Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Still Misunderstood: Strong Athlete, Zero Injuries
Written By : Scott Bird

Front squatIt seems that some people will never understand Mike Boyle. Following Eric Cressey’s excellent interview The Misunderstood Strength Coach, some of the comments made this fact abundantly clear.
I don’t often read more than the first few comments to a T-nation article (which are usually along the lines of ‘Great article!’ or ‘Keep up the good work’) but this piece – Strong Athlete, Zero Injuries – inspired me to do just that. And once again, it was clear that some people just don’t understand the man.
Among the fascinating (and a little controversial) views espoused in the article :

I’m a big believer in the technical failure concept. The set ends at technical failure, not when you can’t cheat through another rep. I’d always rather undertrain than overtrain. Tomorrow is another day. The tortoise beat the hare. The healthy trainee lives to train another day while the hurt guy goes to PT.

Many of my older (30-plus) clients no longer do conventional squats or Olympic lifts. Their bodies no longer tolerate it. We do jump squats, kettlebell swings, and lots of single leg stuff with these guys because the objective is to keep them playing.

Back pain has three root causes as it relates to lifting. Torque (forward lean), compression (high spinal loads), and flexion are what cause back injuries. Front squats lessen torque, compression, and flexion, and are therefore inherently safer [than back squats].

Knee wraps are not an injury prevention tool. They’re an elastic launching pad to allow you to lift more weight. Knee wraps don’t protect the knee.

and the one that really got me thinking :

Treat your vertical pulls just like the bench. Cycle them. Do heavy triples. Whatever you do for horizontal presses, do the same for vertical pulls. Your shoulders will love you for it.

Despite often being misunderstood, Mike Boyle gets results. As the article states :

My average athlete can also do a 1 RM chin-up with more than he can bench press.

That’s including the bodyweight of the lifter, but it still isn’t bad. Now, time to take a serious look at the chin-up part of my routine. Heavy triples coming up.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



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Written By Scott Bird
Scott is a long-time fitness enthusiast (Jan 2004!), writer and photographer living in Sydney, Australia. If you share the passion for spending a bit of time under a bar, welcome. Love hearing how everyone else trains. You can connect via X (Formerly Twitter), Facebook and the various networks listed in the sidebar.
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