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Monday, February 7, 2011

MBSC winter seminar REVIEW...Dan John and Mike Boyle

This past saturday I attended the MBSC winter seminar. I was pretty fired up to attend this year, mainly because Dan John was speaking. I have seen Mike speak as well but since I live and New England and Mike speaks quite a bit around here, it was a treat to hear Dan's lecture.

I arrived at 8am on the dot, I walked into a facility filled with MBSC trainers and guest strength coaches littering the facility. It seemed as if everyone in attendance knew someone else which was nice to see. I ran into a few old friends so it was great to re-connect with them.

The first 4 hours I observed Mike's trainers working with clients, I didn't realize that this was part of the day but oh well, they did a great job of getting tons of people to watch what they do. It was a showcase of their skills good or bad. I got pretty bored watching them train mainly because I wanted to start training people as well and I was getting antsy.

The morning seemed to drag by so I did what any strength coach would do in this scenario, I loaded up on 3 or 4 cups of coffee and ate a free bagel with peanut butter. After this, I was still fired up so I started chatted with a few people. Good times.

Now for the meat and potatoes of the day, the lecturers. Dan spoke first and Mike second. I will focus on each speaker in two different parts of this blog


I said hello to Dan early, he recognized my name from some previous emails we had exchanged. He treated me like an equal...this is clearly not true but I appreciated it. My first impression of Dan in person was his genuine smile and his firm handshake. He's like that uncle that is always happy to see you. When Dan said "it's great to meet you" I think he meant it. Or, he's an incredible actor. We chatted about the RKC and I was able to pick his brain about RKC II which I will be attending in July.

I won't go over his whole lecture, I will only address what hit me like a ton of bricks.


I have read his book almost twice through, if you haven't read" Never Let Go", go buy it. It might be the greatest bathroom book ever too

Goal setting is huge for any client bit sometimes we need to remember what the goal is with our clients. If fat loss is our goal, then teaching barbell snatches and split jerks to a 50 yr old woman may not be the best route.

Keeping a food journal, a clean diet and teaching the basics will take care of the fat loss when done correctly. After hearing this, I found the secret to fat loss:

Sleep, kettlebell swings, healthy eating and joint mobility. Don't believe me, just ask RKC Tracy Reifkind.

Dan also spoke about the role of hypertrophy in athletes mainly football players. It was a simple message but super clear. Here is my best synopsis.

1. From the ages of puberty to early 20's hypertrophy training is a great way to build armor or muscle on an athlete. This is the time to build a solid foundation of strength and healthy movement patterns in young athletes. He noted that keeping mobility is key during this time. You never hear a coach saying...That kid is too strong and mobile:)

2. From the ages of 22+, the focus is staying healthy and mobile, skill development is essential and you need to develop the habits that will keep you playing for the next 10 years.

3. The last part is the role of hypertrophy training in the older population. He basically stated that building muscle is key with older clients. The role of armor changes at this point, it's role now to to protect joints and enable older clients to survive a fall down the stairs or a slip on ice. Building muscle is not geared for performance at this point, it's for longevity and survival.

On a final note, I wish I could spend a week with Dan. He's has too much knowledge to share in 90 minutes. You can tell that he gets into a groove and he could keep going all day. This was a teaser for me but thats ok, I still learned a ton.

I look forward to seeing Dan at RKC II in July, he gave me some ideas on his 40 day workout which I will be starting today. That will be in another post


Mike is Mike, he's a Boston guy. He says it like it is and that how he is. Mike know's his stuff, some think he's a fluffy strength coach, he's a smart strength coach. He doesn't take risks with his athletes and consistently turns out healthy, injury free athletes. To me, this is how its done.

Mike spoke about "The case for single leg training" This was pretty much about the benefits of single leg training, the how and the why. He also spent part of the lectured defending his " no squatting" theory which has been a huge topic on all of the strength forums.

He did some basic anatomy on s-leg training, some ideas and protocols and then defended the reasons why he didn't squat his athletes. Here is my quick synopsis

1. He stated that a large amount of athletes that were squatting also suffered from low back pain. The weak link is the low back in lots of cases. He switched to s-leg training and a large portion of his athletes back pain went away. Seems smart to me, they can't play well if they are hurt.

2. Another thing to note was how many athletes are under his guidance. When you train tons of athletes you need to need to keep them safe, correcting split squats is easier than correcting back and front squats. More people get hurt from back and front squats than split squats..he is right.

3. If an athlete gets hurt during a specific exercise, don't make them do it again. Do something different. He is right on this big time, we all know the benefits of deadlifts and squats but if you hurt yourself doing either of these then maybe its time to switch. This is easier said than done, but it's a very bright and clear way to think and teach.

I will say that I still squat some athletes, some are made to squat and others are not. It's up to the strength coach to decide. Don't try to fit a square into a round hole.

These guys get it, they teach very differently but the message of both of the was the same. I have heard this a million time before but the first goal of a strength coach is to:


Are you hurting your clients???

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