Archive for July, 2012

Get Ready for More Post-Olympic Foolishness

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, MBSC News, Media, Random Thoughts on July 30, 2012 by mboyle1959

Swimmers flipping tires, sprinters on the leg press? I think the Olympics may set training back ten years. Sadly the media loves “catchy clips”. I saw a swimmer tonight toss a keg ( seriously, I saw it), flip tires, and do ropes. Not sure I would do any of that with any of my athletes, much less an Olympian but who knows. Later I got an email from a friend who saw a clip of Usain Bolt on a leg press. Another exercise I had hoped was dead and buried. Oh well, get ready for clients to come in tomorrow wit the “why don’t we do ____”. I for one will be glad when these games are over.

Lifting Light Weights?

Posted in Media, Random Thoughts, Training with tags on July 24, 2012 by mboyle1959


This was originally published February 27th, 2008

No one has ever gotten better lifting light weights. Light weight is an oxymoron. A weight should be appropriate to the goal but, rarely, if ever, intentionally light. The load should be based on the strength level of the person. The reality is if you are lifting a weight ten times, numbers nine and ten should be difficult. If you can lift a weight 20 times but choose to do only ten, you are wasting your time. Period.

The essence of effective strength training is a concept called progressive resistance exercise. This means that that even if the resistance may be light to begin with, it should not stay that way.

I go crazy when someone tells me about the routine they’ve been doing with their eight-lb hand weights. (P.S. Call them dumbbells. Calling them hand weights is a dead giveaway that you are clueless.) My first question is this. How long have you been doing this? Often, people respond with something like, “I’ve done this three times a week for three months.” The doctrine of progressive resistance says that the first two weeks were beneficial and that 10 weeks were wasted. It’s no wonder people stop working out.

Once you have passed the first three weeks of training, you should lift a weight that is heavy but allows perfect form. Be wary, however, of another all-too-common mistake. When we say the load should be heavy, people begin to cheat. We are not encouraging cheating. Strive for perfect technique in all exercises AND progressively increase the resistance. SportBlocks, from PowerBlock, are perfect for this as are the Bowflex Dumbbells. SportBlocks are a small version of the popular PowerBlock dumbbells that increase in three-pound increments. If you don’t want to buy SportBlocks, get a good selection of dumbbells. Beginners will need 2.5-, 5-, 7.5-,10- and 12-lb dumbbells in order to progress.

Point 4 – Work on basic strength in basic exercises. If your trainer has you practicing your golf swing with a dumbbell in your hands, get a new trainer. Do not wave dumbbells around and call it strength training. Learn to bodyweight squat, learn to do a push-up. Good basic training should strongly remind you of the calisthenics you used to do in high school.

Here’s the truth. The secret is, there is no secret. If you want to hit a golf ball further, you need to get stronger. You will not get strong lifting a five-pound dumbbell. Next time we’ll talk about two more pet peeves. Stretching. And worrying about getting too big.

Mike Boyle’s Fat Loss Secrets DVD is available at

The Man in the Arena

Posted in MBSC News, Random Thoughts, Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training on July 21, 2012 by mboyle1959

This is another repost from 2008 that is applicable today as it was four years ago.

An Ode to My Critics

It is amazing that coaches who have accomplished so little can find the time to criticize those of us who work for a living. I guess the beauty of being painfully unemployed is that there is plenty of time to keep up with the writings and workings of your enemies. Strangely enough the latest criticisms revolve around my own desire to improve my program. The beauty of this is that I admit a mistake and that opens the door for criticism. The criticism is that I have no system, no principles because of my frequent changes. The intellectual critic punishes the coach for learning. It’s a funny world. The real beauty is that the critic has no audience, a tree falling in the woods and no one hearing.  However, the greater beauty is that the criticism reminds me of the great quote below and continues to strengthen my resolve to improve my program and my athletes.

The Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

 Theodore Roosevelt

This wonderful quote from Theodore Roosevelt goes out to all the internet experts who never write articles but, consistently post criticism of what others have written. They are never “The Man in the Arena”, instead they are the fan in the stands shouting at those who play.

Great minds like Columbus and Galileo were ridiculed by small minds. Sports has the term Monday Morning Quarterback. Strength and conditioning has internet experts.

It is amazing how many experts there are who know all the answers after all the questions have been answered by someone else. You know what I want to know? Have they ever even heard Paul Hodges or Stuart McGill speak in person? Have they ever conversed with these people?

Paul Hodges has done one person deep needle EMG studies on himself because he could not find subjects. Stuart McGill travels around the world and has spent thousands of hours researching the spine.

The average internet critic has spent hours trying to find the hole in the argument, to celebrate briefly the “I gotcha” moment,  alone in a room. The highest compliment one can achieve is to be the subject of mindless criticism. It indicates that you have truly made it.



Nutrition Ah-Ha’s

Posted in Fat Loss, Nutrition, Random Thoughts on July 20, 2012 by mboyle1959

This is another 2008 re-post

The more I learn about nutrition, the more I realize I don’t know.  In a recent article I wrote called My Ah-Ha Moments I mentioned that corn is not a vegetable. I felt really stupid when I realized this. I have eaten corn my entire life and just assumed it was a vegetable. Now I know it is in fact a grain. Not only a grain but, the number one calorie source in the American diet. I picked up  a cereal box the other day and looked at the ingredients. Corn, sugar, high fructose corn syrup. Wow.

The makers of high fructose corn syrup ( the singular greatest source of calories in the American diet) have actually started an ad campaign based on the idea of “a little can’t hurt you”. Where have we heard that before. Someone wrote the other day that any time a company advertises that something is good for you there is a problem. Food for thought ( pun intended). Next time you pick something up check and see if it contains high fructose corn syrup.

Want good nutrition info, read The South Beach Diet. It’s an amazingly accurate book for such a cheesy name. Bottom line, Barry Sears has been right all along so while you are at it, read The Zone.

Summer Training for Nine Year Olds- Repost

Posted in Random Thoughts, Training, Youth Training on July 16, 2012 by mboyle1959

I originally posted this last spring but wanted to re-post it as we move into the summer. With the new Facebook and Twitter feeds I think it will get a lot more views.

Q- I need to put together a summer plan for my 9 yr old hockey team. Obviously I don’t want to look like a crazy person, but it would be something that I think could be good for my own kids as well. Is it too young?

My first reaction was to say “are you crazy”? Instead, slightly  tongue-in-cheek I developed the plan below.

Step 1- play another sport. Lacrosse is highly recommended as it has similar skills to hockey although baseball is fine. This does not mean another sport in addition to hockey. Summer is the off season.

Step 2- Cancel all hockey camp registrations except 1 week. Pick your favorite that has the largest number of your friends attending and go to that one. Ideally look for a camp that only has you on the ice once a day. No need to get blisters. You won’t get better in a week anyway.

Step 3- Cancel any summer hockey leagues you are scheduled for. The best players in the world never play summer hockey and, they never have. The only conceivable exception would be a weekly skill session lasting one hour. Another exception would be “play”. If ice is available and the kids can play, let them. Please remember play means NO COACHES or COACHING.

Step 4- Reread steps 1-3. Acknowledge that the key problem in youth sports is applying adult values to children’s activities.

Step 5- Go to the nearest bike shop. Get nice bikes for everyone in the family

Step 6- Ride the bikes, not in a race. For fun. Maybe put a few hockey cards in the spokes to make noise.

Step 7- Head to Walmart and buy fishing rods.

Step 8- Take the fishing rods to the nearest lake and fish.

Now That is an off-season plan for any nine year old.

Step 9- repeat steps 5-8 while continually rereading steps 1-3

MBSC Internship Week 2

Posted in Guest Authors, MBSC News, Random Thoughts on July 14, 2012 by mboyle1959

MBSC intern  Anthony Iannarino has written a couple of great posts about the internship process at MBSC. Just wanted to share part 2.


Another Reason I’m Not A Crossfit Fan

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2012 by mboyle1959

I have often said that one of my major issues with Crossfit is the phony macho, tough guy attitude. Unfortunately, some Crossfitters continue to reinforce my opinion. Take a moment and read this. I’m sure Reebok is thrilled with the publicity.