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Sunday, 19 February 2012

REVIEW: Mike Boyle Functional Strength Coach 4

I've been quite ill this last week, the one good thing about that is that it has given me a chance to check out this 6 DVD set.  For those who don't know who Mike Boyle is, he is one of the best known coaches in the business.  In the past he has managed to use really unique marketing approaches to sell product (for Functional Strength Coach 3 he managed to hype sales to the maximum with the whole "Death of the squat" idea he pushed with that DVD set), the question is, would this set be as controversial?  The simple answer is no, it isn't.  There are some advances from the last series, but this DVD set did not have the same hype-frenzy we saw around FSC 3.  If you haven't seen Boyle before, this is a good one to get.  If you are after FSC1-3, you might want to go to ebay, or check it out second hand as the sets are all pretty expensive.  You get quite a bit, in this set you get 6 discs, with about 10 hours of lecture & hands on, but the older sets I suspect can be had on ebay for a lot less if you are shopping for those.
OK how do I sum up 10 hours in a few sentences?  I can highlight a few points that grabbed me, this isn't a comprehensive review, I can't cover all the facts.  Boyle covers a lot about training, his thoughts about putting hands on, dealing with pain etc.  Those have been pretty consistent throughout the FSC series, new stuff are an inclusion of kettlebells which I agreed with, I too have been doing that for a year or so now, for pretty much the same reasons as he says.  He also talks about the FMS he also argues the longevity aspect, not the immediate injury aspect of the screen rather like I did in this post.  Also he uses the idea of foam rolling, STRETCHING, then warm-up, then workout.  This is an idea I believe he first put forward in FSC 3 & I have started to test out recently.  The idea of stretching cold to get increased usable ROM makes some sense, but I'll have to see how this pans out for a longer time before I can say for sure if I notice any difference or benefit.  He does cover stretches for those without tables (a point many complained about in FSC 3, but not a problem for me as I'm a massage therapist so tables aren't an issue :-), warm-up, exercise choice & program design in some detail.  I don't agree that zero ab flexion is the answer as Boyle does (for more on why see my post here), but evidence is there if you wish to take that route.  I am also a user of progressions in my training, both in resistance & exercise performance, so I like some of Boyle's work in that area as he comes up some interesting variations.
So, having said all that who is this product for?  Coaches should view it, those who do their own programming should view it, those who want to learn about how to design programs get something that will work pretty well.  Who should NOT get it?  Those who want a cookie cutter routine will be disappointed, those who want to be told exactly what to do should avoid this product.  To make the most of this product you need to have a desire to do a little work, know a little anatomy, plan a little bit, if you don't want that, then this product is a waste of money, you'd be better off picking any cookie cutter routine you find for free off of the internet & just follow along with that.
I like the way Mike is fine about changing his mind (you won't find many coaches willing to do that once they market a product they seem stuck to that formula forever), but he also doesn't do the opposite which is throw everything out with a new DVD product, he stays the same on many things but throws out what he believes needs to be removed.  I don't agree with all his choices, but I do like that he has reasons for his choices & does put together a decent product for the person willing to think a little bit about program design & exercise choice.
To get a copy of FSC 4 pop over to Perform Better

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