exercise should not cause pain. This seems simple but exercisers ignore pain all the time and rationalize it. Discomfort is common at the end of a set in a strength exercise or at the end of an intense cardiovascular workout. Additional discomfort, delayed onset muscle soreness, often occurs the two days following an intense session.  This is normal. This discomfort should only last two days and should be limited to the muscles not the joints or tendons. Pain at the onset of an exercise is neither normal nor healthy and is indicative of a problem. Progression in any strength exercise should be based on a full, pain-free range of motion that produces muscle soreness without joint soreness. If you need to change or reduce range of motion, this is a problem. Progression in cardiovascular exercise should also be pain free and should follow the ten percent rule. Do not increase time or distance more than ten percent from one session to the next. I have used these simple rules in all of my strength and conditioning programs and, have been able to keep literally thousands of athletes healthy. I’m sure the same concepts will help you.