The 2017 Coach | Ch. 7

Today’s Focus: Programming philosophy

SD’s Philosophy:

The warmup needs to be coached to prevent people from just going through the motions. Plyometrics should be done in fast but separate reps. Strength training consists of push, pull, squat, hinge, and core, but poor patterns aren’t loaded. People should get really good at patterns as opposed to switching it up often. Conditioning is best when conducted in a speed up, slow down, repeat format. Don’t get hurt in training, choose exercises that reduce the risk of getting hurt ‘out there,’ then and only then improve performance. People should leave a session feeling better not only physically, but emotionally.

So, how did I land on that?

I ran across one of my favorite posts from Mike Boyle yesterday. It was one that he shared as a memory on FB from a few years prior and I was like “Yes, I’ve been looking for this since the last time I saw it.”

You know that feeling you get when you’re trying to remember the name of that one actor and it is on the tip of your tongue and then you get it and you’re like “Yes, John Stamos.”

“Have mercy”

It was like that.

Anyway…here is what he posted.


“Not sure if you can read this but the top photo ( from 1922 Strength Magazine) shows a one leg squat and is captioned “squatting on one leg is better than squatting on two”. The bottom picture ( a back squat) says “a variation of exercise show above”. I think we had it right in 1922.” – Mike Boyle

Another Mike Boyle reference?!?!

Yes, and a proud one. I feel lucky to be able to have one of the greats as a direct influence on my career. Get used to it, Cheif.

This struck a chord for me when I first came across it some years ago. When Mike first said that there aren’t any Back Squats at his facility in Strength Coach 3 years ago I realized that there was going to be a pivotal moment in how I view fitness in general.

The below is my interpretation which I believe offers a unique look being that I’ve been surrounded by Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning (MBSC) as well as simultaneously spending a lot of time outside of the MBSC walls.

All of the beer-gut football coaches had it out for mike after that. “What do you mean you don’t Back Squat? That’s the only way to get strong. Efff you, Boyle.”

This was interesting to me because if you really look into it Mike wasn’t saying that we should get rid of lower body strength. In fact, it was on the contrary. The old football coaches (you know the ones with the swishy starter jacket thing who really fill that mid section out and walk like a sack of potatoes) felt personally offended because “That’s the way we always done did it.” As the old-ass image above tells us – what if the way we always did it was wrong or what if we didn’t look back far enough to find the answer. Wasn’t the world flat at one point as well?

What Mike WAS saying, and I fully agree, was that Back Squats are showing lower back injuries in athletes DURING training due to structural shoulder mobility issues resulting in poorly positioned spines under load. i.e. poor and unfixable (due to the way some people’s shoulders are) shoulder mobility is causing the Back Squat to hurt athletes in training and that is not ok.

Note: doesn’t the adult market deserve the same training protocols as the athletes market? Yup.

Mike was just defending his philosophy of 1. Don’t get hurt in training 2. Choose exercises that reduce the risk of injury in competition (or life) 3. Improve performance. In that order.

Back Squats didn’t fit in that, but we obviously still needed lower body strength development. Enter a movement that allows us to develop some serious strength due to Bilateral Deficit which essentially means that scientifically humans are stronger off of one limb vs two (someone smarter than me discusses that here). The Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (RFE SS) is an exercise that allowed someone to develop more strength without the negative repercussions of a Back Squat.

Shown below is 305 lbs by 6…on 1 leg 

Beasssssssst. Beast.

Ok, so why the Back Squat / Mike B is the best rant? Because that entire scenario was a turning point in my personal philosophy and I hope it is helpful for you in your journey.

p.s. I am not a Back Squat hater if powerlifting is your sport or you have a perfect squat pattern, but for the 80% of worker-outers it is a silly choice if you have a respectable philosophy and are aiming at the masses as your clientele.

Let’s get you a philosophy!


  • Find some really smart people in the industry and learn theirs
    • Take the Bruce Lee approach and “absorb what is useful and reject what is useless”
  • Think  about your CLIENT and not YOURSELF
    • Though I do believe that they should be wildly similar
  • Be open-minded
    • I hope that I say in 10-years “Wow, that philosophy was terrible”
  • Discuss your philosophy with professionals that you respect in the industry
    • Make sure they aren’t afraid to challenge you
  • Discuss your philosophy with non-fitness professionals to make sure that they understand it
    • This clears the Simplicity Test
  • Stay simple
    • You don’t sound smart when you use latin terms with your clients. Sorry.
  • This is a big one. I mean huge.
    • Once you have your philosophy you have to stick to it when clients say “Hey can we try this or that?” If you say “Sure,” then you do not have a philosophy and need to get good at saying “No, and here’s why…”
      • When clients push you around they will lose respect for you. They hired you for a reason and if you aren’t good at saying “No,” but making that a motivating scenario you will need to learn how ASAP.


Thanks for reading and Kaizen on, Beast

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