Archive for February, 2014

Understanding Sports Hernias

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2014 by mboyle1959

I wrote an article a few years ago called  “Understanding Sports Hernias.”

An area that has become of increasing interest to me, and to many others in the fields of performance enhancement and physical therapy, is the area of sports hernia. It seems like every week another athlete is having surgery for a ‘sports hernia”. In order to begin to understand the concept of sports hernia, the first thing we need to do is attempt to describe a sports hernia. In the technical sense, the sports hernia is a tear in the lower abdominal wall in the inguinal area. Unlike a classic inguinal hernia there is rarely a significant tear that results in a bulge. Rather there is a gradual onset of pain in the lower abdominal area, usually beginning as groin pain.”

I also recorded a lecture I did on the same topic  . If you are interested the full article is on my site. You need to be a member to access it.

Understanding Sports Hernia May Mean Understanding Adduction 

Bottom line is that nothing is as simple as it appears. The adductors don’t adduct, some flex and adduct and some extend and adduct but adduction is really a concept out of an anatomy book, not the real world.




Should Baseball Players do Crossfit

Posted in Uncategorized on February 27, 2014 by mboyle1959

Nice piece from Tony Gentilcore

Should Baseball Players do Crossfit?

this might also interest you

Why Crossfit May Not Be Good for You

Training for the 40 – Repost

Posted in Random Thoughts, Strength Coach Podcast, Updates, Training with tags , on February 26, 2014 by mboyle1959

The following is excerpted from a piece I wrote previously and is used with the permission of

Training for the forty yard dash is an interesting process and has become a near obsession in football. The reality is that most athletes are looking to reduce the forty-yard dash time by as little as .1 to .2 seconds. In order to accomplish a one to two tenths of a second reduction I have always advocated training for the first ten yard segment of the forty yard, as this is the area of greatest potential change.

In fact when training athletes for the NFL Combine I have never had an athlete run longer than a twenty-yard dash. Our athletes routinely have gone to the NFL Combine without ever having run a forty-yard dash. To some this may seem foolish but I prefer to view the process as both intelligent and cautious. Athletes rarely injure themselves running a ten-yard dash but often seem to incur muscle strains from repeat forty-yard dash attempts.

In fact, in a race that takes from 4.3 seconds to 5.3 seconds to complete at the elite level, the first ten-yard segment takes the longest time and by default is the easiest to impact. Ten-yard dash times range from 1.5 seconds to 2 seconds.

Each proceeding ten yard segment taking roughly 1 to 1.1 seconds to complete. By simply improving performance in the ten-yard dash, we can easily take off the elusive .1 seconds that so many athletes are looking for. In fact for most elite athletes the forty-yard dash is actually a test of acceleration and not one of speed. I believe we mistakenly use the term speed when in fact we are referring to acceleration. When we say an athlete has great speed we actually mean that he or she has great acceleration. In the famous Ben Johnson versus Carl Lewis races top speed was not reached until the 60-meter mark. This means that the athletes continued to accelerate for a full 60 meters. An athlete that runs a 1.5 second ten yard dash may be capable of a 4.3 second forty yard dash. However, the athlete may run a 1.5 second first ten segment and 2.6 second twenty. This means that the acceleration pattern is as follows:

0-10 1.5 sec

10-20 1.1 sec

When looking at the chart above it becomes glaringly obvious that the initial segment takes 1.5 times the length of the other three. As a result it is obviously the segment most apt to be altered.

Think about this. The forty-yard dash should be run in approximately seventeen steps. Simple. An athlete with a normal stride length will measure out at about 7.5 feet. This means that a reasonably good sprinter will cover 15 feet, or five yards, every two steps. I believe the big key to the forty yard dash is to get the athlete to develop stride length in the first ten yard segment by pushing, not overreaching. Why seventeen? The first five-yard segment should take three steps; the remaining seven segments would take two steps each for a total of seventeen steps. Is seventeen the magic number? No. The key is to teach athletes to push, not reach and to minimize stutter steps. We try to get our athletes to master three steps for five yards and five steps for ten yards and, to do it without a reaching action. We continue to emphasize that stride length is a function of back-side action-reaction and not front side reach. We teach lots of push with no emphasis on stride length from the front side mechanics. In fact we never do B-skip type drills, as I believe they teach improper mechanics and are not appropriate for forty-yard sprinters.

Here are the keys to the first ten yards.

– Is the athlete moving quickly or does he look like he is moving quickly? What does this mean? Many athletes come out of the start with great turnover and go nowhere. They remind me of the Roadrunner from the cartoons. Wheels spinning and going nowhere fast. Often these guys look fast and run slow. Generally these guys are fast twitch athletes who do not like the weight room. The great accelerators often look slow coming out because they are producing great force and minimized steps. Running is all about Newton’s First Law. Action-Reaction. Force placed into the ground produces motion forward, very simple. The start is clearly not about turnover or frequency but about force into the ground. This is the reason there is such a strong correlation between vertical jump and forty-yard dash times. Vertical jump is simply a measure of Newton’s First law. When an athlete applies force into the ground, the ground applies force back in an equal and opposite manner. More force, more vertical displacement.

– Have you timed your athletes for a 10 and 20-yard dash? As I said in the previous paragraph I’ve seen slow guys with lots of turnover and very little movement? Try being objective versus subjective. Time your athletes not just in the forty, but also in the ten and twenty. 1.5 sec hand held is fast. 1.8 is average for a ten (adult male).

– Next, video the ten yard dash and the twenty yard dash. See how many steps it takes an athlete to run ten and twenty yards. Don’t tell the athlete to cut down steps, simply tell him to push the ground as hard as possible. Simply telling an athlete that you are counting steps will cause over striding. You want to see how many steps it takes. This will tell you if you have an athlete who is moving his feet but not applying any force. A good sprinter will run the 10 in 5-6 steps and the 20 in 9-10 steps.

– Also look at the video and see the first step. Does the athlete gain ground? A good indicator of a powerful start is that the foot taking the second step does not touch the ground while the front foot is still on the line. In other words, after step one you should not see two feet in contact with the ground. You will be amazed at how many guys simply step out of the start instead of pushing out of the start. Just as we confuse speed and acceleration, we often confuse first step and first push. A quick first step does nothing. It is the push that creates the action-reaction, not the step. What you want is great push, not a great step. This also relates to stride length. Stride length is accomplished by great forces placed into the ground, not by things like knee lift.

– Another great indicator that the athlete is beginning to understand powerful starts is when the athlete appears to be falling forward out of the start, almost out of control. I tell my athletes to drive themselves out of the start so aggressively that they almost fall flat on their face. I cheer if they look like they are going to fall. That shows me great aggressive push.

– Time each test three times. Either average all three or take the middle, throwing out the high and low. You don’t want to record a mistake. Electronic timers don’t make mistakes unless there is a malfunction. Throw out scores that are obviously wrong.

Start Tips
– Weight is on the front hand and foot. This is not track. There is no block. The back foot can be minimally helpful.

– Hips are low, don’t raise the butt. You can’t push out from straight legs.

– Never take instructions from a track coach on forty technique. They are used to blocks, you don’t have them.

– Eyes are between the hand and foot. Don’t look up. The head should be in a normal anatomical position

– Weight should be so far forward that if you don’t run, you would fall.

Start Drills
1. Dive Starts- have the athlete dive into a crash pad from the start position. This is a great drill for teaching first-push power

2. Timed 10’s- I love timed tens. I try to watch the start and count the steps. We use a Speed Trap timer and don’t watch the clock. We will time every week, sometimes twice a week. A few rules.

• Tell the athletes only three attempts per day. This leaves time for the athlete to ask for “one more” at least twice. I really want to time five reps but, always tell them three.

• Try to get the athletes to forget about the timer and concentrate on the technical things you want done. Big push out of the start, great hip extension etc.

• Please note: – the use of a timer is an excellent way to reduce anxiety about being timed. My athletes are very comfortable about being timed by the time the Combine or Pro Day comes around. It also should be noted that many athletes will choke and revert to old patterns as soon as a timing device is presented. Timing early and often allows the athlete to see the changes in pattern like stepping out of the start or stuttering. The timer also generally reinforces that these behaviors are slower, not faster. Frequent use of the timer does what the book The One Minute Manager calls “catching someone doing something right”. We focus on execution, not time. Great execution will lead to better times, which will ingrain proper habits.

3. 3 for 5, 5 for ten (this is a tough drill as you will constantly have to emphasize that stride length comes from push, not reach, be careful with this drill) I view this as an advanced drill and one that must be monitored constantly. Success is not accomplished by number of steps or strides but quality of strides.

4. One Leg Starts- this is another great drill to teach the athlete how to use the front foot in the start. Simply ask the athlete to run a series of timed tens using only the front foot. This will teach the athlete how to focus on exploding of the front leg. Often our athletes will move from abysmal at this drill to being able to run as fast as from a three point start.

Just a reminder, these drills will improve what you already have. They are teaching drills. The real key to speed lies in increasing force production. To really improve speed these drills and cues must be combined with a lower body strength and power program that emphasizes maximal strength. Don’t underestimate the value of force production in the forty.

Another reminder, if you really want to understand speed, pick up a copy of Charlie Francis Training for Speed. Charlie Francis hits on basic concepts in a way no one has before or after. In spite of any perceived scandal Francis is still the best sprint coach of all time.

Don’t Be That Parent

Posted in Hockey, Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , on February 25, 2014 by mboyle1959

I think we’ve all been there. We’ve all yelled at a ref or “car coached”. I can tell you that my daughter once told her friends that it was important to play well if the ride home was long. I guess I’ve “car coached” too much already.

This is a good reminder from the folks at USA Hockey

Don’t Be That Parent

Another Case for Organic Meats?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2014 by mboyle1959

More from our good friend Dr. Mercola. I love how much criticism a guy for trying to do good things for the public.

What the FDA Knew ( and Hid) About Anti-biotics in Animal Feed

ACL Injury Prevention is Just Good Training

Posted in Injuries, Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , on February 20, 2014 by mboyle1959

I wrote this a few years ago for You can also purchase the one hour lecture DVD.

Is ACL injury prevention just good training? I think so. The program we use for ACL injury prevention is actually the same program we use with everyone! The truth is ACL injury prevention programs often consist more of packaging than new concepts. Calling a program an ACL prevention program may be nothing more than a way into the head of the athletic trainer, physical therapist or coach. But, if that’s what it takes, I’m all for it. However, as coaches we have to realize that we should be practicing great injury prevention concepts with all our athletes and our weekend warriors.

Because female athletes are much more likely to be injured, those who coach female athletes tend to be more interested in the concept of ACL injury prevention. However, obviously both genders can be injured. In fact, estimates run to over 100,000 ACL tears per year, with 30,000 of them high school age females. In any case, coaches should still practice these injury reduction concepts with both male and female athletes. Then again, ACL injury prevention may be the thought that gets your women’s basketball coach to buy into the program.

to read the entire article, click here

Don’t Believe the Anti-Supplement Hype.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2014 by mboyle1959

There has been lots written lately about not taking vitamin supplements. I have to admit this makes me laugh. ”

Don’t take anything that might make you healthier, take drugs instead?”

Read the anti-supplement articles with a grain a salt. Here’s a pro supplement one for you.

Worse than DDT?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2014 by mboyle1959

I know some of my readers think Dr. Mercola is nuts but, he really makes me think. This whole GMO deal is really scary. Remember when no one had peanut allergies? Asthma and autism were rare? Doesn’t it have to be environmental?

Glyphosate May Be Worse Than DDT?

The Assault Air Bike- Update 1

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2014 by mboyle1959

I love the Assault Air Bike. As I mentioned a few days ago it’s a juiced up Schwinn Airdyne that won’t break.

I really love the 20/10 ( Tabata) and 10/20 built in’s. It is so easy to get a good quick interval workout in.

I’ve done 3 workouts of 20/10 followed by 10/20, a bunch or three mile rides, and one 5 mi ride. The bike is about forty percent harder than the Airdyne. This means that a 3 mi Assault Air  is roughly equal to a 5 mi Airdyne based on time and effort. I provided an AirDyne time in the chart for comparison in the last column.

Workout   Distance Covered   Work RPM     Time        AirDyne Time

20/10          .8, .9 and 1 mi.       70 RPM

10/20           .7.8.9                    75 RPM

3 mi                                          62 RPM                11:28           6:55

5  mi                                         58-60 RPM          19:56           11:52

Mike Boyle’s New Book

Posted in Hockey, Injuries, Low Back Pain, MBSC News, Strength Coach Podcast, Updates, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , on February 7, 2014 by mboyle1959

Just wanted to let every know that I’ve put together a new book of all my articles since the publishing of Advances in Functional Training. Fifty eight pages of my latest thoughts.

If you are a member all of the articles in the book are available on the site so save your money.

Just FYI, the book is divided in two sections:

Coaching Theory – including articles like Learning to Speak Coach and Other Peoples Athletes

Olympic Lifting and Training – including articles like Why the Rock and Improving Foot Speed and Agility

To purchase the book you can click the link below.

Functional Coaching Reader