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Friday, February 26, 2010

Strength - what type do you have and train for?


Above is my man Eric Cressey, a strength coach from the US deadlifting 3.7 x his own bodyweight.

Strength is the foundation of all your athletic endeavours. Without adequate strength levels, you'll never develop great hypertrophy, speed or explosiveness if you don't have either of them naturally.

Strength can also be missing in many gym goers training programs meaning their training plan is pretty much useless for long term adaptations.

Strength can also be displayed in the following ways:

Absolute Strength - the heaviest load you can lift in an extreme situation (think of a mum lifting a car off her baby, sure she'll probably sustain multiple fractures of the lower back but little Johnny will be safe)

Maximum Strength - the heaviest load you can lift irrespective of time (think a 1 rep max where actual bar speed and acceleration is slow, a grinding rep if you will)

Relative Strength - the heaviest load you can lift in respect to your own bodyweight (think weight classes in competitive powerlifting - by the way this is the best predictor of almost any sport you can think of)

Static Contraction Strength - the heaviest load you can hold in the top range of motion (think lifting the bar off the pins in a bench press and just holding it at arm's length)

Speed Strength - the heaviest load you can lift with maximum acceleration (stopping each set once actual bar speed decreases)

Starting Strength - the ability to overcome inertia or your own bodyweight (think a 5m sprint off your defender on a lead)

Accelerative Strength - the ability to continue and max force production after starting strength has been displayed

Strength Endurance - the ability to maintain max force production after accelerative strength has been displayed

Explosive Strength - the ability to produce max force production quickly (think a boxer over 12 rounds)

As a general strength goal, you should be able to deadlift and back squat 2 x your bodyweight and bench press and front squat 1.5 x your bodyweight.

How strong are you?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Training Doesn't Stop on the Weekend

How many times have we seen this weekly training split:

Monday - weights
Tuesday - weights
Wednesday - cardio
Thursday - weights
Friday- weights
Saturday - off
Sunday - off

Why do so many of us take the weekend off training? Taking 2 days off is 28% of the week wasted, not to mention if you missed a session during the week.

Most of the time using a day on the weekend to train can make your training more effective as you then get better spacing between your workouts.

So the example above could change to:

Monday - weights
Tuesday - cardio
Wednesday - weights
Thursday - off
Friday - weights
Saturday - weights
Sunday - off

Another way is to double up on the weekend with workouts so you could do weights in the am on Saturday and cardio in the pm. You could spread it out more by doing cardio in the am on Sunday which will leave you almost 36hrs before weights again in the pm on Monday.

A hidden gem of training on the weekend is that you'll also be conscious of alcohol intake as you'll also be able to stay on track with your nutrition where otherwise one or both of these can really undo all the work you've done leading up to it.

That being said I'm heading to Lorne for my Buck's weekend but from then on I'll be training Monday through to Saturday for the next 4 months on my new program.

It's amazing how such a small tweak in programming can lead to more productive workouts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Performance Testing

How do you measure you training?

The point of training is to get better, bigger and faster but how exactly do you determine this?

Obviously body composition changes are easy to see and track with weight scales and measuring tapes but how do you know that you're actually performing better?

Aussie Rules Football entails almost every fitness quality you can imagine, it would have to be the most diverse game on the earth. With that in mind you need some easy and above all, specific performance indicators that you can easily implement within your training without requiring not much more then a measuring tape and a stop watch.

Here are some suggestions:

Relative Strength - Chin Up 3 rep max

Absolute Strength - deadlift, squat, bench press 1 rep max

Speed - timed 75m sprint

Acceleration - timed 20m sprint

Explosive Power - standing long jump, standing vertical leap

Endurance - 2km Time Trail

Agility - T Test

Just note that the listed fitness qualities aren't the only one's you can test, it's just a few idea's for you but if your simply a local or amateur footballer, you don't need to get too silly with these. If you can deadlift twice your bodyweight and you can express that strength in the form of speed, then you'll be ahead of 99% of the rest of the competition.

Different exercise are best suited for different tests and if you really want specify your tests to your actual position, you need to look at the actual demands and work:rest ratio of your position.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I'm Taking Over The World / NAB Cup 2010

I was recently interviewed by Chris Adams of www.usfootynews.com which can be seen here:

http://www.usfootynews.com/content/view/836/58/

I never knew there was such a following in the states for our great game but I hve already been contacted by a handful of them which is great.

It's half time of the NAB Cup Esssendon / West Coast Eagles game and jeez the bombers don't mind stuffing around with the ball. Yes they'll win games when they're skill is on but when it isn't, they'll struggle especially without the key forwards this year with the retirements of Lucas and Lloyd.

I'm also scouting for my Supercoach team too!

I especially like seeing who's bulked up and the pace of some the games. The skill might not be there but most are at peak fitness around this time if they've been injury free so it's very quick. Probably too quick for the skill level really.

How's your pre season going? Leave a comment and let us know what you've done to improve yourself as a player for this coming season.

I'm hoping being another year older works out for me really....

Monday, February 8, 2010

21st Century Core Training Part 5

I hope the videos have been a great help in assiting you in improving your core training.

Programming wise, I like to progress through the variations of those videos. I use something like this:

Progression 1 - stability exercises (prone and side stability hold position variations)
Progression 2 - longer lever stability exercises (push up position variations)
Progression 3 - anti rotation exercises (pallof press variations)
Progression 4 - anti extension exercises (roll out variations)
Progression 5 - full body exercises (mixed with progressions 1 through 4 as well as deadbug variations)

I also don't have a specific core training day but rather pop 1 or 2 exercises on each resistance training day, depending on how much volume you have on those days.

You don't need to go overboard with core volume and 2 - 4 sets of either reps (8 - 15) or time is the best way to go.

I demonstrated over 60 variations of core exercises in my videos but I'm sure with a little experimentation you could come up with another 60 simply by playing with your body position and using the cable lever angles.

Just don't go silly and try doing a single arm pallof press standing on a swissball, you'll actually get weaker.

Comments and requests encouraged.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

21st Century Core Training Part 4

The video's are finally done.

They are purely for demonstration purposes so if you have any questions on technique or programming for any of these exercises, please leave a comment.