Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sarah Andrews Training Update

Back in January I introduced one of the female footballers I'm training Sarah Andrews who has come from a roller derby background of recent times and moved to footy last year for her first season.

As mentioned in her introduction post, she had been almost bolted to ground from her roller derby days with almost zero existence of elastic ability of her muscles and tendons.

Sprinting is like a huge set of rubber bands being pulled back and let go but all the time spend in an isometric semi-squat position for roller derby, and the use of skates to roll on robbed her of running ability.

Our first goal was to get her body to get to know running again so we focused on a lot of tempo runs over at about 90% that focused on total relaxation of her muscles with absolutely zero concern for speed or distance.

All we wanted to do was avoid straining which creates tension and tension slows muscle contractions down.

During this she developed a shin splints, which she has had on and off since she started footy so we needed to back off a bit and space things out better although she was reporting that running felt 100% more comfortable in this time.

She also has had all sorts of issues when her cycle finishes which would leave her totally bed ridden for 3 - 5 days so we also needed to work out a plan around that.

We sat down online style and hashed out a plan for February based on the menstrual cycle post above and it seems to be a winner.

She only had 3 days off which means we were able to get back into full training earlier then expected which is always a good thing.

This is when we actually started up the sprinting speed program.

So far this month she has performed 4 sprinting sessions on her own down in Tassie and this is what had happened:

5m Standing Sprint x 1.63 - 146secs
10m Standing Sprint x 2.65 - 2.50secs
15m Standing Sprint x 3.46 - 3.33secs
20m Standing print x 4.46 - 4.18secs
Flying 5m Sprint x .81 - .76secs
Flying 10m Sprint x 1.67 - 1.60secs
Flying 15m Sprint x 2.56 - 2.43secs
Flying 20m Sprint x 3.48 - 3.23secs

Not bad results in 4 sessions really but she's a hard one to please!

This weekend she came over to Melbourne and we had booked a sprinting session for Saturday except she was all feverish and we cancelled it which was disappointing for me as I wanted to see what we could achieve in person and not on grass that;s up to the middle of your shin.

Low and behold Saturday night she texted letting me know she'd come good and we booked in Sunday morning for the sprint session.

After going through the be activated activation treatment and then running her through an extended warm up to what I'd given her online, we did our normal sled sprints paired with body weight sprints followed by some flying sprints.

Getting back to roller derby stealing her running ability away from her, what it did do that was a positive was to provide her with great strength which also required for putting force into the ground to generate output or horizontal propulsion - something that 99% of women lack.

I could already see from her videos that she sends me that we needed to focus on technique a fair bit so she could use the strength she already had and translate into speed...and we did.

In session 5 with me this morning we improved all those times above except for one!

5m Standing Sprint x 1.63 - 146secs
10m Standing Sprint x 2.65 - x 2.44secs
15m Standing Sprint x 3.46 - x 3.20secs
20m Standing print x 4.46 - x 3.99secs
Flying 5m Sprint x .81 - x .70secs
Flying 10m Sprint x 1.67 - x 1.45secs
Flying 15m Sprint x 2.56 - x 2.25secs
Flying 20m Sprint x 3.48 - x 3.10secs

Fair to say we are both pretty happy with all of that and really all it took was a little bit of technique work to optimise the speed and strength she already had - a hugely underrated part of speed training in my book.

I've still got 9 spot available for a 2 week training trial for women footballers so if you want IMMEDIATE gains like this, then fill in this 30secs application form and I'll be in contact very soon. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Local Footy Games from AFL/TAC Fitness Coaches Burgo and Matty Part 5/9

Part #1, #2, #3 and #4.



At Port Adelaide of it would be determined by objective measures like GPS.

It would also be dependent on the time of the season, previous and future opposition as well as player wellness scores.

At PAFC, how do you decide running load/interval specifics in regards to volume per session/week, rest periods (heart rate or time based), drop off points for output etc?


At the Bushrangers we are lucky in a sense that we have some GPS units and we have some historical data so I can set a framework of "OK, we have 15kms to cover in 2 sessions, the coach wants x, y and z, we know certain drills give us x amount of meters so what else do we need to get the loads that we want?"

We will usually have one longer session with more total meters and more craft work then another shorter session with more high speed meters to give the players training variety.

We generally will go up in volume for 3 weeks then deload them.

Our rest periods within the drill will be dependent on the energy system we are targeting and between drills something I'm big on is getting all groups (we can have 5 groups of 10 players each) finishing at the same time, getting their break, then getting straight out and increasing the density of the session rather then letting them finish whenever the coaches feel like it and potentially having 1 group standing around for 5 minutes.


Yep, I completely understand what you;re saying but you won't any text anywhere that someone will put their arse on the line for and say "all you need to do is follow exact numbers and you'll be right" because 1 - what works for them won't work for you and 2 - people are protective of their IP. 

It's much easier  to talk in broad terms and avoid any kickbacks.

I think there could be (and should be), better guidelines for L/A coaches but I know they cover some basic stuff at he Level 2 and 3 coaching courses.

The easiest way without technology to is to use Fosters (RPE x Duration / 90min session x 5/10 rpe = 450 points) where if we want a 1000 point week we now have 550 to play with for our second session of the week so we can either go at 110mins at 5/10 or 70mins at 8/10 to bet there.

Next week, we increase it by 10% to get to 1100 points.

I think it's achievable for any coach at any level, its not hard, although there can be obvious problems with using RPE as everything is 7/10 for some reason!


I have racked my brain to come up with some solid recommendations for L/A coaches to train their players under but I just can't seem to make it implementable. 

I'll continue to work on it though!

Again simple player wellness and training scores can help you develop your training over the short and long term to ensure all players maintain optimal fitness levels throughout the season.

Here are some blogs I've done on player monitoring from this time last year:

I'll be making this available again this season so if you're club is interested in tracking these things then we can set up a spreadsheet where we can both enter values, I can analyse it for you and provide training recommendations for individual, groups or teams of players.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ACL Injuries in Women Footballers - Win the Battle!

There were another 2 or 3 season ending knee injuries in the AFLW season this week and it;s not just the AFLW season they'll miss, but the entire year for local footy and work.

It could potentially cost them next years AFLW season as well depending on the severity of the injury and how successful and seamless the recovery process is.

I probably should have done this post as one of the initial blogs for Women's footy but I did touch on it in my inaugural women's football post.

I'll re-post a few of the main points from that post real quickly.


During adolescence, males get stronger as their bodies get heavier from natural development so relative strength can improve at the same rate. In females, their strength levels can cease development while their bodies continue to get heavier and develop, essentially decreasing relative strength and leaving women athletes unable to control their bodies optimally to stay out of injury risk zones.


Females naturally have more pliable and flexible muscle and connective (ligaments/tendons) tissue. This can lead to hyper mobility which can be an injury risk if not "corrected" through ample stability training. It also results in slower contraction time which can leave you vulnerable during max velocity movements.

To paint this picture think of tight rubber band versus and loose rubber band. When pulling them back to slingshot forward, which is pretty much how propulsion/sprinting works, you obviously don't need to pull back the tighter band as far as the loose band. The unfortunate thing here is that you want to go as hard as you can and when the loose rubber band can't tighten in time to sling your forward, you'll loose all joint stability and the connective tissue are out under huge strain to to do this job and snap!

I would be very hesitant to stretch any female at all, let alone footballers.


A week or 2 ago I posted anout what happens to the female body on phyioslogicval and pscological level through the the 28 day mentrual cycle.

As mentioned above, womens bodies are extremely pliable but at various times during your cycle, you can become extra, extra pliable - obviously a recipe for diaster if not accounted for during your training.


This isn't exclusive to women but it can probably have more of an affect of what you're strengths and weakness will be compared to men. The ideal build for a female runner is small breats and a small waist which will mean less body mass to move, a decreased average Q angle and thus decreased injury risk.

If you're not that shape, and not everyone will be, then it would be wise to plan your training in the long term to focus on a combination of off and on-legs cardio, rather then just running, running, running.

Let's look at more ACL specific implications.

Females can be as high as 8 x more likely to injure an ACL then men.

Females have a far narrower space for the ACL to pass through leaving you extremely vulnerable during twisting motions, even of very short range of motion.

 The Q angle is the angle from the the most lateral part of your hips to the lateral knee and the greater angle this is, the greater potential for "knock knees" you'll have during change of direction and landing movements. This is the twisting/rotational movement discussed above that can put you in the high risk injury category.

Deceleration and landing mechanics are rarely taught to any athlete let alone women, where strength and mechanics can improve your capacity to perform both in a safe manner can be greatly improved.

The posterior chain refers to all the muscles up the back of the body such as the glutes, hamstrings and upper back muscles that can often be neglected in all forms of training, or not trained enough. In regards to ACL injury prevention, the glutes can stabilise the knee from up top and decrease some of the unwanted movement that can occur. During deceleration from sprinting or when changing direction the hamstrings can also assist strongly to decrease the "lag time" mentioned above in reference to looser muscle and connective tissue.

Most ACL tears in women will occur from a 1 step and deceleration movement, cutting movements, change of direction movements and landing from a jump with inadequate knee and hip flexion, essentially landing with straight legs which leaves your muscles unable to take any of the stress of the movement and a lapse in concentration can also result in an unanticipated change of direction.

It's important to know that 70% of female ACL injuries are non-contact and occur with your feet on the ground.

Because of the weakness described above a lot of women will change direction in a more vertical position and will also land with less knee bend which is simply the body taking the path of least resistance to get the job done - strengthening those muscles and actions will change the mechanics of how your body moves and functions, and hopefully take away from the high injury risk category.

The PEP program was designed by Santa Monica Sports Medicine Foundation specifically for women athletes of all sports.

It's a program to be done 3/week and it takes about 20mins each time. I would be wary of fatigue playing a apart in this program essentially rendering it useless as you won't be using the muscles, or the mechanics you're meant to be so I'd suggest at least starting with 10mins x 6/week to spread the stress initially.


Jog with High Knee + Full Hip Extension

Side Shuffle with Straight Torso and Staying Low

Backwards Running Maintaining a Slight Knee Bend At All Times


Walking Lunge

Nordic Curls

Single Leg Calf Raise + Hip Flexion Slow and Controlled


Line Jumps

Lateral Line Jumps

Line Hops

Lateral Line Hops

Forward Hops

Backwards Hops

Lateral Hops Abduction

Lateral Hop Adduction

Drop Squat  + Stick Landing

Drop Split Squat + Stick Landing

Vertical Jump + Stick Landing

Split Squat Jump + Stick Landing

Hieden Hop + Stick Landing


Run + 3 Step Deceleration

Zig Zag Run + Push Off

Bounding Run

Like I said, I think it;ls best to start off by cutting this in half choosing half of the exercises and doing them all in go then doing the other half the next day x 6/week in total.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Train Footy Tuesday/Thursday, Do This Wednesday

Practice games are right around the corner which means training time is decreased, recovery resources decrease and you need to find a way to train the same amount of stuff you do now, but in less time.

This less training time usually results in you skipping the small but still important rocks, and just banging out the big rocks but that simply means that every session is balls to the wall which is not really applicable for us L/A footballers who work all day then have to add training on top of that.

Your footy week should be prioritised in this order:

  1. Be 100% for game day
  2. Recover enough from Saturday to give 100% on Tuesday
  3. Recover enough from Tuesday to give 100% on Thursday
  4. Any extra training you do on your own
Recovery isn't just rest and sleep, although that is a big part of it, where your thoughts are simply on muscle tissue regeneration.
What you also need to think of is getting your body back to a parasympathetic state because it is only then that it can rest and regenerate. 

Having 20 beers and then sleeping for 18hrs isn't really tissue regenerating stuff, even though you've been in bed for almost a day. The alcohol will put your body in a highly sympathetic state while it processes the food and drink from last night, especially the alcohol in your blood. Only once that is complete can your body actually get to the resting stage which may be Sunday or even Monday.

Between training session you only have 46 or so hours to regenerate for Thursday training and for this I propose you use an aerobic capacity corrective exercise type session session.

This is where all the little rocks you skip during the week get a look in, you develop some extra aerobic capacity which is what you need to recover from bouts of top speed sprinting come game day, you get to train all the muscles that support your prime movers and if you do all of this at a RPE of 4 - 5/10, you'll feel a lot better and your body will have greater readiness to hit Thursday training then if you sit at home watching Swanny on Celebrity Get Me Outta Here.

My schedule right now is:

Monday - High Intensity Day
Tuesday - Medium Intensity Day
Wednesday - Low Intensity Day
Thursday - High Intensity Day
Friday - Medium Intensity Day
Saturday - Low Intensity Day
Sunday - Off

Wednesday is my training hump day which is when I perform this recovery session.

So I'll do 3 - 4 circuits that look like this:

Boxing x 60secs, Corrective Exercise x 10 - 20 reps, Corrective Exercise x 10- 20 reps

I'll have 3 - 4 different mini-circuits of these and I do than all in a row which will take me 35 - 40mins on average.

I keep my pace in check (a 4 - 5/10 isd slow, a lot slower then you would normally do this I guarantee) which is crucial to hit the aerobic pathways - I don't want to even know that anaerobic (in complete rest sprinting etc) exists during these sessions or I won't get what I want out of it.

The boxing looks like this:

Very, very easy.

Here are some exercises I've used as the corrective/isolation exercises.

Whatever exercise you use, just use one that focuses on either stability of mobility, do it for medium to high reps but as you can see from my facial expressions, I'm not going near failure.

Give it a shot today!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Why I Love Training Women Footballers + Limited Offer for 10 Women Footballers Only!

Through my years as a personal trainer I've probably had more female than male clients. This has provided me with the opportunity to train many different types of women, many different types of ways and I feel I can deliver the type of session that is fun, challenging and different to other trainers.

This also holds true for when I train my football players.

Women have a different skill set when it comes to physical qualities with some being very specific to footy, many of which I outlined in this blog.

Most women are trained with high reps, low weight and little to no rest periods which is great if you're training for body composition or whatever but footy is a completely different game.

You can't train Crossfit and play footy.

You can't train train marathons and play footy.

You can't train powerlifting and play footy.

All 3 of these modes have parts that cross over into footy at various points, but that's purely where the similarities end.

Whether I am training male or female footballers my theory is always the same.

Step 1 - Increase Your Top Speed

Every contest for the footy is essentially a race which makes your speed to get to, and away from the contest, critical to you and your teams success.

Step 2 - Increase Your Aerobic Capacity

Most people think of aerobic capacity as time trials and such but as easy as these tests are to administer, they really provide little data that can dictate on-field performance.

I like to class aerobic capacity by your resting heart rate, heart rate recovery and anaerobic threshold.

If you can improve 1, 2 or all of these, then you're aerobic capacity and on-field performance will go through the roof.

So you've got speed and you've got great aerobic capacity but what does that mean exactly?

If you have great speed then to actually be able to use it as an advantage over other players, you need to able to display that top speed, or close to, as often as you can during the course of a game.

Being able to do it once counts for nothing, unless you only go on for the last minute of the game, burst out of a pack and kick the winning goal on the siren.

What high levels of aerobic capacity will do is to allow you to recover from these bouts of top end sprints faster, so you'll be able to display them more often.

Have a look at Cat Phillips from the Demons/Pies game on Saturday night, especially the 2nd goal:

Without speed she probably doesn't get to that position when she needed to, she probably doesn't get there without any other Collingwood players being in the vicinity and she doesn't burn off that poor Collingwood player either.

Without speed she's "just another footballer", except I know she comes from Ultimate Frisbee, I play footy with her boyfriend, and all the "Frisbee's" as we call them, have super endurance and pretty good speed but she has X-factor speed at women's level.

At the Olympic level it is genetics that get you to the medal races but they are top .0001% in the world, but at local/amateur women's football level, which AFLW still is, correct training can produce astounding speed increases in women.

Using my female footballers for example, by using simple training sessions, at maximum intensity/speed with adequate rest periods, along with using near maximum loads in the gym for low to moderate reps, we have managed to decrease speed times for up to 4 sessions in a row before we start to stabilise them.

An improvement as small as .001 of  second is still great progress in sprinting terms, especially if these gains are made consistently.

When it comes to high intensity training, or what might be better referred to as nervous system training, women are a blank canvas and this is why I love training women footballers.

The brain might decide what you'll do but the nervous system dictates to what level you do it at.

Women have rarely, if ever, been subjected to such a huge stimulus which in turn can have a huge effect on your performance output once you start to train like that.

Just note that high intensity is not to be confused with high fatigue.

Intensity is the level at which you are training at according to your maximum output.

So for running, top end or max velocity speed over 10 - 20m is your 100% output.

So for Moz her personal best flying 20m sprint is 2.75secs which equals 7.27 meters per second.

To train true aerobic capacity which we want to do so at about 60% intensity means she should drop her speed to just 4.362 meters per second.

So a 15sec tempo run for her would cover: 4.362 x 15 = 65.43m.

This would ensure that she is training only the aerobic pathways during this specific drill but most football players, men and women, will read 15secs and go all out for that time.

This results in you by-passing the aerobic pathways as it's too fast to rely on oxygen for fuel for, but also too slow to train the alactic power pathways (speed) so you end up training "in the middle".


Yep, that's right.

The way you probably train most of time is not optimal.

It does have it's place in footy training don't get me wrong but this type of training can only be performed for 4 - 6 weeks before performance starts to drop off.

Unfortunately most footy clubs start off with this and continue it for weeks on end over the summer, essentially breaking down their players as it's very hard to recovery from, that type of training.

That being said your team training will be predominantly "in the middle" which is fine but you need to start training at the "slow and fast' ends of the spectrum in your own time.

Enter this very, very limited offer to women footballers only.

I will make available a 2 week trial period of a program that focuses exclusively on speed and aerobic capacity that fits in and around your current team training nights.

I have a template that I'll be using but I can modify it to fit your needs if needed.

There will be specific requirements you'll need to fulfill while doing the program as well as after it but you'll be instructed how to all these simple and quick tasks.

I can only limit this 2 week trial to 10 women footballers so simply fill in this application form, and I'll be in contact with any follow up questions I have.

With a Facebook page of over 1000 and a Twitter of over 400 plus the boom of women's football right now, you're best to apply for this immediately to give yourself the best chance of getting a spot.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Local Footy Training Gems from AFL/TAC S&C Coaches Burgo and Matty Part 4/9

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.



I would some game based drills straight away.

Forget the running because that will turn players off.

Small sided games and competitive drills that involve running would make up 90% of my training.


Yes it would but that's why you do them.

The games will be compromised but it's certainty more "game like' than doing laps!


I think 10 weeks is fine but there's a difference between presenting in some sort of basic condition and clearly rocking up deconditioned.

Hopefully the club culture is strong enough that most of your list is in the first category.

I'm fine with busting your arse through November and December, at L/A level there are different priorities such as spending more time with family, playing Cricket, going fishing or whatever...but be accountable and respectful enough to your club and your teammates to present appropriately.

I'm a fan of Max Aerobic Speed Running which many aren't but I find it easier to condition large groups of varied fitness levels.

I would start slow and let them get a few sessions under the belt and build some momentum and confidence before really pulling the trigger on them.

If you whack them straight up then you'll fond some of them will opt out quickly and only appear the Thursday training before round 1 to just slide into the 2's.

My Summary

As a personal trainer my work hours are 6 - 9am then I'm back from 5:30 - 8pm, so I am not even a January Flyer!

I simply cannot train with my team unless somehow I have a bunch of re-schedules on a Tuesday or Thursday that will allow me to get down to training which will happen maybe once or twice a year.

If we're making finals then I will try my best to get 1 of the training nights off in the lead up and during them for a bit of team harmony and bonding.

That being said my off-season training starts 1 - 2 weeks after the last game of the previous season so even though I don't train with my team, I've trained more then any of them as far as sessions completed is concerned.

Since September 5th I've completed 125 of my own training sessions.

I do this for the same reasons mentioned above by Matty (club/teammates respect) but also because I'm still chasing a premiership before I head off into the Master's footy sunset.

I'm the oldest player at the club by a pretty long way so I need to maintain my body and attributes to keep up with every younger players coming through from my team and the opposition.

Most importantly to hold my spot without training then game days are ultra important because if I perform each Saturday then there's no reason to drop me for "not training", knowing that I'm doing more then enough on my own, and far more then any reserves footballer has ever done!

Coaches need to train blokes who start training a bit different to the main group, maybe pulling them out of drills a bit early when they seem to be blowing up badly as it will increase injury risk for them, and decrease the drill quality for thew rest of the team.

But instead of pulling them out to watch, get them to do something else so they don't feel like they are letting the team down - just some stationary skill work and use it as "active recovery". 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Women's Football - Anna Moz Week 2 Results

So for the last 2 weeks I've been training a young AFLW hopeful Anna Morrow, who this year is lining up for the Darebin Falcons after moving up to whole divisions, to further her football.

In week 1 she reaped some excellent results that you can read about here.

In week 2 the results got even better!

4 Point (Sprinter) Start

5m x 1.31secs / 1.24secs = .07secs / 5% improvement

10m x 2.25secs / 2.12secs = .13secs / 6% improvement

15m x 3.00secs / 2.77secs = .23secs / 8% improvement

20m x 3.66secs / 3.59 = .07secs / 2% improvement

2 Point (Standing) Start

5m x 1.29secs / 1.31secs = stabilised last week's best time

10m x 2.16secs / 2.14secs = .02secs / 1% improvement

15m x 2.84secs / 287secs = stabilised last week's best time

20m x 3.55secs / 3.52secs = .03secs / 1% improvement

Flying Sprints

5m x .63secs / .54secs = .09secs / 14% improvement

10m x 1.28secs / 1.30secs = stabilised last week's best time

15m x 2.06secs / 1.31secs = .75secs / 64% improvement

20m x 2.80secs / 2.75 = .05secs / 2% improvement

You'll noticed that for some sprints I listed her status as "stabilised last week's best time' which means she was able to hold onto your personal best time and as she can now repeat it, she now has it "permanently" which should be the minimum aim each session.

Unfortunately you might not put it all together in a single run and run a 20m personal best which is why I take splits as it can show where you broke down and what we need to focus on.

Over the weekend I;l list her improvements from her very first day with me to the what we're currently up to.

If you feel that possessing more speed would enhance your game (i.e. it will every single time!) then fill out this 10sec application form and I'll be in touch very soon.