Monthly Archives: Jul 2017

Coaching Philosophy 

Philosophy – a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.

Coaching philosophy has been something that’s been on my mind a lot recently. I never really put much thought into it until a conversation I had with my good friend and mentor Ainle Ó Cairealláin ( when he asked me what my coaching philosophy was.
I was sort of stumped by the idea and didn’t know what to say as it never entered my mind before. I was thinking that having little to no coaching experience before how could I possibly have a coaching philosophy?
Anyway, after giving it a bit of thought, here is my coaching philosophy.

” To coach by creating a positive, healthy and trustworthy relationship with a main focus on building a solid base of movement excellence, while making it a fun, enjoyable and beneficial experience. “

For me it is important that

  • It is an enjoyable experience for all involved. (Coach and Team/ Athlete/ Client/ etc.)
  • The fundamental movements are solid. (Squat, Posture, Pelvic Tilt, Mobility)
  • You build up the trust with who you are coaching. Let them know you have a vast knowledge in the area. Show that you have an actual interest in them and their goals.

If you are serious about coaching and want to make it far I highly recommend getting on this and building your philosophy straight away!

“Knowing thyself is the begining of all wisdom” – Artisole



Programming in Strength and Conditioning terms has a lot more to do than just selecting what exercise and where it goes in the program. As a strength coach, you need  to be able to adapt anything that is thrown at you. Whether it is an athlete/ client having an injury or unable to complete the exercise.

For me, having a list of exercises stored in the back of your head so that you can quickly change the program is key.

It is important that in every session I program has at least one of the following.

  • Squat
  • Hip Hinge
  • Push
  • Lunge
  • Pull
  • Carry

Anti-rotation and anti-extension core exercises are also vitally important.

After all of these are exercises are programmed in, I will look for gaps or areas where I feel the athlete is weak and add in exercises to improve this area.


Tips for Healthy Shoulders

Shoulder tightness and injury seems to be a massive problem in this era of every day life and in sport. The current lifestyle of sedentary jobs sitting at desks all day and the joys of constantly being on some form of mobile device throughout the day has led to these issues. This sort of lifestyle only leads to posture issues and can also to a limited range of motion around the shoulders.

Below I have put together my top 5  exercises to maintain and create healthy shoulders.

Five exercises to improve overall shoulder health.

Scapula Push Ups

Scapula Push Ups or Scap Push Ups as they are more commonly known as strengthen the muscles around the scapula (Shoulder blade). The Serratus Anterior is the primary muscle that you will strengthen with this exercise. A strong Serratus Anterior promotes normal scapula motion and shoulder mobility.

Whether it’s in the gym, in your sport or just in everyday life, sound scapulae movement and function will impact nearly every upper-body movement you do. When they are in the correct position and have a full range of motion the scapulae will have enough mobility to stabilise the shoulder. This will protect the shoulder from injury during repetitive movements such as throwing a ball.

Passive Hangs

I only recently started doing these myself since being introduced to them in Aclaí in Cork. I only wish I knew about the benefits of this exercise much earlier in my training experience.

Passive Hangs are probably my go to exercise for shoulder health now. They are easy to perform, can be performed almost anywhere be it a gym or out in the local park.

The benefits from hanging are countless, so much so that they probably deserve a full post devoted to them. For now though, some of the benefits from hanging are;

  • Healthy Shoulders, Elbows, Wrists.
  • Forces the shoulders to enter overhead position which one might not be able to achieve without aid.
  • Sets the foundation to improve pulling strength.
  • Creates a stable shoulder.

A good task to try is the 7 minute hanging challenge. This is where you have a goal of hanging for 7 minutes throughout the day for 30 days. Try it, see the improvements in your shoulder range of motion after the 30 days.

Shoulder Extension

Another exercise that has only recently became a staple in my warm up routine. The shoulder is normally only trained in both an overhead position or through lateral  and frontal raises. The problem with these movements is that they are both shoulder flexion movements. As  a result of this most people will have a limited range of motion.

To perform this exercise, sit up right and place your hands together with palms facing down, behind your back. Now shuffle yourself forward to lower your shoulders down to the floor as far as possible.

Table Rocks

An exercise I learnt from Christopher Sommer and his Gymnastic Strength Training program.

Table Rocks not only work on your shoulder mobility, but they also work on improving thoracic bridging and hip mobility.

Below is a little clip on how to perform the Table Rock.

Internal / External Rotations

Shoulder rotations are good to create good and healthy rotator cuffs. The rotator cuffs are made up of 4 muscles.

  1. Supraspinatus
  2. Infraspinatus
  3. Teres Minor
  4. Subscapularis

In my opinion shoulder rotations are key to having healthy, mobile and strong shoulders. These are often an underutilized exercise when it comes to building shoulder strength.

Here is a video of a shoulder internal/external rotation using a band

I would usually complete these exercises as part of my warm up routine and prehab. They can be done anywhere at anytime as the exercises require little to no equipment!