Archive for October, 2011

Is Strength and Muscle Loss Reversible in Older Adults

Posted in Guest Authors, Training, Training Females with tags , , on October 28, 2011 by mboyle1959

The following is a guest blog from physical therapist Michael Stare of Spectrum Fitness Consulting in Beverly, Ma. I don’t run a lot of guest blogs but, wanted to share this.

“In conversations with hundreds of people on the topic of aging, it seems that the consensus amongst those not in the fitness industry is that people inherently become weak as they age. Some recent research calls into question whether this is true.

It is true that people will tend to lose approximately 5-10% of their muscle mass every decade after the age of 40, and that rate significantly increases after 65 years old.

Countless studies have proven that much of this muscle and strength loss can be prevented with resistance training. This is true of all types of older adults, whether they are master athletes or previously sedentary.

So How Much Strength Can Older Adults Regain?

The issue has been solved about preventing muscle loss. But until recently, no one has looked at how much can be regained relative to younger adults. Essentially, can older adults who undergo supervised training regain strength and muscle mass that compares to younger men? Let’s look at some recent research on the topic:

Candow, et al JSCR, 25 (2) 2011

The researchers trained a group of older men 60-71yrs old with a supervised heavy resistance training program 3 times a week for 22 weeks. At the end of the study they measured muscle size and strength. Not surprisingly, they all gained muscle and strength. What was surprising was how much.

They compared the average strength levels and muscle size achieved by the older adults to the average strength and muscle size of a group of younger men 18-31 years old who were all physically active but not involved in resistance training. The results showed that there was not a significant difference in the muscle size or strength in the older men after supervised training compared to the younger men!

This means that older men can expect to attain the same amount of strength and muscle with a supervised training program as younger, physically active men!

Is it really that important to be stronger?

Research has shown a very strong correlation between strength and death from all causes: essentially, stronger older men have a lower risk of dying from all causes (Ruiz, et al.  BMJ July 2008;337:a439).

Strength is a the most important factor in fall prevention, and is also related to the performance of activities of daily living, balance, and walking  ( American Geriatrics Society; British Geriatrics Society and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Panel on Falls Prevention. Journal of the American geriatrics society, Vol. 49, 2001, pp. 664-72. Speechley, M. Canadian journal on aging, 2005.)

So the evidence is clear: being strong is important, more so for older adults.

Why Strength Training Is MORE important for Older Adults

In addition to the above evidence, increasing strength is significantly more important for older adults (anyone older than 60 and yes, that includes you Mom, Dad, Mary if you are reading ;). Simply put, strength is like money. The less you have, the more important it is. If a fit 35 year old  loses 50% of their strength, while they will struggle with high level strength, they can still perform all of their daily functions with little issue. If a 75 year old loses 20% of their strength, that might be the difference between living independently and needing assisted living.

Can you do it?

Getting stronger is certainly something you can do.  No matter your injuries, pain, age, weight, diseases, or time constraints – you can respond very well to strength training. The research is clear on this, and I’ve seen it with my own eyes. There are some inspiring videos of Spectrum clients that you should check out on the blog here “


Kevin Neeld’s Ultimate Hockey Training

Posted in Hockey, Injuries, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , , on October 27, 2011 by mboyle1959

Just wanted to let everyone know that Kevin’s new book is out. You can get it here

Mike Boyle and Gray Cook on Crossfit

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, Random Thoughts, Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training on October 26, 2011 by mboyle1959

This is an old StrengthCoach Podcast interview that Gray and I did sharing our opinions about Crossfit. Three years ago when it was recorded it generated quite a controversy. The great responses to the last two posts, Confessions of a Crossfit Coach, makes me think there might be some interest in this. Do me a favor. Please don’t waste time telling me how much you hate me if you are a die hard Crossfitter. You can go add to the really long thread on the Crossfit site written by all the other people who hate me.

StrengthCoach Podcast Episode 19.5- Gray Cook and Michael Boyle discuss Crossfit




More Vitamin D support

Posted in Guest Authors, Nutrition with tags , on October 24, 2011 by mboyle1959

From the e newsletter

“Based on this research, it now appears as though most adults need about 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D a day in order to get their serum levels above 40 ng/ml.  Not only is this significantly higher than previously recommended, but this also means that even if you donot regularly monitor your vitamin D levels, your risk of overdosing is going to be fairly slim, even if you take as much as 8,000 IU’s a day. This is the type of vital information that is so sorely needed, and GrassrootsHealth is really serving an unprecedented service to all of mankind for facilitating this much needed research.”

to read the whole article

Confessions of a Crossfit Coach Part 2

Posted in Guest Authors, Injuries, Low Back Pain, Media, Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized on October 22, 2011 by mboyle1959

Wow, part 1 was my most viewed post of the year so for your reading pleasure I bring you Part 2 of  Confessions of a Crossfit Coach. By the way, do we know who the author is? I can’t find his name on the blog.

Confessions of a Crossfit Coach

Posted in Guest Authors, Injuries, Low Back Pain, Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females, Youth Training on October 21, 2011 by mboyle1959

Just stumbled on this on Facebook. Pretty honest assessment by a Crossfit coach. I’m sure I’ll catch some heat from “the community” for posting it but remember when you write the insults in the comment section that I did not write this.

Dealing With Hamstring Injury

Posted in Injuries, Updates, Training, Uncategorized with tags , on October 19, 2011 by mboyle1959

I’ve been trying to post some articles that I’ve written for that may be of interest to readers outside the site. One of my readers in Ireland asked about dealing with hamstring injuries so I decided to post this from our Free Articles section

to read more about hamstring rehab, click here

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, Media, Random Thoughts, Updates, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized with tags , on October 18, 2011 by mboyle1959
Hope all is well.

Anthony Renna posted a new episode of The Strength Coach Podcast, a new episode of Strength Coach TV and some news about CEUs
Episode 90 of the Strength Coach Podcast is Up
New Episode of Strength Coach TV
New Webinars & CEUs at
Episode 90 Highlights
Click here to listen

  • Hit The Gym With a Strength Coach- Sam Leahey (Springfield) is on to talk about Coaching the Joint by Joint, Periodization, Springfield Men’s Lax and His Path to Springfield
  • Coaches Corner- I talk about In-Season Lifts, Strength as a Skill and Do We Really Need a Niche?
  • Results Fitness Business of Fitness- Rachel Cosgrove  on”Embracing Change”
  • Ask Functional Movement Systems- Mike Strock, talks about using using the FMS with the US Navy
  • The Art of Coaching with Athletes’ Performance- John Stemmerman talks about  “Coaching When There is a Language Barrier”
  • Ask the Equipment Experts with Perform Better-  Chris Poirertalks about the New Sale and The Meeting of the Minds.

Click here to listen

Strength Coach TV- Episode 13- Gabriele Fitness & Performance
In Episode 13 of Strength Coach TV, Anthony visits Vince Gabriele in Berkley Heights, NJ for a tour of Gabriele Fitness & Performance.  Vince created an incredible culture for his members and staff in his 6,000 sq. ft.   Check out Strength Coach TV
New Webinars and 6 More CEUs coming at
At, Anthony just posted some great webinars from me Alwyn Cosgrove,  and Art Horne.Also, he just got approval from the NSCA for CEUs for 6 more webinars, making it a total of 9 webinars with CEUs.  

There are over 100 webinars in the archives for you to watch at any time.


Thanks again for listening and watching.  If you have any questions, let me know.


Does It Hurt?

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, Random Thoughts, Updates, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , on October 16, 2011 by mboyle1959

This is one of my favorite articles. I posted it in the free section of so anyone can read it. I find myself referring to it every week. As Ben Franklin said, common sense is not very common.

Does It Hurt?

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. …..  to read the rest click here


Improving Foot Speed and Agility

Posted in Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , , on October 13, 2011 by mboyle1959

I wrote this a while back but just added it to our free articles section at so I could share it with a larger audience.

Developing Foot Speed and Agility

A couple of threads on the forum got me thinking about the question of foot speed and athletes. I can’t tell you how often I hear a parent or a coach ask, “How can I improve my son’s/daughter’s/ athlete’s foot speed or agility?” It seems everyone always wants the shortcut and the quick fix. The better question might be “Do you think you can improve foot speed?” or maybe even the larger question, “Does foot speed even matter?”

That begs the larger question, “Does foot speed have anything to do with agility?” I know coaches or parents reading this are asking, “Is this guy crazy?” How many times have we heard that speed kills? I think the problem is that coaches and parents equate fast feet with fast and quick feet with agile. However, fast feet don’t equal fast any more than quick feet equal agile. In some cases, fast feet might actually make an athlete slow–often I see fast feet as a detriment to speed. In fact, some of our quick turnover guys, those who would be described as having fast feet, are very slow off the start.

The problem is fast feet don’t use the ground well to produce force. Fast feet might be good on hot coals, but not on hard ground. Think of the ground as the well from which we draw speed. It is not how fast the feet move, but rather how much force goes into the ground. This is basic action-reaction physics. Force into the ground equals forward motion. This is why the athletes with the best vertical jumps are most often the fastest. It comes down to force production. Often coaches will argue the vertical vs. horizontal argument and say the vertical jump doesn’t correspond to horizontal speed, but years of data from the NFL Combine begs to differ. Force into the ground is force into the ground. In spite of what Brett Contreras may say, vectors don’t seem to matter here. The truth is parents should be asking about vertical jump improvement, not about fast feet. My standard line is “Michael Flatley has fast feet, but he doesn’t really go anywhere. If you move your feet fast and don’t go anywhere, does it matter? It’s the old “tree falling in the woods” thing.

The best solution to slow feet is to get stronger legs. Feet don’t matter. Legs matter. Think about it this way:

To finish reading click here.