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Perform Better Series – The Boyle System

The entire trip was planned around one thing – meeting coach Dan John. I checked his schedule in November last year and when we found out that he was going to be presenting at Perform Better‘s one-day seminar in Boston in March, we put that on our calender and planned pretty much everything around that day. Now all we needed were start and end dates.

With coach Mike Boyle

With coach Mike Boyle

We used coach Mike Boyle’s Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) certification as the start point and coach Martin Rooney’s Training for Warriors certification as the end date (which didn’t exactly work out because we added coach David Dellanave to the end, but you get the idea).

The Perform Better seminar was awesome because not only was Dan John presenting, but so were Mike Boyle and Martin Rooney, along with coach Nick Winkelman of EXOS.

The seminar felt like a review of the Boyle certification and a preview to our weekend with coach Rooney. We learnt some great new ideas on coaching from coach Winkelman. It was just something else to meet Dan John.

Perform Better is where I like to window shop the most these days. Its an organisation that not only sells top-notch fitness equipment, but also resources in the form of books and DVDs. They are particularly known for their seminars and conferences that have proven to be opportunities of learning and networking for folks in the fitness industry world over. Since we have none happening back home, it was important that we include at least one of these as part of our trip, to experience what it feels like to learn from many great minds at the same time.

Since we learnt so much from each one of the presenters, I think they deserve their own individual blog posts.

This one is the coach Boyle instalment.

Some of the information that coach Boyle covered in his presentation was part of our CFSC, and apart from reinforcing what we had already learned, a lot of the new information that he was throwing at us at the seminar helped tie some loose ends and answer some questions that had cropped up since the seminar.

With Kevin Larrabee

With Kevin Larrabee

Our certification was run by Kevin Carr, Marco Sanchez and Kevin Larrabee (All of whom are awesome!). So this meant we didn’t really get to meet coach Boyle until the seminar, so that was pretty exciting. His presentation walked us through the system that they have developed and been successfully implementing over the years at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning.

With Kevin Carr and Marco Sanchez

With Kevin Carr and Marco Sanchez

The system is both straightforward and genius – everyone foam rolls, everyone does a dynamic warm up/ activation, some form of power work followed by strength work and finish with some sort of conditioning depending on who and when. Moves are classified into categories, and there are progressions and regressions. Why its genius and how its applied in practice is what we learnt about in detail at the certification, and there’s no way I’m going to give it away, but I do highly recommend the cert.

Coach Boyle threw numerous knowledge bombs at us at the seminar and below are some of them that stuck with me:

  1. If your athlete isn’t foam rolling and stretching, you are already five steps behind. Roll first and then stretch.

  2. Progressions make things harder, regressions make things BETTER, not easier.

  3. When someone can hold a plank for 30 seconds or more, move on to the next progression. Think levers.

  4. ‘Anti’ is the key word in core training. Core muscles prevent extension, and DOES NOT help bring the ribs to the pelvis.

  5. When it comes to muscle tone, kids are like filet mignon while adults are beef jerky. Take this into account when programming the power components for someone.

  6. Always focus on developing eccentric strength.

  7. Don’t worry about designing the perfect programme. Design an ‘ideal’ programme. Its a recipe and not a menu. The end result should make sense.

  8. Its more important to correct asymmetry than to create symmetry.

  9. There can be multiple reasons for picking unilateral lifts over bilateral, but the concept of bilateral deficit is the most pertinent – the combined total (of weight lifted) of right plus left is more than right and left.

  10. The key to success in this field – rip off other smart people. But – be smart enough to know when you’re wrong.


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