Monday, April 26, 2010

A Week is a Long Time in Blogging...

We just had the Anzac Day long weekend and I failed miserably in my blogging attempts, not that I barely left the house or anything. Although on Sunday there was footy on TV from 11am to 11pm so that was 1 day gone.

Upsets a plenty this weekend too in the AFL. I only tipped 4 which unfortunately is a decent score for me this year but the great news is that the might Swans are on top of the ladder at 4 - 1 on percentage. With Brisbane, Geelong, the Bulldogs and Fremantle in the next month, it's the start we needed but I am unwavering in my faith in the Swans and we will win the premiership.

Supercoach wise I scored 2200 which is probably in my top 3 highest scores in my 4 years of doing it. A bloke from our league got the highest score in the whole thing a couple of weeks ago and my 2200 this week was only good enough for about 5th or 6th best overalls core in my league so some stiff opposition there. Plenty of trades and 100G left in the tank though so I'm still a big chance at 1-1.

I'm hoping everyone received my little email about sending me a question or 2 in regards to Aussie Rules Training and I have received a bunch already. Keep firing them through if you have any.

And lastly, I'm putting together an in season training e-book product which will hopefully be on sale very soon. If anyone knows how to set up an on-line order form page and how to link it to Paypal, please contact me on

Monday, April 19, 2010

Knock Knees

Knock Knees, or knee valgus, is extremely common in the general population and the football population and it is most commonly seen in the weight room during a squatting or single leg movement and on the football field during jumping (take off and landing).

The adductor magnus can be divided into 3 parts being the middle, anterior and posterior where the anterior portion is a good adductor. The middle and posterior portions are weak abductors but great hip extensors, so much so that it's frequently referred to as another hamstring.

The bicep femoris and the hamstrings produce as much as 50% of the hip extension strength during squats.

It also has a direct attachment to the lateral aspect of the femur, the lateral knee ligament and to the fibula which makes it a good lateral knee stabiliser as well as producing an external rotational force at the tibia so if it's weak then the knee will cave in which isn't from weak abductors or glutes, but rather a weak bicep femoris from the body consciously shifting into a stronger position.

Other symptoms include tight internal rotators such as the TFL, adductors and hamstrings (semitendonosis and semimembrosis) and weak hip external rotators such as the glutes and bicep femoris.

Now your solution will be to stretch the TFL and hamstrings, do more foam rolling, PNF stretching and hip mobility work. To strengthen the the glute maximus you need to get to the bottom of the squats and single leg exercises and do plenty of supine bridges.

For the glute medius you'll need to do mini band side steps and again single leg work (which works the glute medius to keep your lead leg straight) and most times you won't really need to isolate the bicep femoris.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tendonoitis vs Tendonosis

In our last post we touched on why the knee is commonly injured, mainly because it is in between 2 joints that require mobility and generally don;t have it, so it takes on this mobility role, even though it is built for stability.

A common diagnosis is patella tendonitis which is actually pretty rare as it is a short term and very easily treatable condition and can be cleared up in a matter of days through the use of some non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.

Tendonitis comes from having a knee flexion dominant movement pattern during squats, lunging and bending over to the ground and leg extensions will make this worse so you'll need to foam roll your ITB's and stretch your hip flexors and quads while activating and strengthening your glutes so they can work as a shock absorber.

Patella tendonosis is a long term condition which requires a bit more treatment.

If in fact you do have tendonosis, then you can try some eccentric decline squats doing 2 - 3 sets of 12 - 15 reps on a 15 degree decline twice a day. This may be uncomfortable at first and you may need to drop the reps initially but work up over a few weeks.

It is common for those who suffer from this to be in a greater degree of anterior pelvic tilt on that side then the unaffected side which means you need to:
  • activate and strengthen the glutes of that side
  • you need more external oblique work on that side
  • you need to address the hip flexors of that side also as 1 or more of them will be tight and short, thus pulling you into anterior pelvic tilt. This can be diagnosed through a Thomas test
So once you have cleared up the tendonosis, then work to iron out these deficiencies.

Friday, April 16, 2010


With the lower back, the knee is probably the most injured joint in the body. The correlation of both of these 2 area's of the body is that they both have numerous other bodyparts that can influence the way it reacts to movement. For example, it's said that the knees are at the mercy of the hips.

If you go back to the joint by joint approach to training series, you'll see that the hip require mobility and the knee stability. When the hips don't have the mobility required to perform certain movements then the range of motion to complete that movement must come from somewhere else. That somewhere else is the knees in most cases causing a joint built for stability, developing mobility and thus weakness. Add to this limited ankle mobility and now your getting mobility for 2 joints, from the 1 joint. Not cool.

Most problems with your knees can be resolved when you clear up adhesion's in the glute medius, rectus femoris, ITB/TFL, psoas and the calves while improving your ankle and hip mobility while activating and strengthening your glutes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Training Around Injuries During the Season 2

Let's now break these exercise modifications down a little.

Unilateral Exercises

These are exercises that are performed by using either 1 leg or 1 arm. The best single arm exercises include db bench presses, shoulder presses, rows and pulldowns. It is important to train the uninjured side as the nervous system activation can carryover to the injured side so you won't be set back as far as if you did nothing at all when you can return to your full training. They are also useful for still lifting a relative heavy load but as the stress is directed through 2 limbs independently, the nervous system isn't fatigued but the actual muscle is so they are great for in season training.

Using Machine Based Exercises

Machine based training takes keeping the nervous system fresh to a higher level then unilateral training as there are plenty of stabiliser muscle use during free weight exercises for balance and coordination purposes. I'm not a fan at all of machine although there are better machines and some even train the strength curve and provides resistance throughout the entire range of movement. The better machine exercises are pulldown and rowing machines. I don't class cables as machines either.

Deloading Programs

These are staples of powerlifting programs and are pre planned to give the nervous system, the joints and the muscles a rest week, of which usually becomes after a heavier or higher volume week. The aim is to over reach a little during the week prior and then the decrease in volume and/or intensity allows for gains and growth during the deload week and also ensuring your back to 100% freshness for start of the next training phase. Depending on how you feel during the "peak" week, you may need to decrease intensity by 10 - 20%, decrease volume 40% or both. For most of us you'll only need to deload the strength focused exercises but it also gives you a chance to get some technique work in with sub maximal weights.

Restoration / Recovery Programs

Athlete's especially need these at some stage during the year but they can be handy if popped in during the season as a form of deload week. During these phases of training you would emphasise and re-establish activation of various muscles (glutes, lower traps, core) as well as taking a lot of time to get soft tissue work done to iron out any trigger points and muscle tightness restrictions you may have developed so for during the season. During this time you would also use a lot of exercise from the unilateral, machine and cable lists from above to rest the nervous system.

Injury Prevention / Corrective Exercise Programs

This goes along the same lines as restoration / recovery programs but with a focus on rehabbing past and present minor injury and sore spots as well as using various dynamic flexibility and mobility drills to keep optimal tissue length and joint mobility. Exercises that may be included for rehab purposes include glute activation and low level glute strengthening exercises such as supine bridges, pull throughs and split squat and reach variations for the lower body as well as prone trap raises and serratus activation exercises to restore upward and downward rotation of the scapula.

I think most first round games are tomorrow so I wish everyone good luck and I hope you get a win.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Training Around Injuries During the Season

Piggybacking on my last post, let's go through and specify how we can modify out training when an injuries or sore spot presents itself.

Use Less Nervous System Intensive Exercises - the nervous system requirements of a spinal loaded back squat far and away greater then for a leg press which will tax the actual muscles more then anything. If you have programmed for a back squat but you don't really feel as though you can't really give your maximum performance because of injuries or soreness, then it's a great idea to keep fatigue at bay and use a lower load exercise with the perfect choice being a single leg exercise like lunge or step up variation which will train tour legs as hard, but with a lot less load.

Using Unilateral Exercises - these are the perfect choice for when you injure a knee or a shoulder in that it allows you train the good side hard, which can actually provide some nervous system activation to the side NOT being trained.

Using Machine Based Exercises - I'm not the greatest of fan of machine based training, but if you are really feeling run down then they are still a viable option. As a side note I don't class cable attachments as machines as they allow you to move in whatever path of resistance you naturally do, so definitely opt for cables before machines where you can.

Using a Deloading Program - deloading refers to decreasing intensity (the weight your using) and/or the volume (total sets and reps) at planned periods of time to rest the nervous system and the joints in preparation for the next phase of training. These should always included in your program, especially if your lifting heavy with squats, deadlifts and bench presses.

Using a Restoration / Recovery Program - I have a few of these made up for the times that I need them and they basically consist of activation, bodyweight, cable and light weight exercises. Run through these in a circuit fashion.

Using an Injury Prevention / Corrective Exercise Program - common sites of injuries are the ankles, knees, hips, lower back and shoulders so you would basically choose 2 - 3 exercises that will address each of them and run through them circuit style.

The basis is to always be prepared and if you need to break away from your planned training, then you'll have plenty of options to cover it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

In Season Injuires

Injuries and sore spots are inevitable during the season and to be honest, you should expect them which means that the program we are currently doing may not be able to be followed like it is planned out to be.

You need to be flexible in your training and programming as you don't know when these injuries, or what injuries, you'll sustain during any given season. I have been blessed to not sustain any serious football injuries during the year and couldn't have missed more then 5 games with an injury during my career. Even when I severed all my ligaments and tendons on my right hand right at the completion of the 2001 season, I played the first game of the 2002 season.

This makes it important that you have back up exercises or maybe a back up program during the season. Choosing an alternative method of training can include:
  • using less nervous system intensive exercises
  • using unilateral exercises
  • using machine based exercises
  • using a deloading program
  • using a restoration / recovery program
  • using an injury prevention program
  • using a corrective exercise program
This set up provides plenty of options of what to do when an injury or a sore spot presents itself. If it is an injury then work around it, don't just stop training thew area. If it a sore spot then you may simply need to use a less intensive exercise for the day.