Sunday, May 27, 2012

June Newsletter Contents

Just putting the finishing touches on the June Newsletter and here's the contents and welcome page for it:

Welcome Page..........................................................2
To Periodise or Not to Periodise?..............................3
Auto Regulation Training............................................3
Set to Set Ramping....................................................4
Neural State Testing...................................................5
Warming Up..............................................................6
Warm Up Sequencing................................................7
A Sample Gym Day...................................................7
In Season Speed Training...........................................8
In Season Anaerobic Endurance Training....................8
Scheduling Your In Season.........................................9
June Training Program................................................10 


Just coming off a wet and windy May weekend of footy, it’s 7 games in and by now you’re probably feeling a sore spot or two. Not only are they just plain annoying but they can also limit what you can do on the training as you hope it won’t turn into an injury and times on the sidelines!

This month we continue with the in season training theme but with a greater focus on training in the gym wile touching on track training too.

I used to be one of those hit the weights in the off season, leave them to gather dust during the in season blokes but now that I am lot more knowledgeable on the subject of all things training, I have now embraced in season training.

Nowadays I do 4 gym sessions a week, 2 x lower and upper body sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and I am a big believer that this is the reason that at age 33, I do not miss a week of football.

If you’ve had injuries before then it is essential that you do gym training on top of your team  training but unfortunately when most blokes think gym work they think of muscle draining bodybuilding workouts and think that they don’t have enough time or they’re too sore to get through the workouts.

Now the point of this newsletter and my site is to provide training specific, up to date information in the hope to debunk many of the terrible and outdated training myths that are still doing the rounds (crunches anyone??)

To purchase simply click on the Paypal link to the right and as always let me know any questions you have or topics you'd like covered.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kick and Turn Video

A simple marking and kicking warm up drill and a good one to do with a few mates at the park:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Center Bounce Video

Loving Monday night football although it will past my school night bedtime by the time it finishes!!

It's half time so I'll quickly add another video from the bloke who posts them on YouTube, this one focuses on center bounces:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Zone Defence Video

Here's a 2nd video that looks at a zone defence from a kick out and a simple modification you can use to make your teams defence more effective:

I'm starting to map out the June edition of the monthly newsletter so if you want something covered let me know.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Take On Essendon's Injury Woes

As of April 30th, Essendon have an injury list of 15 deep. Of these 15 injuries 7 are listed as "hamstring".

The old "pulled a hammy excuse" heard in many a country football club change rooms is a case of reality for the Bombers at the moment.

There has been quite a bit of publicity on this topic, mainly because they hired a new strength and conditioning coach Dean Robinson who has has past success with the Geelong premiership teams.

The man clearly knows his shit but the question remains, why all the injuries and could they have been avoided?

Now from where I stand, if you have your best players out on the park, you're a chance to win every game. As a strength and condoning coach and a personal trainer, my number 1 goal is not injure the client for 2 reasons.

#1 - people pay me to improve their performance, not get injured

#2 - clients pay my bills so when they don't train, they obviously don't pay

This puts my number 1 priority squarely on preventing injuries before they occur.

The big talk has been about how Essendon and in particular coach James Hird and Dean Robinson, have continued to train at a high volume from the pre season right through to now where other teams might provide some extra time off early in the season to combat game soreness and playing time loads so as not peak too early or have players do more work then they are capable of at this stage of their fitness.

Overtraining is term used far too much in sport and training of all kinds. Only professional athletes will even have a sniff of a chance of overtraining, everyone else under recovers through ordinary nutritional and sleeping habits. Do you really think those 10 cans of beer and no dinner after a game on a Saturday is helping your recovery? I hope not.

So here are some idea's on what I think might be the cause of this, bearing in mind I have no idea what their  training regime was, is or will be.

Extra Bodyweight

There has also been a lot of talk of the bigger bodies putting more strain on the players bodies thus causing these injuries. I don't agree with this fully as they would have been running while they were putting on the added weight and therefore their bodies would have adjusted to the added bulk, and learnt to "run with it". Why wasn't there many injuries during the pre season, when running volume is at it's highest? Players from all teams put on weight during the off season and avoid injuries so this is not a definitive excuse.

I gained 7 or 8kgs one off season which at the time was a 10 - 15% weight gain. Granted I was stick at a great height of 168cms but relatively, it is actually more then these Esseond players. They did have me covered for running volume by a long way but I was still doing pre season team training on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday and another run on the weekend and I have always been injury free, even now at 33.


As noted above overtraining is very real, but only for elite athletes and I class AFL players in the elite of the elite. There is simply no other activity on earth that covers as many strength and fitness components as AFL.

Professionals train everyday, hard, everyday. Their body gradually condition themselves to handle the extra stress that is put on them. If you have previously lifted 100kgs on the deadlift, then the body will "set itself" at a higher level in case you try to lift a heavier weight. Basically it does this through increased nervous system activation and coordination as well increasing muscle cross sectional area to handle the heavier loads placed on them in the future.

With the average age of AFL teams being about 22 years old, that means players are being thrown into the rigours of AFL football at 18 and expected to be at their peak, or at least close to in 4 years. Couple this with the lack or sub standard weights training they've done prior to draft day and it means that their bodies have a lot of maturing to do so it would make sense that teas need to be cautious of players and trying to build them into machines so quickly. You wouldn't do it with a 16 year old so why do it with an 18 year old??

Now I am not convinced that Essendon have overtrained their players in the true sense because when you are truly overtrained you should actually get sick, lose motivation which would be more then evident in any training sessions you would do leading up to the game. Teams are now spending up more then ever to analyse player training and playing volume to be sure that they can recover to 100% as soon as they can.

I would hope that if this is happening then teams are onto this far before it begins because it can be a long way back.

So if its not over training then what else could it be?


If you go to this story here on Essendon's new S&C Coach, about half way down Dean says " the end of the day when you accelerate people and you do push them you find weaknesses. In the first 4 weeks we wanted to find the weaknesses and once we found them we could strengthen them..."

I'm not sure what sort of assessent protocol Essendon have going down there but I would have thought that AFL teams assessments, physical and mental, would leave no stones unturned.

Before you train someone you must assess them because if you're not assessing, your guessing and it seems Essendon guessed incorrectly on this one.

Muscle Activation

Before a muscle can be trained to get bigger and stronger, you must ensure that it actually works and does what it's supposed to in the first place. In the case of hamstring tears you need to look at the glutes. Are they providing the degree hip extension they should be? Are they strong enough to stabilise the pelvis properly? Are they strong enough in AFL specific ranges of motion?

The picture in the article linked above shows Dean in the bottom position of a deadlift or power clean (I have read that they might have done a lot of power cleans during the off season). Deadlifts are great for developing horizontal hip power (think sprinting) and power cleans can be great for overall full body power but if the right muscles aren't doing the exercises then your basically training the movement and nothing else. Last tie I checked no one did power cleans on the football field.

Getting back to hamstring tears and the glutes, the 2 biggest compensation patterns for weak glutes are lumbar spine hyperextension and hamstring dominance in hip extension and both are a product of being stuck in excessive anterior pelvic tilt.

So your very first move here is to make sure that the glutes are activating when they need to and that they can provide the correct pelvic positioning (the core also plays a pretty big part here). Once glute activation is  achieved then you would add in some hip dominant movements (deadlifts, pull throughs etc) keeping the glute activation stuff going the entire time. These movements would progress only as the player progresses, do not force progression on a player that isn't ready for it.

If you're training players who have these postural dysfunctions, then I can't see how they couldn't get injured with the extra running volume in conjunction with the the accelerated gym program.

Eccentric Forces

Again I've never been in the Essendon gym when they're throwing bars around but a lot of sports teams eliminate eccentric contractions in their training to avoid soreness which is a great idea. The only problem is is that you also eliminate deceleration training which is crucial for AFL. You need the ability to run, stop and run again quickly and the weaker you are in deceleration, the slower it will take and the longer distance you'll need to slow down and turn.

Look at the Chief when he lunges over the line at the 7 minute mark.

As soon as your front leg pushes out in front of your center of mass like the Chiefton does on his 'line step" then you're required to be able to quickly decelerate your speed through the glutes and hamstrings and if the glutes (and the hamstrings for that matter) aren't strong enough to do so then PING!!

With deadlifts and Olympic variations, many teams have their players simply drop the bar from the top position to avoid any eccentric contractions, thus soreness and thus it allows the players to train more often and thus more volume.

By taking these eccentric contractions away, once games come around then players can be weak in deceleration and hamstring tears and strains are a result.

Strengthen the End Range of Motion

Strengthening the end range of motion of any joint can increase strength, hypertrophy, flexibility and more importantly, injury resistance. Most players simply focus on strengthening the midrange portion of a movement which is great for absolute strength but some time should be taken to strengthen the end range of motion too. For the glutes and hamstrings that means you want to strengthen in their maximal stretched position which can be done best through single leg training.

Single Leg Training

If you're an avid reader of sports performance information like I am (PTontheNet is not sports performance) then you must have read quite a lot about single leg training and its any benefits for athletes. Sports are played on 1 leg at a time so it makes a little sense to dedicate at least a small amount of training to them. If I see another leg days consisting of squats, leg press, leg extension, leg curls and calf raises, especially by footballers, I'll go postal.

You know why people don't so lunges? Because they're f'in hard. And it's sort of 2 sets in 1 as you've got to do each leg.

Single leg training is essential in my book for any athlete and especially the AFL player as it trains eccentric forces of the glutes and hamstrings as described above and allows for greater depth then squats so they also puts the glutes and hamstrings in a maximal stretched position under load.

AFL teams may avoid heavy single exercises but I don't. During our off season we did a single leg exercise each phase for lowish reps (6 - 8) and with maximal weight.

I am sure that my injury resistance and leg size comes from my 5 or so years of heavy single training, not from squats (that I don't do a lot of anymore) or deadlifts.

I use the big exercises for strength and the single leg exercises for size, mobility and flexibility.

Putting It All Together

Step 1 - Assess, Assess, Assess

Step 2 - Activate what's inhibited (glutes) and strengthen what's weak (glutes, core) but remember you can't strengthen what doesn't work so you might need to just activate the glutes for a few sessions and learn the movements that will actually strengthen them (deadlift variations, pull throughs, hip thrusts etc) with technique work.

Step 3 - While maintaining glute activation work, progress the glute strengthening exercises ONLY when you think the player is ready. Do not wait for injuries to happen, be proactive and train to avoid them in the first place.

Be sure that this isn't a piece to hang shit on Essendon and their S&C staff, it's my thoughts on why they have had the injuries they have had and ways that you can avoid the same thing. And as it would be I have a huge corrective exercise edition of my monthly newsletter this week so purchase from the Paypal link on the left.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Avoid Injury This Season

The May Edition of the Aussie Rules Newsletter is completed!

Every club has issues with injuries and the teams that have their best players on the park will win the most games more times then not so this month we have a bumper issue focusing on Injury Prevention and Corrective Exercise.

The contents of the newsletter involves:

  • A Joint by Joint Approach to Training
  • Movement Implications at Each Joint
  • Why Do You Get Injured?
  • Exercises for Each Joint
  • Dealing With In Season Injuries
  • Training Around Specific Injuries
  • Putting It All Together
  • Monthly Training Program for May

I know this type of training works, I use it and at age 33, I can still back up each and every Saturday and train every Tuesday and Thursday so imagine what it could do for you.

Order from the Paypal link to the left.

I also came across a some coaching videos on You Tube. I will eventually put them all up but here's the first one that looks at forward line structure from a stoppage:

These video's are concise yet very simple to understand and implement so try them out with your team and leave some feedback and Anthony will continue to put them up.

Go Swans!!