On Tuesday, I mentioned that Coach Dos just released his new program Complete Program Design.

In addition to balancing my workload with Endeavor, USA Hockey’s Women’s National Team, and my doctorate work, I spend A LOT of time and money on continuing education every year. As a result of my schedule, I need to be really picky about where I spend my resources and sifting through the haze of hyped up marketing can be difficult.

Today I wanted to share a breakdown of what’s including in Complete Program Design, along with an honest appraisal of the product.

Coach Dos-Complete Program Design

Click here to grab your copy >> Complete Program Design

From a content perspective, Complete Program Design discusses:

  1. The nuts and bolts of periodization and program design
  2. Scientific principles combined with practical coaching applications that you can use immediately
  3. Sample programs for 2-3x/week and 4x/week
  4. How to write and develop a periodized workout plan regardless of your level of expertise
  5. An exercise database and library of over 130 video exercises with description broken into movement categories
  6. Workout cards that can be individualized with a series of drop-down menus
  7. Bonus presentations on CHAOS Sport Speed Training and Incorporating Alternative Training Tools into Your Workout Program

My Perspective

As I mentioned on Tuesday, one of the things I think Coach Dos is the best in the world at is getting results with large groups of athletes. As a result, his programs aren’t overly fancy and periodization models aren’t very complex. This isn’t a knock on the Complete Program Design as much as it is pointing out the wisdom in his programs. With all of the information out there today, it’s easy to get caught up the minutia of program design. This can lead to failure for two major reasons:

  1. You get over-focused in one area (e.g. complex periodization schemes) and overlook another one (e.g. balancing movement patterns)
  2. And most importantly…The intricacies of your program look great on paper, but can’t be effectively coached or performed in the real world

These are huge mistakes that every coach will make at some point, but there is a ton of wisdom in keeping things simple to ensure that they’re done well.

The two things I like the most about Complete Program Design are the exercise database and the workout builder excel file.

The exercise database is cool because Dos actually coaches all of the exercises. When I was watching them, I got a real sense of how he would teach it and what he was looking for. This is important to me because I think in a lot of instances you learn more from watching someone coach than you do from hearing them describe their system. Anytime you can “observe” great coaches, it’s a win.

There were a few exercises throughout the database that I had never seen before and really liked. Having a mental library of exercises to defer back to is exceptionally helpful in making parallel substitutions for exercises that have the same focus, but don’t always require the same equipment. Lots of great exercises that are not only easy to steal, but will spark your creativity in coming up with other alternatives.

The workout card in his program is AWESOME. As I mentioned a couple days ago, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time and money trying to make our excel templates less archaic. Dos’ card allows you to design 2-, 3-, and 4-day/week programs with different emphases, while ensuring your program is balanced from a movement pattern standpoint.

This is pretty cool. But I think the more inquisitive of you will also learn a lot from seeing how he has it all set up, and will be able to “deconstruct” the file so you can plug in your own exercises and periodization schemes to better fit your specific needs (if you’re at that point). There’s a ton of value here.

Is it worth it?

This is a question everyone asks before they make a buying decision. For me, I always weigh new purchases against decisions I’ve made in the past. In this case, Complete Program Design is much less than the cost of a weekend course, and when you factor in travel, it’s WAY less. I paid more money to have someone build out an excel template than what this product costs, and having the opportunity to observe how Dos designs programs and coaches is invaluable.

Hopefully this helps provide an inside look into the program. As a friendly reminder, the program is $100 off until Friday at midnight.

Click here to grab your copy >> Complete Program Design

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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Today I’m excited to share a quick interview I recently did with Robert dos Remedios (Coach Dos).

For those of you that don’t know Coach Dos, he is one of only 100 Master Strength & Conditioning Coach in the world recognized by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa), a Nike Elite Performance Coach and was the 2006 NSCA Strength Coach of the Year. He’s also co-authored Men’s Health’s Power Training, Men’s Health’s Cardio Strength Training, and Men’s Health’s Total Fitness Guide.

I’ve read a lot of his work over the years and had an opportunity to hear him speak at a Perform Better Summit a few years back. It’s difficult to summarize his body of work into a single sentence, but if I had to try, I’d say he specializes in designing programs to get incredible results with large volumes of athletes.

This is one of the reasons why I was so excited to review his new program, Complete Program Design, which was officially released this morning. As is always the case with new product launches, they’re offering a crazy discount during the launch week (ends Friday at midnight EST). If you’re interested in writing more effective programs, I highly recommend checking it out.

Coach Dos-Complete Program Design

Click here to grab your copy >> Complete Program Design

In the interview, Coach Dos answers a few questions I had for him after reviewing his program about the importance of having a complete program, core training, and making program design more efficient. Enjoy!

KN: Not everyone has a goal of “wanting to improve everything.” Can you talk about how a “complete program” is still necessary even if someone just wants to improve one quality, like speed?

CD: One of the biggest requests I get from athletes and parents etc. is “I want to get faster….what do I do?” Most of the time they are looking for speed drills. The biggest misconception is that we can just dial that speed training in and that’s all it will take to reach that goal. Sure speed drills are great, but getting stronger and building power will ultimately make you faster. This is where having a complete training system will always be superior to cherry picking drills for a specific goal. We always need to keep an eye on the BIG picture. In this case, the combination of strength, power, and speed training will deliver better results.

KN: That’s a great point, and something I hear of a lot from athletes. There’s a lot more to speed training than just running sprints!

I really like how you broke down your core training into simple categories to make programming more efficient. Can you give an example of how your core exercises transfer to sport performance?   

CD: We break down our core into 2 sub-categories: What I call “Pillar” or “anti-extension exercises” and “Rotational/anti-rotational exercises.” When we address both categories we create a complete core, one that is not only strong and functional, but much more resistant to injury. I think of an exercise like a TRX or a superband pallof press as essential to performance as it requires the body to resist rotational forces; this is key in any sort of contact or collision sport as it helps us decelerate forces which can help in reactive performance and injury prevention.

KN: Last year I invested a significant amount of time (and money) in getting better with excel to make our data collection, test reporting and program design more efficient and professional looking.

Your “program maker” file is AWESOME. It looks like it took a lot of time to put together, but probably saves you a lot of time now. Can you talk about the benefits of having a system like this to design programs?

CD: I’m not an excel expert so I had to outsource the development of the cards. That being said I think these are the ‘x-factor’ in this program. Not only does it save time, it takes the guesswork out of building workouts. It’s almost impossible to accidentally miss a movement pattern that needs to be trained and it keeps you honest in terms of avoiding exercises you many not like, but we know you should be doing.

These cards will literally change the way you attack your program design.

KN: I agree. With the drop-down menus, you can literally create goal-specific training programs in a few minutes.

Thanks for doing a quick interview!

Coach Dos-Complete Program Design-Family

Click here to grab your copy >> Complete Program Design

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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A couple weekends ago, I was fortunate enough to attend Joe Dowdell and Mike Roussell’s Peak Training and Diet Design Seminar at Peak Performance NYC. I had planned on doing a recap of the event, but my friend Tony Gentilcore beat me to it. Check out his re-cap here: Learnification: My Weekend at Peak Performance.

Kale: the fuel for Tony’s big brain biceps

He also did a preview to the review, which you can find here: The Preview to the Review of the Peak Training and Diet Program Design Seminar

At the end of the 2-day event, Joe and Mike invited me to sit on their expert panel for a Q&A with the attendees. It was an honor to be up there with guys like Tony, John Romaniello, Jim “Smitty” Smith from the Diesel Crew, and Dr. Perry Nickelston.

Emily always says I have no sense of fashion, but I was the ONLY one that color-coordinated their beard with their shirt.

At one point, someone asked a question about what advice we would give trainers and strength coaches that really want to be successful in the industry. This was a great question, and the responses the other guys gave were outstanding. One of the points I really tried to emphasize is that it’s important to become a good COACH.

If you’ve read any of my stuff in the past, you know that I place a premium on staying current with relevant research and innovative training methods. I also think it’s important to test new things to ensure that we’re constantly finding improved ways to train our athletes and clients. Because of the internet-driven gold rush, there seems to be an ongoing contest of who knows more, and less emphasis is being placed on how to actually coach athletes. This is creating an increasingly large discrepancy between intellectual and inter-personal knowledge. In other words, there are really bright people in the training industry that aren’t great at implementing everything they know. As Mike Boyle always says, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Another trend, one that I doubt will ever disappear, is that strength coaches only want to work with elite athletes. I made a comment during the expert Q&A that from a coaching standpoint I don’t do anything with our elite hockey players. That’s not really true.  Our high level hockey players require a more in-depth focus on assessment and personalized program design. These athletes have put a ton of miles on their body, and tend to have greater compensation patterns and injury-prevention concerns than players competing at lower levels. My point was that elite level athletes are extremely neurologically efficient, and tend to do things pretty well with very little coaching. Many already have a few years of training experience under their belt and have been taught the basics of lifting. There is a lot to be gained from coaching elite level athletes, but it’s certainly not the best way to learn to coach. I recognize there is an assumption that the best training professionals are working in professional sports, and therefore working with high level athletes is an indication of competency. There are, in fact, many extremely bright and able coaches in professional sports. But not EVERY person that works in pro sports is not the best; many networked their way into those positions.

On the other side of the athletic continuum are the motor morons. These are the kids that move like shit, have never been taught anything (at least not correctly), and go blank when you try to cue them on anything. Some of these kids may even have pretty well-developed skill sets in their sport of emphasis, and therefore are successful despite a lack of any foundation of athleticism (which invariably catches up with them in the form of poor performance and/or injury). If a coach can get THESE kids to perform exercises correctly and move properly, THAT is the ultimate sign of competency. It’s the experience you develop working with these kids that teaches you how to use different language to make each individual understand what you’re looking for, and how to look for and correct common movement impairments/abnormalities. In other words, this is how you learn to coach effectively.

Coaching is an art, and one that needs to be refined for different training environments. I tell the coaches on our staff at Endeavor that they should try to think of ways to teach every exercise we do in 10s or less and use language that they can use to cue athletes from across a room. The textbook approach of walking each athlete through every exercise step-by-step would result in 4-hour training sessions. It’s not practical. Give the athlete enough to get started, make sure they understand the postures associated with proper exercise technique that purvey most exercises and let them get started. Not every athlete makes the same mistake and telling every athlete every step of every exercise is excessive. Let them try it, see where they err, and correct accordingly.

Take Home
If you’re a young coach, don’t be in a rush to work with professional athletes; be in a rush to become an outstanding coach. We need more great coaches at the youth level anyway, but this is certainly the best place to refine your coaching ability. If you want to become a good coach, find a strength and conditioning coach that seems to “get it” in terms of understanding proper movement, that works with a high volume of athletes, and ask to intern or volunteer. If you’re looking, I highly recommend getting in touch with people like Tony and Eric Cressey (Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA), Mike Boyle (MBSC in Woburn, MA), Brijesh Patel (Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT), Jeff Oliver (Holy Cross in Worcester, MA), and Robert dos Remedios (College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA).

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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A couple weeks ago David Lasnier and I drove out to Chicago for Perform Better’s 3-Day Summit. We were both excited for the summit, but we were both equally as excited for the drive. I know some people loathe car rides (Emily averages about 3-6 minutes before she falls asleep…even when she’s driving), but we both love them. Aside from enjoying the luxurious comfort of my ’99 Saturn 4-door family sedan, it gives us an opportunity to talk shop, catch up about life, and finally settle the ongoing battle of who has the highest caffeine tolerance.

I win

A few of the highlights from the trip:


Naturally, it would be impossible for me to recount everything I learned from an event of this magnitude. Below are a few of the more “big picture” take homes:

Success Secrets from Mike Boyle
This was arguably the best talk of the event. As far as I know, this was the first time Boyle told his story publicly. Not exactly the “overnight success” that so many young coaches seem to be chasing (myself included at times!)

  • It’s not a goal until you write it down. Write down your goals, specifically, and great things will happen.
  • Your income is directly proportional to the number of people you help. Help more people achieve their goals, make more money.
  • “Most people give up right before the big break” Keep building positive habits and opportunities will come.
  • Anyone who is excellent in anything gets paid. “This is not about putting in your twenty and getting a pension. It’s about changing people’s lives and leaving a legacy.”
  • During the apprentice years, be prepared to work two jobs and volunteer. Not an easy time, but a great opportunity to develop a lot of experience and hone your coaching skills.
  • Pay it forward. Help as many people as you can. This just comes down to being a good person, but you never know how/when things will come back around for you.

Building Better Athletes from Robert Dos Remedios
First time I heard Coach Dos speak. Awesome presentation and great guy. Inspiration below:

  • “The harder you work, the harder it is to give up.”
  • Don’t allow athletes to bend over. “Don’t show the world you’re tired.”
  • “The will to win is nothing compared to the will to PREPARE”

Anatomy Trains in Training from Thomas Myers
This was the second time I got to see Myers speak in a 3-week time span. Major take homes:

  • All symptoms are patterns
  • 10x as many nerves in fascia as muscles; fascia is an incredible sensory source
  • Experimentation becomes gesture. Gesture becomes habit. Habit becomes posture. Posture becomes structure.
  • Fascia transmits forces; idea of tensegrity.
  • Fascia is elastic and plastic, and typically gets injured as a result of moving too fast.
  • The entire concept of individual muscles is a result of scalpel-driven dissections. Idea that we have 600 muscles is not as accurate as us having 1 muscle in 600 fascial pockets
  • Concentrically loaded structures need manual work along fibers; eccentrically loaded structures need work across fibers.

Evolve or Die from Thomas Plummer
First time I’ve heard any of Plummer’s information. Calling him animated would be a drastic understatement.

  • This is the “results age”. People don’t want features; they want progress
  • People buy expertise, not motivation (we have energy drinks for that).
  • 3,000-8,000 sq ft is an ideal facility space
  • “Up your presentation” If you want to have a premier facility, make it look that way.
  • Facilities should offer 5-6 price points for services scaling from basic to very in-depth.

Barefoot Training from Mark Verstegen
I’ve followed a lot of Mark’s work, but I had never heard him speak. Great presenter (as was the case with most of the presenters I saw).

  • Shoe-wearers demonstrate a progressive narrowing of the anterior portion of the foot and degradation of joint ROM
  • Idea is that modern “stability” shoes lead to decreased proprioceptive input to foot and lower body, which may lead to decreased arch and foot strength
  • 30-75% of runners get injured every year. Knee is most common injury site.
  • Before ANYONE starts barefoot training, they need to demonstrate some basic level of overall fitness and have proper running mechanics
  • Barefoot training will not automatically correct poor movement patterns, but may help expose them.
  • Big take home concept from this presentation was that people shouldn’t blindly dive into switching all of their training over to barefoot or minimalist shoes. Like every aspect of performance training, precautions and progressions are of paramount importance.

The Compliance Solution from John Berardi
Dr. Berardi is another guy whose work I’ve studied for the last 5 years or so. His perspective was refreshing and dedication to continual improvement was inspiring.

  • Take responsibility for client’s results AND compliance
  • Talk to clients in a way that is more likely to make them change (don’t be an asshole; be inspirational)
  • Coach both sides of the brain (Left: Logical, analytical, scientific, etc.; Right: Emotional, artistic, questions reason, etc.)
  • Give 1 habit at a time; make them small, clear daily habits. Compliance drops from 85+% to <35% when moving from 1 to 2 habit assignments.
  • Ask “how confident are you that you can do this habit?” before letting them loose. If they know in advance they can’t do it, adjust to make it easier.

With the caliber of speakers at this event, I knew I’d come away with a few new ideas on how to improve our programs at Endeavor. That said, I learned just as much outside of the presentations as I did in. David and I stayed with Kyle Bangen, the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Michigan Tech, so the three of us spent a lot of time together. On Friday, we grabbed lunch with Coach Boyle and got to catch up a bit about how things are going at BU and MBSC. What really stood out to me is how “famous” Boyle was at this event. It literally took us 30 minutes to walk a couple hundred yards from one end of the conference center to the other because so many people grabbed him along the way. Probably more notable was how genuinely happy Boyle was to see/meet each one of them. Boyle continues to have a huge influence on my career; he’s been a great mentor for me, both in terms of providing current insight into training methodologies and shaping my overall character. I hope to reach a point in my career when I can reminisce about my experiences working at the NHL (still holding out for the Flyers to call) and Olympic levels, and helping other strength coaches do the same.

Me and Coach Boyle in the back of Gray Cook’s talk

About an hour later, David and I were completely tanked and in desperate need of a coffee. Right at that time, Charlie Weingroff walked by with a not-so-inconspicuous ziploc bag full of Red Line, or as he calls it, “liquid courage”. David must have stopped at 4 7-11’s looking for Red Line on that trip with no luck. Charlie must “know a guy”.

Chris Poirier and the PB team hosted a social that night. I spent the majority of the time catching up with Darryl Nelson and Maria Mountain, and I got to meet fellow-hockey strength and conditioning coach Anthony Donskov. I told Chris later that it was cool that the event was so-well attended that we could have a mini hockey-specific mastermind there. It was interesting to learn that we all had very few differences philosophically. The major differences in execution came down to what we were able to implement logistically in our setting, which is what we spent the majority of the time talking about. If I had an opportunity to redesign our facility from scratch I would knock down a few walls to ensure complete visibility. A huge design mistake that is a constant consideration in how we design programs and structure the flow throughout the facility.

After the social we went back to our hotel…slash water park. A view from our room balcony:

Our hotel pool had a moat around it

The next day was awesome. David, Kyle, and I had another “hockey training meeting” at lunch with Maria Mountain and Anthony Donskov. I wish I would have recorded this lunch. A lot of great ideas thrown around from really bright people. Before the day wrapped up I got a chance to catch up a bit with John Berardi. I’ve been following John’s work for several years now, and still believe that his book Precision Nutrition is a must own for athletes and non-athletes alike. The results John showed from his online training clients were pretty remarkable, and as I mentioned above, his realization that a lack of information isn’t as much of a problem as us relying on a poor delivery vehicle for this information is dead on. We talked about the idea of putting together a “dripped” information system so that our athletes could receive nutritional habits based on their body composition goals to focus on every couple weeks with a few tips in between on how to implement or stay on track with the habit. Ultimately I think this is the direction we’ll go with our athletes; it’s just a matter of whether I’ll wait for him to design the product or if I’ll team up with someone to do it myself.

I don’t remember when, but at some point I caught up with Gray Cook and Brett Jones in the lobby. Both of these guys were awesome to talk to. Most of our hockey players have really jacked up feet, so I was looking for some insight from Brett on when he does and doesn’t recommend orthotics. We have an inordinate number of hockey players that present with flat feet and I’m not at all convinced that it’s a purely structural problem. I am, however, convinced that foot alignment and control is of paramount importance in human performance, even in hockey players. Ultimately I think I’ll end up paying Charlie to do an in service for our staff on the issue because he seems to have a better hold on it than anyone else I’ve talked to, but until then I’m still searching for answers elsewhere and Gray and Brett are as bright as they come.

Because we had a 14 hour drive home and we lost an hour with the time zone change, David and I decided we were going to leave first thing Sunday morning. And while I came for training information, I wasn’t going to leave Chicago without a slice of authentic deep dish pizza.


Most filling pizza ever

If you’ve been on the fence about attending one of the Perform Better Summits in the past, I highly encourage you to take the plunge next year. The presenters are world class, there is a lot of really bright attendees and they’re just generally fun. Hopefully I’ll see you there next year!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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