Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Need for Speed Part 4

Today's Workout:

Primary Goal - Increase Speed

Secondary Goal - Vertical Leap Enhancement

My method today for increasing speed was the General Transfer Training method, also used by Joe Defranco.

It involves performing strength exercise for the muscles used during sprinting followed by a 10m sprint. The strength exercise, in my case a Box Squat at 90% of my best weight reached Monday, serves as nervous system and muscle activator for the sprint which is performed about a 1min later.

There is also Specific Transfer Training which I will introduce in a few weeks time.

Depth Jump 4 x 5

GTT - Box Squat x 2 + 10m Sprint x 4 sets

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Need for Speed Part 3

In part 2 of this series of developing speed I ran through my 1st training day of the week so now it's time for Tuesday.

Primary Goal - Heavy Ass Sled Drags (HASD)

Secondary Goal - Speed, Vertical Leap Enhancement

If you haven't read about the benefits of sled/prowler training then you're way behind.

In the past it has been more of a conditioning tool (and still is) but there has been a shift in using more for more quality of work, rather then quantity.

My prowler is on order but you can easily make do with other stuff. For the last month I have used milk crates loaded with weights and some trx straps as a sled and yesterday I used a bench turned upside down with weights placed on it which worked a lot better as the crates get "stuck' in the carpet.

The idea of sled/prowler dragging for speed development is the position that it puts you in. As stated in part 2, my goal is to increase my speed over 10m so improvements needs to come in how I start, strength and technique wise.

The picture above shows a sprinters start, now look at the position the HASD puts me in:

So the beauty of the HASD is that is strengthens that use for sprinting, in an actual sprinting position due to the forward lean and triple extension required to actually drag the load. If you try and stay upright you simply won't get anywhere.

Now that we've strengthened our sprinting position then I actually put it into practice and about 1min after each sled drag, I do a 10m sprint. This method is called contrast training and is used a lot over at Joe Defranco's gym in the US with gridiron players.

So yesterday looked like this:

Depth Jump from a High Box 4 x 5
HASD + 10m Sprint x 6 (I ramped the sled drag each to a max set with each set just being a length of the studio which is about 20m - I didn't count steps).

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Need for Speed Part 2

In my last post I talked about my latest training goal is speed of which I am judging over 10m.

Why only 10m? Well for 2 reasons:

1 - You've gotta be fast over 10m before you can be fast over more then 10m and;

2 - Well that's all I can do in my studio without crashing through walls and I'd rather stay inside as you never know what the weather is gonna be at any given time of the day here in Melbourne.

For each training day this week I'll just touch on my focus for each day of which there are a few starting with yesterday (Monday).

Primary Goal - Strength

Secondary Goal - Technique, Vertical leap Enhancement

To keep this very simple, the stronger you are the more force you can put into the ground and thus, more force you can then "put out" in the form of momentum. Think of it like a car, the further you press on the accelerator, the faster you'll go.

To do this I'm working getting my back squat up to where it has to be, and where it needs to stay at the very least. To be honest pretty much hate squats and find them 10 x harder to do then deadlifts of which is is 30 - 40kgs heavier then my back squat.

I'm going for a minimalist approach as well so here's my squat routine from yesterday:

Back Squat Warm Up Sets 3 x 3
Top 1/4 Range of Motion Squat Off pins 3 x 3
Top 1/2 Range of Motion Squat Off Pins 3 x 3
Back Squat 1 x 3 (working set at my top weight) @ 115kgs (aim is to get it to 1.8 - 2 x bodyweight)

This is what I'll do each Monday with the partial squats sets be used with supramaximal weights to overload the movement. It is also being done to try to release the brakes on my nervous system which is what halts your training and is what real "overtraining" affects the most.

After the squat portion of the session I then do 5 - 10 sets of 10m at about 90% to work on technique with the most important points being:
  • achieve triple extension on the very first step
  • explode as hard as I can one the first step as well
  • keep steps close to the ground
  • stay low
  • do not over step which puts your foot too far in front of your hips which then means you actually "slow down" like when you run down a hill
My 2nd goal, and one I always have, is to increase my vertical leap. Basically I have a fascination with being able to jump high from Warwick Capper in the 80's to Lebron James (NBA) currently.

Increasing my squat numbers will assist with this and on 3 days of the week I'll also be doing depth jumps from various heights.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Need for Speed

Do you train to increase your speed?

Of course, everyone can do with a little more speed in a game where it is king.

What do you do?

50m sprints and 100m sprints?

Great but are you doing them in a fatigued state?

I bet you are, and that is where the problem lies.

Actual speed training is the focus of quality over quantity meaning each set is designed to cause absolutely no fatigue and even then you'll give yourself plenty of rest so each set is performed in an optimal speed development state.

Initially it's best to start with very small distances and work up because if you're not fast over 10 meters, you won't be fast over 20 meters.

This is the basis of my current training, speed development, so as I go along I'll outline bits and pieces that I'm doing and Friday I recorded some sprints which are up on the aussierulestraining youtube page. They're not great quality but this is the best of the 4 sets I did:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Build Untearable Hamstrings

Question I received today:

"...your blog is truly terrific, I play footy in the US and last season I pulled my hammy 2 - 3 times. After the season I took it real easy and allowed it months to heal and when it was time to start off season lifting/training I could feel a knot almost in my right hammy. I went to see a doctor and got x-rayed but there was no calcification then a physical therapist told me that basically I have overly tight hamstrings and also gave me some stretches and lifts for building flexibility and strength. I has got a lot better but I still feel like there's a knot there when I flex my hammy. Is there any recommendations for exercises for my training to assist in not having a repeat of last year?"


The dreaded hamstring is an all to common injury, but one that is avoidable with a bit of postural knowledge.

The first thing to look at are your hips and whether your backside sits higher then your front side. If they do then your stuck in excessive anterior pelvic tilt (APT).

This is caused by tight hip flexors, quads and ITB's and leads to a quad dominant movement pattern so as well loading the hams a lot from lack of glute activation, it puts excessive stress your knees from anterior loading.

Now most people think that there hamstrings are tight but if your are in APT, than your hamstrings are actually stretched from the back of the hips sitting higher then they should be, putting your hamstrings in a constant state of "stretch", which presents as neural tightness.

When your glute activation is non-existent, then your hamstrings are forced to work overtime as they are now doing the jobs of the powerful glute muscles, a job they are not too equipped to do for very long, if at all.

Moving onto the training aspect most players train for hamstrings for knee flexion with leg curl variations which is the hamstrings second function. It's main function is actually hip extension where your leg goes back behind the mid line of the body such as sprinting, kicking and jumping for a mark. The extension of the leg in the action, with simultaneous ankle, knee and hip extension is called triple extension which is detailed in the Aussie Rules Training Off Season Manual.

Triple Extension

So now that we know the benefits of complete hip extension into triple extension, we can now determine which exercises will strengthen the muscles that are weak (glutes) and taking the stress off the hamstrings.

Here's 2 more video's from the Aussie Rules Training Of Season Manual.

Glute Activation

Hip Dominant Movement Pattern Exercises

So now you have the tools to avoid any hamstring troubles if you haven't had them before, and to rehab yourself if you have done them before.

Thanks Trev