Archive for April, 2015

Why We Don’t Squat?

Posted in Core training, Hockey, Injuries, Low Back Pain, MBSC News, Strength Coach Podcast, Updates, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , , on April 14, 2015 by mboyle1959

I’ve unfortunately become famous ( or infamous) on the internet for my views on lower body training. A friend asked me if I could briefly explain my thoughts so I wrote this up. The question of why we don’t squat has both simple and complex answers. The simple reason is that we found the back squat and front squat to be the primary causes of back pain in our athletic population. At any point, in any season, approximately 20% of our athletes would be dealing some kind of back pain that was either caused by squatting or exacerbated by squatting.

The problem was finding an alternative that would allow similar loads. The answer came in three steps.

Step one was actually a picture of one of Joe DeFrancos athletes doing really heavy rear foot elevated split squats ( I think it was with 120 lb dumbbells). That picture opened up my mind to the idea that we could use really heavy loads in unilateral exercises . My first thought was “wow, that would be 480 for reps with two legs”. As a result, I reevaluated and added heavy rear foot elevated split squats to our programs.

Step two was an article by sprint coach Barry Ross. In the article Ross talked about how deadlifts required the use of more muscle mass than squats and were in truth a better total body exercise. As I sat and pondered, I had to agree. Grip work and back work were certainly a feature of the deadlift absent from the squat? I disliked deadlifts because my memories of the deadlift were the ugly ones I did in 1980’s powerlifting meets. Again as a result we added Trap Bar Deadlifts to our program.

The last step was beginning to look into the concept of bilateral deficit. The bilateral deficit research ( actually not new) supported what we saw. What we saw in the split squat was that our athletes were using proportionally heavier loads than they had used in the squat. In fact after one year we saw that our athletes split squat and front squat were equal.

As we progressed in our always experimental programming we saw the change that we desired. We had more healthy athletes. As I have always said, healthy athletes are goal 1, better athletes come second. What we found is that deadlifting gave us a bilateral, more hip dominant choice that seemed to decrease back pain while rear foot elevated split squats actually gave us both higher loads and unilateral, sport specific loads.The only thing wrong was that we were rejecting the sacred cow of squatting.

My thoughts have always been controversial but, always rooted in what was best for the athlete. Unfortunately the detractors ( haters is the popular term now) don’t want to think. They simply want to do what they have always done.

This brings me to one of my favorite quotes from Lee Cockrell in his book Creating Magic:

“What if the way we had always done it was wrong?”

Food for thought and fodder for debate.

PS- We have added front squats back with our young athletes to teach the clean catch and we do some goblet squats with beginners but, you won’t see any athletes with big loads on their shoulders in our facilities unless they are required to do that for a college test.

Exercise Reduces Cancer Risk!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2015 by mboyle1959

Here’s another really good reason to exercise as is there weren’t enough. No wonder our adult programs are exploding?

Exercise and Important Component of Cancer Treatment and Dementia Prevention

Not Scared of GMO’s? Watch This

Posted in Guest Authors, Nutrition with tags , on April 10, 2015 by mboyle1959

Interesting video from the Organic Consumers Assoc.

Start With Why

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2015 by mboyle1959

I just finished Simon Sinek’s Start With Why


Although it took a few pages to grab me, once it did I was hooked. My next two presentations ( CSCCA Conference in Nashville on May 5th and Charles Stephenson’s Basketball Specific  on May 14th ) will really examine my why’s. Once you Start With Why the what and the how get easier.

The Real Meaning of the “Off” Season

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2015 by mboyle1959

I’ve been posting lots of info about how athletes need to play multiple sports. The evidence is overwhelming and keeps piling up. However, in typical Type A parent style many have misinterpreted the message. Playing multiple sports also means taking time off from the “main” sport. Don’t just add more time in another sport, have an off-season from the primary. By the way, off means off. That means most importantly no games. Doing something related to your primary sport 1-2 nights a week is fine as long as it’s not contributing to overuse injury or mental burnout. Playing in weekend tournaments all year round while trying to juggle another sport is not fine, in fact it is just dumb.

I know there is lots of pressure from coaches to play year round but, like the old Nancy Reagan ads say, “Just Say NO”. Both my kids love hockey and consider themselves hockey players first. In fact, my multi-sport trained daughter already has a division 1 scholarship at 15. However it is important to note that she has never played in a formal spring league ( yes, she does skate in the spring but no games) and, played in her first summer hockey tournament just prior to her 13th birthday ( she’s a July baby). She has also been a soccer forward, a soccer goalie, a swimmer, a diver and a state judo champion. She has repeatedly turned down summer tournament invites ( yes, she now is allowed to play in three) but, there is literally one “Showcase” every weekend it seems. All of spring and part of summer is “off” from the game and tournament circuit for her.

My son ( 10 years old) will play lacrosse and baseball this spring and probably won’t skate at all. I’m not worried that he will fall behind.

If your child is not inclined to play another sport, try out a good sports performance program with qualified coaches as an off-season. Guess what, that’s what pros do.

Remember, it a marathon, not a sprint. The tortoise beat the hare. Creating a great athlete in many sports creates the greatest chance of winning down the stretch.

See Chris Herren

Posted in MBSC News with tags on April 4, 2015 by mboyle1959

If there is ever a chance for you to see former Boston College and Boston Celtic player Chris Herren speak, go. Don’t think about it, go, and take your kids. I can guarantee you that you will thank me.

From his Hoop Dreams Website:

As reported by numerous media outlets, Chris has struggled with substance abuse for much of his basketball career. Drug-free and alcohol-free since August 1, 2008 Chris has refocused his life to put his sobriety and family above all else. He attends meetings daily to support his substance free lifestyle and often speaks before groups trying to overcome addiction to share his experiences and road to sobriety.

Herren was riveting for almost 90 minutes. His message is one every child but, more importantly every parent needs to hear.

Have You Heard About Our Certified Functional Strength Coach Cert?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2015 by mboyle1959

At MBSC we have developed an amazing educational program called Certified Functional Strength Coach. This is an unparalleled educational opportunity combining self education, hands on learning and a practical exam. This is not your typical certification course as you will be required to pass a written test just in order to attend and, pass a practical exam at the end of the course. Here’s what one of our new CFSC’s had to say about last weeks course

I really appreciate the excellent programming and coaching that I experienced this weekend at the CFSC 1 training at Perform Better in West Warwick, RI this weekend. Kevin, Kevin and Marco are comprehensive instructors and exhorters. Their passion for changing lives was apparent from their opening comments and they delivered all day, exceeding my expectations. Thank you for a positive rather than competitive learning environment. Thank you for so much individualized instruction instead of recitation and a slide show. Thank you for maintaining a schedule that wasted no time and filled our tool belts. I run a large facility, I’ve been in this industry for 25 years and held as many certifications. I’ve probably attended hundreds of continuing ed seminars. This was different. This was exceptional. Thank you!

-Nancy Williams, Personal Trainer for 25 years/Assistant Director of the Fitness and Wellness Center at Mount Wachusett Community College for 20 years

to learn more and find out about upcoming certification courses go to