Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pre Boxing Day Sale on All Training Manuals

This photo shows 3 of my favorite things, the Swans, footy and Christmas.

They don't really have anything in common but I felt an image was required for such a short post.

I was meant to do this last week but the wife ended up in hospital for 9 days the world went frantic for a while so I'll put it up now anyway.

From right now until New Years Eve, I'm holding a sale on all of my training manuals. 

The Off Season Training Manual described here is ideal for the player who wants to cater to everything footy. It has sections on goal setting, nutrition, body composition, weight training, injury rehab and corrective exercise. A boatload of detail but not full of big words. This is usually $60 but will sell for $50.

The Pre Season Training Manual described here is strictly a fitness program for footy. It is a program and nothing else so if you like to just get to the good bits and haven;t a care in the world about what, why and how (well there's some how in it and few what's) then this is for you. This is usually $50 but will sell for $40

The Athlete Maker Training Program described here is strictly a gym program created to be the bridge between the gym and the football field. 99% of gym programs do not replicate the contractions that football does or trains the various types of strength football requires. This one does. This is usually $30 but will sell for $25.

Alternatively you can order all 3 for $100 or any two for $60.


They are set for the normal price so just manually pay the required amount to through 

The clock ticks until this is over...............


Saturday, December 15, 2012

How You Should Be Training Your Body for Footy

I've probably said this 100 time son this blog but Aussie Rules Football is the most eclectic sport on earth as far as physical demands are concerned.

In this post I will suggest what muscles, movements and qualities you should be training and how you should be training them in an effort to streamline your training, especially now that pre Christmas training is happening and moving into the real training stuff early to mid January.

From the program I have seen people do for footy (and that's a lot of programs) they generally have too much of what is not actually needed and no where near enough of what actually is.

Does one really need an arm day, including forearms, to be a better footballer? I'll let the masses answer that one.

OK let's start with actual actions of specific joints.

The most important one's that you need and why are:

Hip Extension - the action of your leg trailing back behind your center of mass such as pushing off for a lead

Hip Flexion - the action of tour knee lifting upwards as in the knee lift phase of running

Thoracic Spine Extension - provides the ability to lift your arms up over your head without having to compensate through the lower back as in going for a mark

Ankle Dorsi Flexion (closed chain) - the ability of the shin to travel forwards over the feet while they are still on the ground providing optimal joint integrity up the chain (knee, hip, lumbar spine)

Next we'll look at what we'll classify as general movements and requirements because they aren't based on anatomy like the specific joint actions but rather are strength and conditioning terms:

Hip Hinge - the same pattern of a correctly performed hip dominant or deadlift pattern. It involves pushing he hips back, not down, and keeping a vertical shin.

Triple Extension - the simultaneous extension of the ankle, knee and hip joints during jumping and sprinting, especially the toe off phase of sprinting.

Single Leg - refers to exercises performed on 1 leg such as steps and lunges which are excellent for injury prevention and mobility improvement.

Hip Extension

Now as we get a bit more meat heady we'll look at the muscles and what they will be served being trained for:

Calves/Foot - very underrated and don't get anywhere near enough attention as they should and are often ignored once orthotics are put in (hint #1 - they aren't actually fixing anything! Well no more then a band aid stopping the bleeding from a severed femoral artery). In a nut shell you want to train this area for stiffness. No not muscle stiffness like tight pecs or quads, but stiffness as in when your foot hits the ground there is minimal deformity allowing for a quicker transition from force absorption into force output. For example when jumping during the eccentric (lowering) phase, the less time your feet take to absorb the eccentric impact and transfer it into concentric action (jumping), the higher you'll jump. For another example when running the 'stiffer" your ankles are, the less "heel drop" there is each step meaning when your forefoot hits the ground, your heel doesn't keep dropping as you go into the toe off phase.

To train stiffness you'll need some low level plyometric speed and quickness drills such as ankle hops and line hop variations keeping your sets to 10 seconds or less x 2 - 3 per week. It's good to video these so that you see the difference in your movement efficiency over time.

Also be sure to hit some wall ankle mobilisations daily to keep the ankle joint open to allow for optimal lower body range of motion.

Hamstrings - they have 2 actions, 1 - knee extension like a leg curl and, 2 - hip extension like a hip hinge. 90% of programs players do focus on knee extension which is insane as most hamstring injuries are done in the deceleration phase of sprinting, i.e. powerful eccentric hip extension during ground contact. Ditch those leg curls for deadlift and single leg exercise variations and if you're game enough, some glute ham raises. You'll want to train the hamstrings for strength over hypertrophy and even though some extra size won't be a hinderence, it's the strength factor (specifically eccentric strength) that will keep you injury free.

Hip Flexors - are a very overused and dominant muscle meaning they can very tight and be one of the culprits of lower back pain and hamstring and quad strains and tears. Traditional stretching of these muscles where you go down on 1 knee and lean forward putting your weight on the front foot is addressing maybe 25% of the problem maximum. The optimal way to get length and/or relaxation of the hip flexors is to actually squeeze the glute of same leg, brace your core like your about to take a sledgehammer to the guts and then if you think you need more range of motion, then go into the forward lean while holding the glute and core contractions. Most people simply need to do the initial glute and core squeeze to get benefits from this. Probably the greatest benefit you get from this is that you stop any anterior gliding of the head of the femur in the joint which can cause impingement type issues so all that old school hip flexor stretching can actually be doing you harm if you have poor hip control (hint #2 - most of you do). Progress this to isometric extreme split squats x 15 - 30 seconds and you'll be golden (the towel exercise here but start without the towel). Lower down into the bottom of a split squat then while activating your core and glutes as described above, pull the front leg back while your digging your forefoot into the ground to activate the hamstring of the front leg.

Hip Extension - we've covered this already but I'll touch on the 2 best ways to train it. One of them is through a hip hinge pattern with both bilateral (2 legs) and unilateral (1 leg) variations. The other way is through resisted running with either a sled or a prowler. So you've got both closed and open chain options covered. For bilateral exercises I would keep the reps to 5 and below and for single leg I'd keep them between 5 - 8. For resisted running it sort of depends on where you are in your training year and what you've done leading up to them but you're 2 options is heavy where you'd load just enough weight that you can still run with the it, but while keeping perfect sprinting mechanics, just slower or a light load that is about 10% of your bodyweight.

Core - I covered all there is to do about core over a year ago here. Another core training method that is gathering a lot of steam is correcting your breathing patterns which is a very near future post so look out for that.

Erectors - this pretty much is covered in the core post from above where you do anti extension core exercises to prevent any unwanted extension of the lumbar spine (erectors). The lower back is in the top few strongest area's of the body so it is no wonder that is gets injured a lot. It dominates over the core and glutes to the point that those 2 muscles stop working from inactivity. Keep anti extension exercises to 30 seconds per set or about 8 - 12 reps generally.

Lats - they are the most important muscle in the upper body as it provides stability for the upper body so it can also be classed as a core exercise if you want to get technical. There are 2 ways this needs to be trained for footy. #1 is for strength because it provides the stability for all other upper body movements such as marking or fending off a tackle. It basically provides stiffness for the upper body too for example lift your arms up above your head then bring them down slowly to your sides while contracting your lats as hard as you can. You'll get to a point where you can't actually bring your arms back any further from the stiffness contraction. #2 is for size because a wider body is a harder body to tackle or to get around for a spoil during a marking.

Mid Back - referring to the rhomboids and lower traps (mostly) these muscles are best put to use to provide scapula stability. I'll throw in the serratus anterior here too even though it's not classed as a mid back muscle, it has even greater effects on scapula stability then the mid back muscles. Ensuring correct scapula positioning and movement means keeping an eye on the balance of your pushing and pulling volume for the upper body to keep your posture in check and is also related to thoracic spine mobility as mentioned above. You'll need a mixture of rehab type exercises and traditional rowing exercises performed for 8 - 15 reps under complete control with perfect technique for each and every rep because you're training the muscles and their precise movements, not just throwing weights around. Again you'll want to hit these 2 - 3 times a week so instead of having 3 chest days, let's make that 3 back days shall we?

Chest - everyone's favourite. Let's get 1 thing straight. You need to make a decision. Are you training for the ladies or are you training for footy, because they are no where near the same thing, not even close. If you are training for footy then you'll be doing strength based training for 3 - 6 rep sets. You might even throw in some explosive stuff to better replicate footy such as single arm upright barbell throws and medicine ball throws. Depending on your needs you might even need to throw in some beach stuff but even that is culled to push ups and pretty heavy dumbbell bench press variations for 8 - 15 reps. Please leave the flies and crossovers alone.

Delts/Traps - some say that the military press is a better option for footy because it's more functional (I shall not use that word again in this blog - EVER!!) because you never lie down and push something off you in footy which is true but 90% of footy is played with your lower body (if not more) so we're not after 100% transference of upper body gym numbers to the ground. Rather we want to build an armor to absorb tackles and hits and not get collision injuries which we'll get mostly with the lat, back and chest training options. If you can do them pain free then shoulder presses can be used in your program (I do them in mine most of the time) but dumbbell raise variations really serve limited purpose to anything footy related and really only build up more fatigue that you need to recover from (hint #3 - you probably recover from the basics good enough). Like bench presses train these for strength in the 3 - 6 rep range with either barbells or dumbbells, but dumbbells are a far better option for 90% of the population, let alone footy players.

So there we have it, a thorough guide on what to train, how to train it, and why for footy. Get to redoing your program now or let me know if you need a hand doing so.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How Will You Get to the Next Level?

The Force Velocity Curve

The vertical axis represents force or the load used for the given activity. The horizontal curve axis represents velocity or the speed at which that activity is performed.

Now for anyone that has ever lifted anything in their life you would know that the lighter something is the faster you can lift as opposed to something that is heavy that takes a longer time to lift.

As you can see on the chart the more heavier the load, the less velocity is used and vice versa and in between there are other strength qualities that can be trained too.

Max Strength – a heavy load lifted (relatively) slowly such as a max effort squat

Strength Speed – a moderate load lifted with moderate speed such as dynamic effort squat @ 40 – 70%

Speed Strength – a light load lifted quickly such as a weighted jump squat @ 10 – 30%

Speed – bodyweight moved quickly such as a sprint

I bet you’re training 1, 2 at most in your program and its usually one from the high force end and one from the high velocity end but rarely in the middle. What this means is that you don’t quite bridge the gap from high force to high velocity optimally as you would if you touched on one of the middle options (strength speed / speed strength).

Don’t worry I’ve got you covered with the Aussie Rules Training Athlete Maker Training Program.

It is a 10 – 14 week program to get your squat and bench press to where it needs to be and also have it actually transfer over to on field performance.

There is an optional introduction week for those who haven’t lifted in the lower rep ranges much or have no idea what their REAL maxes are so I’d strongly encourage everyone to do it as I‘ve allowed time for it anyway before footy starts.

The 1st phase focuses on using a load that is over 80% with the goal to increase neural drive and to allow for plenty of practice (volume) on the 2 core lifts we’re focusing on.

The 2nd phase focuses on using a load between 55 and 80% with the goal being to start transferring some of the strength into actual performance. 

The 3rd phase is all about transference using timed sets with a load lower then 55% for as many reps as you can get in the prescribed time frame. 

The 3 days have their own specific focus being:

Monday – Moderate Load / Moderate Volume

Wednesday - High Load / Low Volume

Friday – Low Load / High Volume. 

This follows all the way through each 3 blocks.

There is also an 8 week chin up strength program just to make you more badassary.

I have prescribed this program out to fit in with your pre season training and it's very similar to what I'm actually doing right now and have been doing since October so it's tried and it's true!

This could be the secret that you've been looking for to take you to the next level and at $30 (or $2.14 per week), what is it worth to you?

Order from the Paypal link on the right side of the page.