Q&A with S&C Coaches – Part 2

This is a two part series, with Part 1 found here.

With many gyms opening up in Massachusetts, I wanted to provide a little bit more value for strength and conditioning professionals who are just entering the field, especially entering during a time with much ambiguity for our field.

With this said, this is the second part of a question and answer where I ask a few colleagues and strength coaches some questions on a their sources that underpin their understanding and knowledge base for coaching.

David Otey


I first met David while we were both presenting for an NSCA course in New Jersey in 2018. Afterwards, I quickly realized we ran in similar circles with several like-minded strength and conditioning groups, and it is just surprising that 2018 was the first time we met. He is a master instructor for Dr. John Rusin’s “Pain Free Performance Specialist Certification,” and he also serves on the advisory board for Men’s Health.

1. What are your top 2-3 resources for getting stronger/more resilient?

  1.  Renegade Radio podcast with Jay Ferruggia
  2. Becoming a Supple Leopard – Dr. Kelly Starrett
  3. TheStrengthHouse.com

2. What are your top 2-3 resources for learning functional anatomy?

  1. Physiopedia.com
  2. Human Anatomy Atlas – App Store 

3. What are your top 2-3 resources for exercise programming?

  1. Pain Free Performance Specialist Certification
  2. MYTPI.com 

4. Do you have any advice for an up and coming strength and conditioning professional?

Volunteer as much as you can in the beginning. Volunteering is where I learned so much of the information I use on a day by day basis now. Not all places can take on interns that can provide credit. And people are certainly going to be jumping to pay someone new to learn a lot of new information on their dime. Everyone can take volunteers though.

I always tell college students or young people aspiring to be in any field, ask the person you are working under how you can EARN their recommendation. It is not a matter of just asking someone with influence to sign their name on the dotted line. How can you show that individual that you are so serious about this career path that you earn their nod of approval? If you approach every interaction that way moving forward, it will make this process a lot more fluid. How can I EARN your respect?

Matt Siniscalchi


I first met Matt at a Postural Restoration Institute course at a facility he worked at in 2012, then I interned at that same facility in 2013, and then eventually becoming his co-worker from 2013-2014. We’ve kept in touch ever since, and I’ve probably asked him more questions than he has asked of me, regarding all things energy systems training, sprinting and speed questions, strength training, exercise programming, and everything in between. Needless to say, Matt is a very sharp individual who I hold at a high regard. Plus, he is also an Eagles fan.

1. What are your top 2-3 resources for getting stronger/more resilient?

2. What are your top 2-3 resources for learning functional anatomy?

  • Biomechanics and Kinesiology of Exercise – Yessis
  • FRC (Functional Range Conditioning) concepts – Andreo Spina

3. What are your top 2-3 resources for exercise programming?

  • Advances in Functional Training – Boyle
  • Revolutionary 1x20RM Strength Training Program – Yessis

4. What are your top 2-3 resources for learning exercise physiology?

  • Ultimate MMA Conditioning by Joel Jamieson

*although I wouldn’t implement these first with athlete’s at first, it gives a good general understanding of ideas.

5. If you work with a specific population, what are your top resources for learning more on how to serve that population, and why?

  • Bill Knowles (reconditioning, athletic development) 
  • Dr. Michael Yessis (sport skills, special strength, athletic development)
  • Vern Gambetta (all things athletic development)

6. Do you have any advice for an up and coming strength and conditioning professional?

     1. Always question the “WHY” : much to do about strength and conditioning nowadays seems to be that we follow advice blindly without searching deeper/throughly. 

      2. Always try to base things off results first. Did the athlete achieve the goals they are set out to get? Are they playing their sport better or are they better in accomplishing tasks of daily life, or their hobbies, etc.. (general population)? Did they achieve those goals and/or play better as efficiently as you think?  

      3. Look back at the history: exercises, pieces of equipment, research done –> why, how, when, was it utilized, created, and in what context was it done? Also whom (level of athlete) was it used on and their results? Why do you think it worked or didn’t work? These seem to help find answers as to if the very things we are implementing make sense, work, and why it could work.

      4. “And then what?” An incredible question I learned from a colleague, Jeff Moyer. We can get caught up into strength methods, certain exercises, breathing techniques, recovery modalities, burning fat at any cost, just doing daily workouts of the day etc…what is your starting point and where are you going? Are you getting there consistently? How do you know?

Nick Stodolski


Nick and I have crossed paths in a few different ways – first when I went to observe at a facility he worked at from maybe 2016-2017ish, and then our circles began to become more similar when he began a master’s program with the folks at Merrimack College. Nick has taken a “outside of the box” approach to this industry, much like myself, and for that I appreciate his perspective and his experiences. Now, he is a strength coach working with EXOS.

1. What are your top 2-3 resources for getting stronger/more resilient?

2. What are your top 2-3 resources for learning functional anatomy?

 Currently: Human Anatomy Atlas 2021 (App on Ipad or Tablet)

Miguel this may be different and hopefully you agree. Contact your local physical therapy office or hang out with AT’s, shadow, and bring and form questions. This was one of the biggest ones for me. We can all learn cadaveric anatomy, but the functional aspect really hits home here.

3. If you work with a specific population, what are your top resources for learning more on how to serve that population, and why?

As I worked as an EXOS Tactical Performance Coach, EXOS Tactical Performance Cert along with the NSCA Tactical Certification were big in my development to learn that population.

Along with those certs, Cal Dietz has an exceptional “Tactical Performance Coach” book which does a great job explaining how to properly program concurrent (training all physical qualities) training principles which with the way the world is now with such short prep times I think could be brought to the world of athletics. With Gen Pop clients I think it can hit home to help you still program intelligently and keep them from potentially getting bored. I think it’s a great little layout if trying to set up some bootcamps.

Finally spending time with that population. Asking them questions about their jobs, their experience, and then watching some of the tasks they need to carry out during training. Not only does it help you understand what they need better but it forms relationships and trust between you and them and you do not come down as a dictator but a true leader that wants to help.

4. Do you have any advice for an up and coming strength and conditioning professional?

Don’t try to impress people by what you know. I made that mistake at an internship. I came in with the most experience and it was a big time internship so I wanted a job. Someone with MUCH less experience than me was given big training jobs while I was stuck doing busy work. When I finally approached our director I asked him why this was. He told me “I’m not liking your character. Although you are more experienced, I can teach that to the others, but I can’t teach character.” Be a good person before being a smart person.

Jay Mendoza


I actually met Jay while in an undergrad at Temple University many years ago, but our paths would again cross when he moved to Massachusetts as the head strength and conditioning coach of Brandeis University. Our circles are probably very similar because of the Philadelphia to Boston connections, but our experiences differ from my private sector work to his collegiate experiences.

1. What are your top three resources for getting stronger/more resilient?

One of my favorite books on getting strong is “5/3/1” by Jim Wendler. While some would argue it may not be the flashiest way of getting stronger, or may not provide enough, the longevity of this method proves its validity. While you can alter it to fit your specific population, I think the 4 week percent-based program 5/3/1 provides is a solid way to introduce progression with clients. What 5/3/1 made me realize is that training, no matter the goal, is a marathon, not a sprint. So it is important to always keep the end goal in mind and just try to be incrementally better each day.

Another resource I like for getting stronger is “The APRE” by Dr. Bryan Mann. I think it is a fantastic protocol when working with beginner populations. It provides weight adjustments depending on completed number of reps. For some of my athletes, they never know how much weight to move up, and sometimes we are not at the point where we are working on percent-based or RPE-based workouts. The APRE is a simple way of continuously progressing.

When I hear resilient, I think of bulletproofing the body so it can withstand demands. And since I work with athletes, my mind for some reason shifts to jumping. I am always amazed by watching athletes perform single leg take-offs or doing depth jumps from a 36in box. The ability to absorb all that force driving into the ground and reapply it upward without getting hurt is resilience to me. So for me, one of my go-to books is “Vertical Foundations” by Joel Smith. This book breaks down vertical movement like no other. I was blind to how much goes into jumping before reading this book. I feel most books and programs do not go into enough on how to teach jumps, or how to progress them, but jumps are highly intergral for sport.

2. What are your top 2-3 resources for exercise programming?

For exercise programming, I really enjoyed “Scientific Principles of Strength Training” by Dr. Mike Israetel, Dr. James Hoffman, and Chad Wesley Smith. I am a big fan of these 3 gentlemen as I feel they have a great ability to take complex material and package it in a way that is easy to understand, to enjoy, and to further apply. The book offers everything from specificity, fatigue management, and periodization. I think it is also important to note that as the book suggests, it is full of principles. If you are looking for a book to provide you with sample programs that you can regurgitate to your clientele, this isn’t it. But it will provide you with the tools needed to create well-thought, progressive, and result-oriented programs for people.

Another resource that I like for exercise programming is “The Black Book of Training Secrets” by Christian Thibaudeau. Thibaudeau uses his experience coaching powerlifters, olympic weightlifters, bodybuilders, and athletes and provides a great resource on how to train those populations. He goes over a lot of information and at the end provides lots of examples of workouts. I also think it provides a look into how training sessions and entire programs can be very different than just straight linear periodization, which was very helpful for me when I was just first starting out.

3. If you work with a specific population, what are your top resources for learning more on how to serve that population, and why?
Since I work with athletes, one of my top resources would be “High-Performance Training for Sports” by David Joyce. This is basically an anthology of sport training programs from some of the best strength & conditioning coaches around. It gives you insight into how elite coaches train elite athletes.

Another resource that I have used a lot lately, especially in this quarantine time, is the NSCA College Coaches Facebook group. It is raw information coming straight from the mouths of coaches who do what I do every day. Their insight is so valuable to me, because they are in my shoes. I find that so many of them are ready to help and provide information that it makes for a great community. Coaches helping coaches,

4. Do you have any advice for an up and coming strength and conditioning professional?

I think my advice would be to be a sponge and try to learn as much about everything, but then also practice it. I think it is easy to read about different training styles, but go out and actually apply it to yourself. I have done everything from powerlifting, to olympic weightlifting, to training the shotput (under the tutelage of one of my collegiate athletes I was working with) all for the purpose of learning how those programs and movements work. Do not pigeonhole yourself to one ideology or training style, there’s validity and applicability to them all.

Another piece of advice would be to go out and network. As I mentioned, there are tons of Facebook groups full of like-minded individuals who are willing to talk shop and lend some words of wisdom. Visit other coaches, watch a session, and connect with them. There is a lot to be learned.

Thanks for reading!

As always,
Keep it funky.