New Functional Training for Sports is the most functional (purposeful) book I have ever read on strength and conditioning. Written by one of the most respected trainers/coaches in the world, Mike Boyle, this book easily explains why the exercises recommended in the book are of the utmost importance to athletes of all sports and ages.
Chapter by chapter Boyle does a masterly job of breaking down strength and conditioning by body region and explaining how performance on the field, court and in everyday life can be enhanced by following his advice.
Having been in the strength and conditioning field for over 30 years, Boyle has worked with athletes from all sports, but most noticeably hockey. This experience has given Boyle insight that can be applied to training programs by other coaches who haven’t been so privileged.
One of the primary takeaways for me was that strength training does not need to be sport specific. Boyle says, “there is not one way to get stronger that makes more sense for one sport than another, and there is not any one speed development program that makes more sense for one sport than another.” In other words, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Literally and figuratively.
This does not mean that all athletes will be doing the same exercise the same way. Boyle breaks down all recommended movements into progressions and regressions. Thus, allowing athletes to train the same muscle groups but in a manner that is safest and most effective for the individual. Most programs use a cookie-cutter approach to training and this is a bad idea because we all have different starting points and unique skills.
Speaking of starting points, Boyle has provided helpful charts and formulas that can be used to measure progress. In fact, he is very detailed in tracking an athlete’s success because he measures everything and all the programs he designs to obtain these high levels of success are provided in this book.
Videos, pointed illustrations and charts are all useful components of New Functional Training for Sports and they are all the brainchild of Mike Boyle. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Boyle is also a student of the game. Throughout his book he quotes other notable coaches such as Mark Verstegen, Gray Cook, Dan John, and Charles Polloquin, which lets me know he has done his homework. As favorable as Boyle has become, he does not let his ego get in the way of his success. I appreciate his humility.
Based on my love for sports, and all things strength and conditioning related, Mike Boyle’s New Functional Training for Sports is the book for me. While I am not a collegiate or professional athlete, I am an athlete. And, in my opinion, anyone who works out or trains is an athlete. Even though most people in their 40s-70s are not participating in sports to win a championship of some sort, we do care about moving well, preventing injury and strength-to-bodyweight ratios. New Functional Training for Sports serves old and young, professional and amateur athletes alike. Due to this dichotomy, I am in love with this book. It not only speaks to my desire to train Pros and Joes; it is proof that it’s possible for all of us to train the same way.