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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

5 Random Footy Training Tips Part 3

Back with another 5 random tips but first I need to do a bit of a shout out.

Over the weekend I put in some big days and managed to get through the entire ASCA Level 1 Strength and Conditioning course (online version). I also managed to get up and back to Wangaratta on Sunday (3hrs each way!!) to get involved with the TAC Cup Murray Bushrangers.

Not long after I started this blog I received an email from Matt Glossop, head Strength and Conditioning coach of the Bushies and since then we have exchanged emails in regards to footy training and stuff.

He actually invited me up but I ran out of time but Saturday as I was doing it hard I thought stuff it, I'll go tomorrow! So I did.

With 105 kids picked for try outs and 90 in attendance that day in 30 degree weather, they were put through 5 - 6 blocks of training ranging from strength testing (which I took) to skills, to game sense stuff to fitness and even marking stuff.

Even though the group was o big full of 15 to 17 year olds, it ran like clockwork which was very impressive.

Anyway a big thanks to Matt and hopefully i can get up there again soon.

But back to the randoms...

Random Tip #11 - Pyramid Runs

I first did these back in 1999 - 2000 in a very wet but humid day in Warrnambool. You break the ground up into 4 quarters. You sprint the outside portion, jog the middle portion that cuts back to the middle of the ground and walk the inside portion back to the start.

Set 1 is a quarter of the ground, set 2 is half of the ground, set 3 is 3 quarters of the ground and set 4 is an entire lap.

Once you're group gets back to the start after the walking portion you start the next set.

If you're feeling particularly fit then run back down the ladder starting with the full lap to 3 quarters to half to 1 quarter.

I actually remember enjoying these for some reason which I don't think would be the case now.

Random Tip #12 - Avoid Road Runs

I haven't done a road run for almost 10 years now. If you think that each step you take can yield about 2- 3 times your bodyweight through 1 little leg and each km can make up around 800 steps, you can easily see how stress can build up and how something so low intensity like jogging can cause nasty injuries.

Opt for grass whenever you can for running and you'll be able to play better for longer.

Random Tip #13 - 50 to 50 Runs in 60secs

A few years after the pyramid runs and at a different club we would use these during pre and in-season training. Basically the entire squad lines up about 25 - 30m out from goal at 1 end of the ground. The whistle goes and you have 60secs, I think to sprint down and AROUND a goal or point post and back. You'd have 60 - 90secs rest and go again doing about 5 sets.

This is a killer but you can use auto regulation and for those who don't make it back take the next set off and jump back in 2 sets later.

I actually had my current team do these a couple of years ago and they were pretty happy with them. It's brutal but only takes 10mins so it's very efficient.

Random Tip #14 - Organise Training to Suit Your Game Style

We all do drills that mimic how we want to play but sometimes the fitness work doesn't quite match up properly. If you want a team that runs up and back then actually incorporate that in your drills. For example you might be doing a full ground kicking drill but instead of kicking to the cone in front of you and jogging through to it, have a few separate cones that once you kick the ball, you must turn around and sprint to.

If you want to play a possession game then you'll need a good dose of shirt and fast drills for acceleration.

Random Tip #15 - Determine Interchange Frequency

OK so we're not AFL teams here but tagging off the back of point 4, if you want your on-ballers to rest regularly then again make this a point of training.

Have them do 3 - 5min bursts of intense running and / or skill drills then let them rest for 2 - 3mins or however long you want them to do it in a game for.

There's no point doing tired skill drill after tired skill drill if you're game is going to built around frequent changes to keep players fresh.

It will also give you an idea of how quick each player recovers so some might only need 90 - 120secs while others might need the full 5mins.

I just found out today that the mighty Swans picked up Jeremy Laidler from Carlton - what a steal!! He'll play at least 15 games for us this year and be part of our premiership team so thanks Carlton!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

5 Random Footy Training Tips Part 2

Random Tip #6 - Practicing Skills

Skills are king in footy, there is nothing surer. You can be fat, slow and unfit but if you have skills then you can still getaway with everything else you lack.

Why?

Because you don't have to do as much work. It's a known fact that the top 4 teams actually do less work then the other 14 teams.

Why?

Because they're skills and team work are the best. You know what they say, "lots of hands make light work"...or something like that.

Skills are required to be at their peak from the first bounce of the game til the final siren so it's a great idea to train them in a non fatigued and fatigued state.

I believe this should be actually programmed into your pre-season training.

For the first 3rd of your pre-season practice all skills (or the majority of them) in a non fatigued state and get as many reps per player in as you can.

For the middle 3rd introduce some skill work under fatigue and gradually ramp it up so by the last 3rd you're doing almost exclusively fatigued (to varying degrees) skill work.

Make sure to set a standard though which brings me to my next point.

Random Tip #7 - Test What's Important

When you test something regularly, there's a fair chance you'll get improvement out of most if not every player to some degree. Being held accountable is a very underrated part of local and amateur football.

You don't want to test everything unless you have enough coaching staff to do it all but the big one's for me would be:

  • Kicking
  • Repeat Speed
  • Aerobic Capacity 

Re-visit these test 3 or 4 times during the pre-season and another 3 or 4 times during the season. Keep your players honest!!

Random Tip #8 - Sprint Drills with Time or Distance Limits

Everybody has varying degrees of fitness and capacities for various qualities. Somehow you've got to cater for the blokes who aren't up to the level of your reigning best and fairest winning mid-fielder who can run all day. You can't just run them into the ground as they attempt to "catch up".

They'll get injured and not be able to play or they'll get demotivated and not want to play. Either you're a man down before you even start.

I've written about auto regulation training in the past and it's a perfect choice to use in this case. What it means is that you make  set point that players to get to in each drill and if they can't reach it, then they sit out the next set to allow them extra recovery. You wouldn't want them out on the ground when they can't run so why do it at training?

Alternatively you might have a 'fit" set point and an "unfit" set point to cater for more players.

Random Tip #9 - Hat Drill

This is a drill my old country team used to run in the 2000's. You'd set up hats that form a circle just inside the boundary line by about 5m that starts from about 20m out from goal and finishes on the other side in the same spot.  Break your team into 2 groups (doesn't matter the mix of fitness levels) and 1 group rests while the other goes and vice-versa.

The last 25 - 50m of the drill has different color hats laid out every 5m or so. The first different color hat is 1 point, the 2nd color hat is 2 points and so on til the last hat.

The aim is for everyone to reach the 1st different colored hat in 90secs or however fast you think most players should be able to cover the distance. That is the set point. If you don't reach that hat then you sit out the next set, rest up and jump in for the 2 sets later.

The beauty of this drill is that it caters for both fit and unfit players. The unfit players are striving to just make sure they get to do every set. The fit players are striving to get the maximum score for the entire drill. So if you have 6 different colored drills at the end of the course and you do 5 sets, the maximum score is 6 x 5 = 30 points.

Random Tip #10 - Keeping Track of Who's Training

This can be a fair bit of extra work but if possible keep track of who attends training and how frequently. This can give you an idea of where players should be with their fitness throughout the entire pre-season.

There's plenty of blokes who just glide along and don't want to push too much out of their comfort zone. By knowing that they've done the last 8 sessions in a row then you know that they've got some pretty good training volume under their belt and that where there is a split of the team for running drills, they can move up a grade.

This will hopefully push those middle of the pack players up into the top group providing you with more depth during the season when you need it.

On the flip side you get the blokes who have done no training but want to run their own guts out which will more then likely end up in injury so it also let's you know who "hold back" and work up gradually which takes us back to random rule +1 - avoid injuries.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

5 Random Footy Training Tips

Been away for a while unfortunately. We went camping over the long weekend then I had a bucks weekend the next one which hasn't affected my own training too much, but it has affected my updating consistency which is dicey at best anyway.

I have 1 week left of my 5 week Triphasic Training block which I will update you all on once I'm done.

I'm also putting together a "running for footy' report/manual thing which I'm not sure of what it will end up being yet but should hopefully get completed in some form in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime I have 2 pages of dot points on varying methods, drills and such to do with footy training. Some are in the gym, some are off the track and some are on the track. As the title suggest they are just random thoughts that I'll put out there, challenge the norm a bit, make you think a little about why you train like you train and how you might improve it to become a better player in season 2014.

Here we go!

Random Tip #1 - Number 1 Goal is to Avoid Injury

Whether you design programs just for you, a small group of footy mates or your actual club, the number goal to accomplish is to avoid injury to you or a teammate. What this means is that for everything you plan on doing, there must be some "risk vs benefit" assessment done.

Going back into the 80's and the old school 100 x 100 meter sprints looks great on paper but lets look at the risks versus the benefits.

Risks - hamstring tears, quad tears, chronic soreness, the inability to do anything else for a week let alone train for footy, performance drop, motivation drop, overuse injuries to name just a few.

Benefits - I actually can't think of any to be honest...maybe some mental toughness but that can be gained through a lot safer and efficient means.

Now I don't think that anyone does this shit anymore (well I hope not), but if you are a coach in charge of pre-season training then maybe spare a thought for the bloke who's just turned for his first run in mid Feb, or the "Plugger', the burly 110kg full forward for the 2's who probably need to be on a modified program for the time being.

Would you rather 30 really fit players and 10 team injuries or 40 pretty players and none?

Random Tip #2 - Game Simulated Drills

The AFL try and emulate game simulation as much as they can to be ready for game speed velocites and skill requirement. I don't think amateur and local teams do anywhere near enough. For early pre-season drills I don't have a problem with general drills where you handball to that hat and kick to that hat, drills where you know where to go next.

But as you edge closer to practice games and the season proper, there needs to be form of "chaos" training. Chaos training refers to not knowing what's going to happen next - just like a game - so you can set you're drills up where once you get the ball, the coach can direct you straight away to where you need to go and then you have 2 - 3m radius of which to dispose of the ball. Games based on modifications of your game plan are a great way to incorporate this.

Random Tip #3 - Repeat Speed

Local footy is full of repeated sprints, even more then AFL. With lesser skill development the ball hits the ground far more then the big boys who now have a more consistent running gamer going with the breaking of zones and Pagan's paddock type game plans.

The thing that has been overlooked forever is that once the ball hits the ground there is a race to get it. When there is a race there is a requirement of speed because whoever gets there first, gets the ball. Having the ability to run a 3km time trial in 10 minutes means bugger all when you can't sprint 20m in less then 3.5secs.

So for starters you need to work on speed development - this is huge and is the reason your best mate plays a higher grade then you even though you get the same amount of possessions and such - he's quicker. That is what separates the elite from the rest in 99% of cases.

Once speed is improved then you must work on being able to repeat that speed throughout a game. Remember though, you can't have great repeat speed without speed in the first place!!

Look at this example:

Player A has a "first bounce" 20m sprint time of 2.9secs and Player B 3.2secs. By quarter time slight fatigue has set in so those numbers might drop to 3.0 and 3.3 respectively. At half time they might drop away again to 3.1 and 3.4 and go into the final quarter at 3.3 and 3.6secs respectively.

As you can see player A has all the advantage because he basically finishes the game with the same amount of speed that player B started with.

So get fast then get fast over repeated bouts.

Random Tip #4 - Repeat Sprints + Skill Development

Tagging off the last tip, once you get the ball now you've got to do something with it! The next step is to add a degree of skill development to the drill. So you might do your repeated speed drill then immediately go to a skill based drill such as precise kicking into the forward 50. Initially you might start with lane work but as you progress through, make the skill requirement harder and more game simulated.

Random Tip #5 - Outnumbered Competition Drills

These drills aren't anything new - we all know the one where you pair up and the coach basically kicks the shit out of the ball and you spend the next 10 exhausting minutes getting the ball back! This is fine except it's not what really happens in a game.

A better way to do this might be to set up a number of zones on the ground with 2 teams placing them in the forward 50, back 50 and the midfield. For the first half of the drill, more players for the back and forward 50 teams but less for the midfield team. This means there is a battle for the outnumbered midfield team to get the ball into their forward 50 which will have more players then the opposition so you have to work hard to get the ball but then you only need to make the right decision to hit up the free target in the forward 50. From there you can just go back and start again from the middle.

Do that for 5 - 20mins then switch so no you have more midfielders but less forwards and backs. Don't be afraid to throw some spanners in the mix and even up lines or teams to see how they organise each other once the numbers are evened out.

This can be a great drill to teach your midfielders to work extra hard through the middle and for your forwards to work together in the 50 to free a player up and your backs to link up and run off the half back line.

Put some boundaries in for where players can go as you don't want 3 backs running into the midfield.

Let me know your thoughts on these and I'll hopefully pop some more up during the week.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

42 Day Block Completed and Results!!

So for the last 6 weeks I've been training like a mad man where I managed the following:

 - 30 sprint sessions in 40 days

 - 27 squat sessions in 41 days (would have been more if my pelvis didn't discombobulate!)

 - 35 hip thrusting sessions in 41 days

Yep block training gone mad!

Obviously the focus was on sprinting speed so why didn't I just sprint and go home?

Hip Thrust Strength + Back Squat Strength + Sprinting = Speed

You could probably just do these 3 exercises in your life and be faster then 90% of the people on your Facebook page (even the one's you "don't" know.

So the results?

I tested my 10 and 40 meter sprint about a week and half before I started the program which was actually the Tuesday before out last game but considering I barely trained this year and basically only played on a Saturday my readiness was fine (no soreness from the weekend and also not run down from a long season).

10 Meter Sprint = 2.2 seconds

40 Meter Sprint = 6.22 seconds

Bloody slow!!

With these times you can work out of you need to work on strength or speed which courtesy of Kelly Baggett, looks like this:

Step 1 - Test 10 meter sprint

Step 2 - Depending on your 10 meter time you'll add a specific amount of time to it

 - 1.6 - 1.7 seconds add 3.25
 - 1.5 - 1.6 seconds add 3.10
 - 1.5 seconds or less add 3.0

Step 3 - Test 40 meter sprint

Step 4 - Compare your estimated and actual time

 - if timed is slower then your estimate then work on speed / max velocity
 - if times is faster then estimate then work on strength / acceleration

Step 5 - You can go a step further for further clarification and do a split time of 20 meters (which I didn't do):

 - if first 20 meters is faster then your second 20 meters then it conforms you need to work on speed / max velocity
 - if your second 20 meters is faster then your first 20 meters then work on strength / acceleration

So for my pre-program sprints looked like this:

Step 1 -  2.2 seconds

Step 2 - 2.2 + 3.25 = 5.45 (if you're slower then 1.7 seconds then you're meant to drop fat and get stronger which is what I was planning to do anyway during my 42 day program so my estimated should have been slower then this as I was so far off to start with)

Step 3 - 6.22 seconds

Step 4 - Timed 40 was sslloowweerr then estimate so my focus needed to go on speed / max velocity.

Now here's what happened some 55 days later:

10 Meter Sprint - 1.6 seconds

40 Meter Sprint - 5.56 seconds

An improvement of just under 25 and 11% respectively (if my math is correct which it probably isn't)

Assessing them again:

Step 1 - 1.6 seconds

Step 2 - 1.6 + 3.25 = 4.85

Step 3 - 5.56 seconds

Step 4 - Again my timed was slower then my estimated indicating I still need to work on speed.

The encouraging thing is that my speed did increase as you can see here:

Pre Program Test

40 meter time (6.22) - 10 meter time (2.2) = 4.02 seconds for last 30 meters

Post Program Test

40 meter time (5.56) - 10 meter time (1.6) = 3.96 seconds for last 30 meters

You can also see that my 10 meter sprint decreased by more then 25% which was helped by taking my back squat from 113 to 128.5 for 1 rep during the 42 day program. I also increased my romanian deadlift from 95 x 3 to 115 x 4, Squat Clean from 20 to 65 x 5, high pull from 45 to 75 x 5 and bench press from 100 x 1 to 100 x 3 using a sub maximal high-ish volume program.

So now I have developed another 5 week block that will take me up to Christmas where I am running another cycle of Triphasic Training but only for 5 weeks to top off my high frequency squatting for the last 7 weeks.

I must also thank Bret Contreras, Joel Smith, Christian Thibaudeau and Kelly Baggett (linked from above) who all had some input on this program through some emails we exchanged.

So the moral of the story is if you wanna get better at something then do it, and do it a lot!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pelvis Broken but Mending


In the back end of the 42 day program earlier this week and had a moderately heavy squat day on Wednesday working up to 115kgs x 2 reps for my top end set. Not a ball burster for me by any means and a fair way off the 140kgs I hope to top out at before Christmas but on the very last rep a felt a pop on the right side of my pelvis and literally belatedly said to myself "oh, fuck!"

Since I was in my early to mid 20's I've had some reoccurring back troubles. After each footy game it would be stiff as a board where I couldn't really bend down to get my shoes on after the post game shower. It would come good later and off I went again.

It wasn't until the mid 2000's when I was working at the YMCA that I started going to a Chiropractor who would do free consultations 2 or 3 times a year to drum up some business (he was located across the road from us) that I actually had done x-rays done where there was some minor damage to the right side but nothing major.

We concluded that the near on 2 hours of basketball played on concrete each day at and after school may have affected my pelvic stability and brought on some loose ligaments. With my programming skills I am able to hold it at bay for 90% of the time and it pulls up footy nicely most of the time even now at 35.

So back to these squats. The load wasn't something I shouldn't or couldn't do. About 10 days prior I did 110kgs for 2 reps so I've built up to it and didn't expect any trouble with it. I think I remember just holding the bottom for a slight second longer knowing it was the last rep of the session and to get a good one in to finish with. I also remember not loosing any tightness while I was down there which is usually what blows out a person's back during squats.

I did have some very light lingering pain from my am session where I did some prone single leg hip extension work which my back didn't like for some reason but in my previous sets and warm up exercises it wasn't a problem. Anyway I don't really know why it popped but it did.

So I hobbled to the car and rubbed some Voltaren cream on it to get me through my evening clients then heat packed when I got home and also in bed that night with another dose of Voltaren.

I could not find a position that I couldn't feel the ache in while in bed so I had a prick of a night sleep wise (coupled with a snoring almost 3 year old in the bed too!!) so it was about the same when I woke up.

I Voltarened again in the morning and heat packed a few times during the day. The Voltaren didn't really seem to be doing anything but the heat pack was bringing some slight relief.

Come Thursday evening and I headed back to train upper body. I had some sprints ad some basic lower body stuff scheduled in but wasn't going to do any of it. The main sprinting stuff was prowler sprints on what I call level 2 (I have 4 levels I can push from on my prowler with level 1 being the lowest level).

The beauty of the prowler is that you can still train the legs more then effectively even with knee or lower back pain. The velocity is low so there's minimal impact and the position takes compression stress off the spine as well. In amongst my bench press sets I managed to do 10 sets of progressively weighted prowler sprints that actually took 95% of the lower back pain away. I knew the upper body training would help it anyway but this was a pretty good bonus.

The dull ache came back once I got home but I slept pretty well and when I moved I didn't really feel it that much.

Today (Friday) I woke up a bit better then the day before and again heat packed through the day.

With my schedule thrown out anyway I thought I'd back up my 14 or 15 sets of bench presses with another 9 today (yes you can back up the next day with the same exercise) and thought I'd try some light squats to see where I was at. I did some glute bridges that always fry my glutes pretty good and then popped 75kgs on the bar. I unracked it and took in some deep breathes and went into a slight hip hinge where I could feel it so chucked in the towel. Quickly grabbed the 30kg dumbbell and whipped out 2 x 8 goblet squats to train the pattern and had no problems at all with it.

I think I'll head in tomorrow and do some more glute and goblet squat stuff and hopefully I can get some 40 meter sprints in and by Monday hopefully I can back to the program which has only a week to go anyway.

The point? Continue to train when you're injured, even the injured area.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Block 2 Down, 1 To Go and Setting Up Training Blocks


Today marks 2/3rds of the way through my 42 day program.

The last 2 weeks have a bit of a battle with a bout of full body shutdown a week ago and grand final day tomorrow resulting in having to have to cram a lot more training into not many days. This week I've actually crammed 7 or 8 days into 5 so everyday I've lifted and sprinted without a drop in volume but some slight decreases in intensity where needed.

Week 3 I felt pretty quick during my sprints with week 4 not being as good but that's probably because of the higher training load and no rest days in week 4 as well as still recovering from sickness and a big night out late last week and weekend.

In the last 2 weeks there is a scattered ending to the various qualities I'm training. Hip thrusts are only a 30 day program so they'll finish early next week. I might cut the back squats program back to 35 days so I can retest late in the program during days 39 - 42.

The main focus is sprinting speed so all these directly related to sprinting will continue to be trained everyday such as foot/ankle complex, relaxation/stiffness, bounding and obviously sprinting.

Thinking about it in the car before, I've read up a fair bit of block training in the last 12 months or so. 1 article I read that I can't remember where it was from (I cut and paste stuff then read it weeks sometimes later!) prescribed blocks to last for 2 - 3 weeks max then you move to something else before swinging back again.

After the feeling of "peaking" during week 3 I will just about put this in stone going forward.

So it might look like this:

Block 1 x 2 Weeks

Performance Goal - Speed
Maintenance Goal - Strength

Training Frequency - 4 times a week

Session 1 - Speed
Session 2 - Speed
Session 3 - Strength
Session 4 - Speed

Block 2 x 2 weeks

Performance Goal 1 - Strength
Maintenance Goal - Speed

Training Frequency - 4 times a week

Session 1 - Strength
Session 2 - Strength
Session 3 - Speed
Session 4 - Strength

Repeat Block 1 and so on.

This is a very general look at block training but if go this route at some stage during the pre-season I'll definitely post it up.

And the Dockers by 9 points tomorrow.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

1st 2 Week Block Down, 2 To Go

In my previous post I went into a little detail of my off season program that I put together and started 2 weeks ago.

The program is running for 42 days where I'm doing something everyday. I posted a list of what I'm covering in my previous post too but here's a refresher with a little detail of what I'm doing for each.

Increasing sprinting speed is the focus for this program. I might not increase speed dramatically during this time but more so building a great deal of sprinting work capacity while I get my strength levels back up to off season levels. I would guess that I'll hit "peak" speed just before Christmas.

So for sprinting I'm doing acceleration, max velocity and basic 40 meter sprinting days. Each day is low volume where I'm just doing enough to get a training effect then going home with minimal fatigue because I gotta go back out there the next day. This is the focus of the whole program actually, to do a lot of high quality work rather then a lot of fatigue work. I'm sprinting everyday that I can weather and soreness permitting (I actually sprinted in the rain twice this week!!).

Bounding variations are probably the best sprinting technique exercises you can do so I'm using them as a warm up on each sprinting day alternating low and high volume days with different bounding variations that alternate high and low eccentric stress.

An overlooked part of athletic perfection is the foot and ankle complex which I have gone into detail about herehere and here. I have separated them into foot/ankle complex exercises and stiffness/relaxation exercises which are also done in the warm up during my sprint session. I actually do sprints in the am and then gym in the pm and most days are 2-a-days. These are done everyday regardless of what I'm doing.

In the gym I'm doing 30 day hip thrust program developed by glute specialist Bret Contreras. I have actually neglected glute activation stuff a little bit since last September but I did a short cycle of hip thrusts where I managed to reach 115kgs x 5. I do feel these in my back a fair bit at times though so I've really downsized the load a bit for this and am going strictly on feel for these. The biggest reason though is that if you read enough of his research stuff, hip thrusts have a greater carryover to sprinting then almost any exercise including squats and deadlifts.

I do these first in the gym and follow them up with some basic Olympic stuff for low volume on each squatting day so 5 times a week. I'll keep these in up until Christmas so I'm in no hurry to load them up maximally at the moment. I'll just continue to do what I'm doing and work up slowly. These are used for a combination of rate of force development, upper back and posteriour development, force absorption and even a bit of foot / ankle complex and stiffness / relaxation stuff too.

The squat program is the 40 day program developed by Dan John where you do a lot of sub maximal squat work in a short period of time. Really if want to improve something would you do it once a week or everyday?

For a bit more posteriour chain development which can never have too much of where on every squat day I alternate through romanian deadlifts, swings and nordic hamstring curls. These can cause a little bit of soreness so again volume is low as the hamstrings can get plastered by the max velocity and 40 meter sprint days.

On my off days from lower body gym work I throw in some upper body stuff where I'm doing a high volume, sub maximal bench press cycle. If you're aware of Sheiko then you'll know it can be hell, if not then read here. I'm doing the bench press workouts from that article but only 2/week as it's not really a focus of mine anymore but I'd still like to improve it a little as it waves up and down a bit for me for reasons I don't know.

On these upper body days I'm also alternating through bent rows, chin ups and db chest supported rows matching up with the volume of bench presses on that day.

So that's what I'm doing.

Tomorrow is the last day of block 1 then I've reorganised things a bit for block 2 but it's basically still the same.

I'm endeavouring to update daily on Facebook too so like the page so you can get them and be amazed.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Off Season 2014 is Now!!

For those fortunate to be playing finals I'm a little envy of you. There's nothing like finals footy in any grade. I'm even a little more envious when we didn't even win a game this year so we're relegated a division but we'll regroup and launch our assault in 2014.

And for me, season 2014 starts TODAY!!

For the last month or so I've been tentatively putting together my first block of training to ready me for season 2014.

The first thing I've done is to sit down and have an honest assessment of where I'm at and here's what I come up with:

Speed - initially I gave myself a 7/10 but then I re-tested 10 and 40 meters 2 weeks ago while we were still playing I am slower then I have been in the past 2 years. Now in-season is no time to be testing anything but I trained maybe 10 times for the entire in-season this year with no extra running on my own part (shit I know). Speed is developed the slowest and lost the quickest.

Endurance - always shit but in my heyday (late 90's!!) I was actually nicknamed the "greyhound". I still wasn't s great long distance runner but I would always finish top 5 in our weekly 3km runs but my repeat speed was easily my strong suit. Nowadays both are beyond terrible with the aforementioned lack of training not helping at all. This year I WILL do some concentrated running leading up to pre-season because my training availability can be dicey at times with work and family.

Strength - again I have tested this in the last 2 - 3 weeks for bench press, back squats and deadlifts. Deadlifts were an almost all-time high even with minimal pulls for the last 12 months so that's fine. Squats are down 10 - 15% from the start of the season which is also fine so I just need to get that back to the 135 - 140kg mark. Bench press doesn't really phase me but it has stalled for the last year or 2 so I might concentrate on it for s short time between now and Christmas.

So what am I doing now.

SPEED.

SPEED KILLS!

I have developed a 42 day program where I will train EVERYDAY (bar emergencies).

The focus is speed and anything to do with it. It might not get me to Rio in 2016 but I just need to sprint, and sprint a lot more often then under fatigue on a Saturday. You CANNOT, I repeat, CANNOT get fast training in a fatigued state. It's definitely something a lot more footy teams should look at because there's reserves players who have the same skill set as senior players but don;t play because they are too slow. Simple as that. I still play seniors because I am still fast-ish and believe me if I was slow with my poor endurance, I wouldn't even make our 3rds team (the booming left helps though!!)

So during my 42 day speed program I'll be training everyday covering the following performance qualities, movements and muscles, some of which I covered in my "Training Methods You've Never Heard Of" Series:

 - Foot / Ankle Complex
 - Stiffness / Relaxation
 - Bounding
 - Acceleration
 - Max Velocity
 - Hip Thrusts
 - Olympic Lifts
 - Back Squats
 - Romanian Deadlifts
 - Swings
 - Nordic Hamstring Curls

There's also a little bit of upper body and core stuff in there too.

Be sure I'm not training everything everyday, but some things I am.

I will do some form of foot/ankle, stiffness.relaxation, bounding, sprinting and hip thrusting everyday with the posterior chain exercises being alternated through but still trained everyday.

The program I have made up is based on the 40 Day Program by Dan John for which I'll be doing with Back Squats as they will have the most carryover with sprinting in the gym which has 1 - 2 days off a week from squatting for memory.

So there's a quick rundown of what I'm about to embark on.

Post 42 days I'll see where my speed is at where i'm sure I'll still need to work on but then I intend on doing a quick block of Triphasic Training then ramp up some aerobic work pre Christmas. Endurance comes pretty quickly so you only need to actually train it for a month or so before moving to repeat speed and more sport specific running patterns. I also hope to be able to drop 3 - 5kgs because 35 year old legs don't get any younger!

What are you doing?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Training Idea's You'ver Never Heard Of Part 7 - How the Fast Get Faster


In my previous post we looked at force absorption and the positive implications it can have on improving performance because after all, the more force you can absorb, the more force you can put out.

In this post you can see that not only do you need to be able to absorb great force, but you must also be able to absorb it quickly.

Introducing overspeed eccentrics.

I'll use basketball as an example here because it's more practical but if we're both going for a rebound and go into our jumps at the same time, if I can get down into the eccentric portion of my jump, stabilise and get off the ground quicker then you, then it doesn't matter if you can jump higher then me because while I have rebounded the ball you're still on the ground.

The video below shows how we can implement this using swings which it suits better then most exercises because it's already explosive in nature.

The first exercise just shows a regular swing which puts a hard stretch on the hamstrings already so until you've mastered these, don't move to the more overspeed methods as you won't be able to stabilise the weight properly.

The second exercise is a band assisted swing which is looped under my feet which pulls the weight down making the eccentric faster and harder to control.

The third exercise is a partner assisted swing where they push down on the weight at the top of the swing again increasing the eccentric descent of the weight.

You'd want to use about 40 - 50% of your swing 5 rep max weight for the weight and do 3 - 4 x 5 - 8 reps after your warm up but before your main exercise (squats, deadlifts etc).

Overspeed eccentrics can be used for the upper body but you'll need some weight releases which are really only in actual powerlifting gyms. I don't have one so I've left them out and might get post something about them later.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Training Idea's You've Never Heard Of Part 6 - Force Absorption


I've been light on posts lately from extreme busyness but I'll wrap up these last parts of this series by next week.

We should be aware from this post that there are 3 main contraction types during a given exercise:

Eccentric - muscle lengthens

Isometric - muscle stays the same length

Concentric - muscle shortens

So during a squat action lowering down is the eccentric, the bottom position is the isometric (regardless of how fast you go there is an always an isometric contraction) and the "lifting' part is the concentric.

From a performance standpoint which is also touched on in the link above it can also be regarded as this:

Force Absorption - eccentric

Force Output - concentric

Now when thinking in force absorption and output terms the easiest way to do so is to think of the muscles and tendons as a rubber band, a big thick rubber band. A bigger and thicker rubber band can store more force when it is pulled back which results in greater force being released once you let go of it.

99.9% of athletes will almost exclusively try to improve their concentric strength and/or output through concentric training means only, resulting in plateau after plateau.

The big mistake here is that your concentric strength relies greatly on your eccentric strength because the more you force you can absorb, the you'll far greater potential to put force out.

In the video I demonstrate a few ways you can go about improving your eccentric strength.

The first exercise is just your basic back squat performed with a slow eccentric contraction over 5 - 6 seconds. You shouldn't need anymore then 4 - 12 total reps of these per session using a load from anything from 60 - 90% of your max. Obviously the heavier you go up in load then less reps you'll need.

Eccentric squats were a big part of the Triphasic Training program I ran with from September 2012 to June 2013 and they really teach you to stay tight through the core which adds plenty of pounds to all of your lifts.

These are best programmed in an eccentric block like they are in Triphasic and don't worry, you won't get weaker from not doing traditional squats.

Make sure you set those pins up correctly too!!

The second exercise is a depth drop or altitude landing which is now transferring the eccentric squat into actual performance - in this case jumping. Stand on a bench and actually step off it, don't jump off it and try to stick the landing as 'fast" as you can. Sticking it fast means that if your initial landing has a knee bend of 25 degrees then it should stay that way. If you can't stick the landing with the knee bend you initially land with then the drop height is too high.

Starting at a 12 inch box height progress to a height that is equal or slightly higher then your tested vertical jump. These can be very demanding on the nervous system so again your best served to perform these in a specific power block for 3 to 4 weeks before taking them out for the next 6 - 8 weeks.

The third exercise is called a drop squat and looks similar to the depth drop but is a lot different. What you're aiming to do is to drop your hips into the squat but pull your thighs upwards and then push them into the ground. They can be done with some external load but you'll definitely need to master these before adding weight of any kind. These aren't as demanding as depth drops so they can used at anytime for either a nervous system neural charge exercise, or a plyometric type exercise.

The depth drop and drop squat exercises also train a bit of stiffness and forefoot action too!!


I'm feverishly putting together this years pre season training program with the possibility of running a training camp in the studio. If you're interested in either then let me know via the Facebook page.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Training Idea's You've Never Heard Of Part 5 - Relax and Get Faster


I love the 100 meter sprints when the Olympics are on. I don't get up early for much but last year I got up everyday in the second week of the O's when the 100 and 200 meter sprints were on.

Every race has 5 replays but the relevant one in regards to this post is the view from the finish line looking straight down the track to the on coming sprinters.

It's during this particular view that can see each of the sprinters faces of which you'll see their cheeks wobbling all over the place, and in the case of Shirvo back in his day, other "bits" too!

The ability to relax when you are attempting to run at top speed is critical.

Try this out for size:

Sit on the floor with your torso fully upright, clench your fist as hard as you can so your arms all tense up (c'mon, you know how to do that part) and then pump your arms as fast as you can like your sprinting. Count your arm pumps.

After a quick breather assume the same position but this time extend and point each of your fingers not quite as hard as you can but about 75% and repeat the arm pumping action from before. Count your arm pumps again.

I bet you my left one you got more arm pumps on the 2nd set...well you should have.

When you clench up then all of your muscles go into state of isometric contraction which means there are no other contractions be performed which means you're not really going to get anywhere, let alone get there fast.

The secret your looking to unlock is to be able to contract and relax in a short as time as possible.

In my recent posts I have talked about forefoot dominance and stiffness and this ties in with each of them and somewhat overlap in how you'd train them.

In the video below I run through a few exercises to train relaxation.

The first exercises is times squats which are best performed with 25 - 55% of your 1 rep max for 3 - 10 seconds. The heavier the weight you use then the shorter timed sets you'd use. If the arm pumping example didn't work for you before then you'll definitely get what I mean about not being able to go as fast as you potentially can without the ability to relax during these. Full range of motion is necessary for these sets as you're focusing on speed so the range of motion used during footy is all you need which is somewhere between a 1/4 and 1/2 squat.

I then move into a russian sprint which trains the ability relax and then contract at the very end range of motion. You want to keep your hips level so don't turn this into a lunge jump where you aim to get up to give you room to switch your legs. By keeping your hips level of your starting position, you need to fully relax to generate the speed to get from end range to end range. 2 - 3 sets of 4 - 8 each leg is suitable here but stop each set once your speed and/or quality of movement decreases.

This type of training can also be used for the upper body through various movements with a drop and catch bench press being displayed by yours truly. So you're contracting somewhat holding the bar at lockout then when you drop the bar, you must relax in a millisecond to get under the bar to catch it where you then contract again very hard. As you catch the bar, stop it where you touch it, try not to catch it and have it lower a little bit in your hands. Again 2 - 3 sets of 4 - 8 can be used here again in the 25 - 50% range.

I actually have a bunch more of these I;'m using now that I'll post about later on when I've given them a good run through first.

Pop these in your warm up as you need to do these exercises in a fresh state to get the most out of them.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Training Idea's You've Never Heard Of Part 4 - Stiff As a Honeymooners


In honor of the retirement of the great 'Stiffy' Johncock or purely by coincidence, this week's post will focus on stiffness on why you actually WANT it.

Of course I couldn't be possibly talking about stiffness in the truest sense of the word as we know because stiffness in muscles and joints usually leads to extended time on the injury list so no, I am not referring to that.

What I am talking about is stiffness of the lower leg, especially the Achilles tendon.

Like all tendons, the Achilles stores energy, releasing it when you sprint or jump. Think of it as a giant rubber band.

When you pull the rubber band back (the storing energy part) you will back it back until it's as tight as you can get it without snapping and let it go all of a sudden in an attempt to get as much distance (the releasing energy part) as you can.

If you only pull it a little bit back then all the slack won't have been taken out of it and once you let it go it basically flops on the spot and drops right at your feet.

So as you can see stiffness in the lower leg area is a must to excel on the football field.

Combine this with some forefoot dominance described in my last post and you've really set yourself up to become a speed demon with a relatively low intensity and low volume meaning you can slot this into any type of program you;re doing without fear of tipping you into the overtraining box.

There is a video of some exercises you can use for stiffness below which again you'd pop into your warm up after your forefoot exercises for a couple of sets each. For toe jumps do 20 - 30 reps per set. For the line and lateral line jumps do 10 second sets counting the reps you can get in each set. For the split jumps do sets of 5 - 8 per leg.

There are plenty of exercises you can use for this and I might make a video of all of them in the future but any low level jump or hop will do hear with your main focus to keep foot deformity to a minimum like last week and also keep your knees as straight as you can so the lower leg has to do all the work.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Training Idea's You've Never Heard Of Part 3 - Put Your Best Foot Forward


What's the most important part of your car?

The engine is a good answer but what connects the engine with the road?

Ah yes, the wheels.

If your wheels can't support the engine then bad things happen. Bad expensive things. And no doubt you'd get onto that right away.

As this a blog on footy and the preparation of your body for it, lets go out of the speaking in metaphors.

You pump it all the way up in the gym getting bigger and stronger in the hope of getting faster and thus better (cos speed is king).

You'll squat. You'll deadlift. You'll lunge. A lot of you will leg extend which is a waste of time but hey, not everyone's perfect.

But let's go back a bit and think about the actual motion of running.

What's the only part of your body to touch the ground when you run?

What part of your body needs to be able to absorb and then release all the strength and power you've built up in your hips and legs to make sprinting faster an actual reality?

I bet you've never trained your feet and that's a huge mistake.

Specifically you want to focus on your big toe and your arch.

Addressing the big toe first If you have a stiff big toe then 3 major issues can arise.

1 - When you walk the entire body must advance over the foot and ankle but if your big toe is inhibited (just doesn't work like its meant to) then you'll fond another way around which alters your alignment and can cause problems at the foot, ankle, knee, hip, low back and even shoulder/neck issues.

2 - If you can't load your big toe then it can become arthritic pretty quickly.

3 - You won't be able to achieve triple extension or an adequate toe off position to achieve optimal sprinting mechanics and thus you won't be able to access the "engine room' you've worked long and hard to build up in the gym.

Addressing the arch, it's main role in sprinting is to be able to be strong enough to put as much force as you can generate into the ground with as little deformity as possible. If you bounce a flat footy on the ground it flattens out when it comes in contact with the ground and barely springs back if at all.

If you have a weak arch, and in a lot cases no arch at all, then you're leaking just as much power as you are generating.

To determine if it your big toe is an issue for you then record yourself doing some reverse lunges and look at your back foot. If your big toe is no good then you'll be loading your smaller toes on the outside of your foot and you won't be very stable either.

To determine if your arch is an issue then record your self performing a bodyweight squat and look for your foot to roll inwards as you descend into your deepest position.

Below is a video of some exercises that I've been using to train the forefoot.

For the squats onto toes focusing on pushing right through the big toe on every rep.

For the step ups again focusing on pushing through the big toe and limit foot deformity by maintaining the plantar flexed angle you start with.

For the depth drops focus on landing on your toes again limiting deformity of the foot upon landing and hold each landing for 1 - 2 seconds in an athletic stance.

The skipping basically puts all this together so stay on tour toes, push right through your big toe and keep foot deformity to a minimum where your heels should not touch the ground at all


Pop these in your warm up for 8 - 15 reps focusing on quality over quantity and aim for 3 - 4 times a week.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Training Idea's You've Never Heard Of Part 2 - Breathe Yourself Flexible


Last week I posted about diaphragmatic breathing and if your breathing patterns are not optimal, how they can cause joint and muscle tightness which WILL negatively affect your performance on a Saturday (if you're not already injured from them!)

To quickly recap when your breathing patterns, with the main culprit being a lack of diaphragmatic breathing, then 2 things can, and will happen.

1 - You'll tend to breath through your chest which will result in a lot of chest, neck and shoulder contractions every time you breath and with repeated contraction comes overactivity of all of these muscles which leads to chronic tightness. This will negatively affect your shoulder mobility. Massage or physio won't help here at all post 12 - 24 hours of treatment because you'll continue breath the way you do, and those muscles continue to work a very high rate.

and;

2 - Your diaphragm is one of the many muscles that is responsible for core stability. When this muscle is not being used to breath it's like any other muscle, and will become weak and unaccustomed to the roles that it's designed for. Again like any muscle, when it doesn't perform as optimally as it should then stress is shifted to other muscles to pick up the slack. In this case the muscles are hip, being closest in proximity to the lumbar spine, will become stabilisers and tighten up to provide that stability.

There's a fair chance that if you suffer from one then you'll be suffering from the other as well so both area's will need to be addressed.

Firstly you'll need to retrain your breathing patterns as described in last week's post linked above.

Secondly you'll need to integrate this diaphragmatic breathing pattern into stretches for the upper and lower body.

Over at my actual business website I have made up some home rehabilitation books with one each for knees, lower back and shoulders that has a step by step program for each. Head over to here to purchase through the Paypal link making payment to lange_troy@hotmail.com.

As a short case study I had a client who took a fall and developed a frozen shoulder about a week later because of it. He took a week off personal training from doctors orders then came back before he was meant to because he wanted to. His first session in he could only lift his hand off his hip about 10 - 15 degrees. In 10 - 14 days which would have accounted for 5 - 6 personal training sessions using the exact protocol from the shoulder book, we had him raising his arm all the way to the roof pain free but with a little discomfort.

These books works because it actually gets to the heart of the problem instead of treating a few symptoms and getting some very short term benefit only to fall back to your starting point in a day or 2.

If you have restriction anywhere then these books will go a long way to regaining that range of motion which will then set you up correctly to 'cement" that new and improved posture through strength training.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Training Idea's You've Never Heard Of Part 1 - Diaphragmatic Breathing


Last month I posted about my up coming series on "Training Idea's You've Never Heard Of", and now that I  have finally filmed the videos I needed for them, let's get rolling.

First I'm going to teach you how to breath. Yep, you read that right.

Not having correct patterns can be hazardous in a shitload of ways. For the athlete the main one's is that your oxygen circulation will not be as good as it could be limiting endurance and it can lead to chronic muscle tightness.

As always the first thing to do is an assessment of your breathing so set up your camera phone, press record and take a video of you taking 3 big, deep breathes while lying on your back. Make these the biggest breathes you can take.

I'll wait for you to do that before I go on..................................................................................................

OK now have a look back at that video and see if your chest rises up more then anything when you take a breathe in. Am I correct? I probably am as I haven't seen anyone not breathe through their chest who I've tested this on which includes probably every client that has come through my studio in the last 6 months as well as friends and family I used as guinea pigs to put this into action.

So why is chest breathing so bad? Well it means that your not really using the muscle/s that are designed to actual perform your breathing with the biggest one being your diaphragm.

Being a chest breather is very uncool in 2 major ways.

The 1st way is that when you breath through your chest then you are contracting your pecs, front delts, upper traps and various neck muscles 20,000 times a day. Coincidentally it's these muscles that are chronically tight from sitting in front of a computer all day, driving and terrible programming with your gym program.

The 2nd way is when your diaphragm is not being used it becomes weak like any muscle. Being a member of the core muscle family, and a pretty damn important one at that, if it is weak than your core stability is not going to be as good as it could be either. What happens here is that because your core muscles are there to support the lumbar spine and pelvis above all else, when they can't because of weakness then the muscles in and around the hip will provide the stability instead which means they tighten up like North Melbourne in a 4th quarter.

That tight groin you have is probably not going to go away with some rest and massage because if you're still breathing, which is advantageous in regards to living, then those muscles are still being overworked.

Here's a video of yours truly with the first 2 breathes of each variation being purposefully bad ones, and the last 2 breathes being correctly demonstrated. Archie is also pretty good at it too but if you look at infants, they all are.



Notice how I breathe heavily through my chest on the first 2 breathes then strictly through the diaphragm on the last 2.

When practicing diaphragmatic breathing there are some rules to abide by.

1 - Breath in through your nose taking as much air in as you can in a controlled manner, we're not sniffing a mate's fart here.

2 - I instruct clients for the first half of the inhalation to fill the top part of your belly and then for the second half to push it down to your lower belly, essentially filling your entire belly.

3 - At the midpoint of the breathe your looking for 360 degree expansion of your core so you should feel pressure in the front, back and both sides of your belly. If you were a weight belt then that's what your aiming for.

4 - Hold that breath for about a second

5 - Through purst lips, exhale the breathe slowly and controlled. Again don't be in a hurry here.

6 - Each breath should take about 7 - 8 seconds to complete.

Perform a set of 10 breathes at the start of each gym session and actually the more you can practice this the better.

Going back to the video, I do breathing on my back (supine) and on my front (prone). I suggest starting off in a supine position and once you can do all 10 breathes without your chest moving at all, then roll onto your front and try the prone variation. The progression here is that you now are working against some resistance to get the 360 degree expansion in the form of your body pushing against the ground.

Have a crack at this and let me know how you go. Next week I'll post about using this diaphragmatic breathing to improve flexibility and mobility, a thing most of you can probably use.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Training Idea's You've Heard Of...Until Now

                                           

Time has not been on my side of late but I've had this post idea lined up for some weeks now but as I haven't shot the videos for it them I'll make it a 2-parter.

For the uninitiated gym goer, going to the gym involves lifting something up and down where progress is made through either lifting something heavier or lifting the same thing more times then last time.

Foe the initiated gym goer they will more then likely be aware that a traditional training rep involves 3 types of muscle contraction being an eccentric, isometric and concentric.

The eccentric portion is the lengthening of the muscle (lowering into a bench press), the isometric portion is the midpoint of the rep (on the chest for a bench press) and the concentric is the shortening of the muscle (lifting off the chest in a bench press).

Emphasis can be placed on each of these contractions in various ways and can be of benefit to everyone if used correctly.

This has been done for the ages but I'm gonna shed some light on some other either forgotten, or just unknown, training methods that are geared specifically towards peptide-free performance enhancement.

In my next 2 - 3 posts I will touch on each of the following, why you should be using them and how to slot them into your training right now:


  • Breathing Patterns
  • Stretching Through Correct Breathing
  • Training the Feet/Ankle Complex
  • Tendon Stiffness 
  • Force Absorption
  • Eccentric Overload
  • Relaxation
  • Contraction/Relaxation
I hope to get all the videos shot for these this week so hopefully you'll be able to use some of these 'new' methods in a weeks time.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Beetroot Juice = Improve Endurance



In my previous post I was about to embark on a little supplementation experiment with beetroot juice and its effects on endurance.

I loaded Thursday, Friday and Saturday with 70ml each day coupled with some apple juice to taste it up a little.

As usual I salt loaded Friday lunchtime and had my regulatory Powerade pre game (50% Powerade and 50% water) but I also added my last beetroot juice load to that drink.

The results?

Nothing world beating but I managed to get through the entire 4 quarters rather well for my near non existent endurance training regime. We got pumped as well which means there was a ridiculously high volume of ball coming into our backline which meant you barely got your breath back before you had to go again. I also had 3 blokes changing through my position so they were fresh as daisies. Yep, tough day at the office!!

I will continue with this throughout the year except I will load from Wednesday which I would have done last week but I couldn't find anywhere to get it until Thursday.

Hopefully I'll also be able to hit the training track with a little but more frequency too which will help but you'll be amazed how you're endurance can improve simply through running as hard as you can throughout a game.

So if you're one of those blokes like me who can't get to training for whatever reason (hopefully it's a good one though, not a lazy one) then get as much out of a game as you can. Don't just run for the sake of it, but run to receive, run to make space, run to assist a teammate. These are all things that you should be doing anyway.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Beetroot Juice = Improved Endurance?

At the best of times of times my endurance sucks balls. At my absolute fittest back in the mid 90's, I could maintain a fast sprint with rest but a decent continuous pace is not what my body was made for.

This year I think I've only been able to get to footy training no more then 5 times with 2 full games and an intraclub game under the belt.

So it's fair to say I'm so far behind the 8 ball it's ridiculous. So I'm looking for any edge I can get at this point.

Enter Beetroot Juice.

I first read about the benefits of beetroot juice in regards to improving endurance a few years ago and with my great history of not trying new foods, never really gave it a second thought.

With already a bunch of injuries at my footy club this year (we're only up to round 2 and had 6 - 8 changes this week!) then I need to be able to run out a game sooner rather then later.

Beetroot juice contains nitrate which for all you supplement taking gym goers will recognise as the nitric in nitric oxide (NO Explode). Unless your one of those blokes who just take supp's becaase your mate is then you should also know that nitrate increases the diameters of your blood vessels allowing for greater blood flow to working muscles.

On Wednesday after Google searching then ringing a bunch of places that haven't stocked the stuff in years (take your websites down when you're out of business areseholes!!) then I finally got onto an Everlyn Gaye shop in South Melbourne on Thursday that had just plain old beetroot juice where I made my purchase and off I went.

So Thursday, Friday and again tomorrow I have had 70ml of the beetroot juice with some apple juice for tasty purposes and we'll see how it rolls. A 1 liter bottle costs $8 so it's cheap enough and pretty easy to drink with the apple juice.

I only managed to train Thursday this week so I haven't gone and ran a bunch of marathons (thoughts with Boston by the way) to improve my endurance and I eat the same foods Thursday to game time so if I see any improvements then it will be from the juice.

In the next few days I'll report back with how it went.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Training Stuff You Never Even Knew Existed

It's 3/4 time in the Bombers / Demons game and it's 102 points so there could simply not be a better time to put together a little blog post.

How do most blokes train in the gym?

Go in, lift some weights for 3 sets of 8 - 12 then go home.

Not much thought goes into it. It's been done like that for years so it continues to stay that way. What stands out more than anything is that this style of training will rarely give you much in the way of actually making you a better footballer. You might get stronger in the gym buy when did you ever do a 100kg bench press in a football game? You might leg press (yes, leg press actually made it into my blog...it only took 3 and a bit years!) 200kgs but when did you ever do something resembling that on a Saturday? Never I hope.

Before I go on just be sure that I am not one of those people that thinks genetics is everything otherwise this blog would be useless but AFL players have something genetically over most of us. They are either bigger, faster, stronger or much better natural runners then everyone else. So for them, a lot of their gym training is based around just keeping the body strong, not to actually shatter powerlifting records, and to build enough armor to combat collision after collision as well as to ward off non contact and contact injuries.

Take someone like Lewis Jetta for example. He is freakishly quick so I assume a lot of his training is to build his endurance and strength. That is piss easy to program for and it's basically all up to him to how far and how hard he attacks this to become the complete player.

Most of us in amateur and local football leagues need to train differently then most blokes described above. We might not be blessed with blistering speed or natural body strength so we can't train the way someone who does have these traits and expect to be just like them.

Over the coming weeks I'll list some things that I have trained in my own training that you probably didn't even know existed, why to train them and how to do train them.

Things like force absorption, eccentric overload, forefoot, breathing patterns, core training, speed strength, strength speed, contrast methods, sprinting and anything else I can think of that I haven't really covered yet on this blog.

As always if there's something you've heard about or seen that you'd like to know more about then let me know via the Facebook page and I'll put something up on that too.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In-Season Training Manual Now Available!!


A few weeks ago I posted some information on my blog in regards to in season training. You can view them at these links:



The main point of these posts is to underline the importance of a structured in-season training program both on the track and in the gym with both being as important as the other.

I’m a personal trainer by trade so I often work the hours that footy training is on. I still hit the gym as hard as I do in the off season, especially if I know I won’t be making training (I’m not a big runner outside of footy training!!).

I have done this since my 2009 comeback except for last year but  have still managed to avoid any injury of any sort and played every game in that time. I don’t know of many 34 year olds that can say that so it really does highlight how important a gym program can be, especially as you get older.

Here are the 5 most important reasons why a properly structured in-season training program is essential to you and your team’s success.

1 – The Maintenance of Your Off / Pre Season Endurance/Speed/Strength Improvements

As discussed above, your aim for in-season training should simply be, at a minimum, to maintain the improvements you made in the off and pre season. Once you reach a relatively high level of fitness, strength or speed, then it takes only about 50% of the volume to maintain it then what it took to actually get it. This can occur if intensity is high enough, frequently enough. Intensity rules in sport and you’re much better deserved doing a very intensive 40 – 50min session then a long drawn out 70 – 90min session.

2 – To Decrease the Risk of Injury By Balancing Out the Muscles/Actions Used in Footy

Soft tissues injuries, especially at top levels of football, should not happen. They can be predicted through restricted movement, injury history and many other factors. I am obviously aware that 90% of local football teams simply don’t have the resources for this kind of stuff but that is exactly why I have this site and why I release my manuals.

When you look at footy there is a lot of 1 action repeatedly. When you run you raise your knee towards your hips with each step which is called hip flexion. Hip flexion uses the hip flexor muscle complex and the quadriceps to perform the action. The opposite action is hip extension and that is performed primarily (or it should be) by the glutes with some help from the hamstrings. When you overload one set of muscles, it will eventually lead to an overuse of this action and thus the muscles involved in the action. This is why there are so many anterior hip, groin and quad injuries in footy. How often do you read of a torn glute muscle? NEVER!! This is because it’s so string it’s indestructible, it’s because it simply doesn’t do enough work because with a very quadriceps dominant pattern, it can actually turn off the glutes leaving all the running work to the muscles on the front of the leg when most of it should be done by the muscles on the back of the leg.

3 – Increase Your In-Season Work Capacity

Taking into account a game and 2 x 60 – 90 minute training sessions, your running volume should be easily covered and then some so to avoid the aforementioned overuse injuries, to improve your work capacity even further, increasing your running volume is not the best option.

By doing a few days in the gym you throw a different stimulus at the body but a stimulus that is actually required in footy – max strength. Max strength is the base of all other fitness qualities. Sprinting speed is directly correlated to how much force you can put into the ground and then reverse back out through the feet , which is best improved by increasing your strength levels. Now if because of my strength levels I can 100m in 12 seconds and your lack of leg strength results in a 15 second 100m sprint time, who is going to be quicker in the 4th quarter when it’s the game is on the line. Even if we fatigue at the exact same level during the game, I’ll always be 3 seconds faster than him.

Speed is king!!

4 – To Maintain Lean Bodyweight

I played with a ruckman last year who lost 5 – 6kgs from the start of the season to the last game. He did 90% of the rucking duties on his own (he has a pretty good tank) but by the last few rounds of the year the long season had taken its toll. Ruckman of the same quality but with bigger bodies were out bodying and out jumping him.

When you neglect strength training during the in-season you’ll suffer a decrease in muscle mass and a smaller muscle does not have the potential for strength as a bigger muscle.

You can offset weight loss by eating but I’ve seen a lot of local football player’s diets and they ain’t pretty which will possibly result in fat gain and muscle loss – not a good combo.

5 – To Not Finish Like Essendon in 2012!!

We are all aware of what’s going on, or what supposedly went on at Essendon last year. They were 2nd on the ladder before the “supplements’ they were taking were shelved by the club and resulted in a finishing position of 11th.

The lesson to be learnt from this is that finishing strong is just as important, if not more important than starting strong. Each year the Sydney Swans seem to have it going at the right end of the year. In the NBA the Miami Heat have won 19 games in a row with 3 weeks left before the playoffs when they seem to be ‘struggling” in the middle of the year.

Today I release the Aussie Rules In-Season Training Manual to provide you with all the answers of the above and more!! You can order it via the Paypal link to the right of screen.

Once notification of payment hits my email then I'll email it through - too easy!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

In Season Training Manual Contents


The season is finally here - well the AFL season anyway!!

I've been feverishly working away on the extremely long waited in season training manual. I've actually had a version 2 near completed version for the last 2 seasons but never quite got either of them finished in time and by the time it came time for the next one, I'd learnt a lot more and needed to redo it basically.

So this year I started a bit early and I'm 95% done - I just have some videos to do and some further editing stuff.

The contents of the manual is as follows:


  • Introduction
  • Strength and Fitness Components of Aussie Rules Football
  • The Goal of In Season Training
  • In-Season Training
  • Maintaining Your Of Season Gains During the In-Season
  • Strength and Muscle Mass
  • Speed
  • Endurance
  • Scheduling Your In-Season Training
  • Training Residuals
  • Dealing With In-Season Injuries
  • Training Around In-Season Injuries
  • To Periodise or Not to Periodise?
  • Auto Regulation Training
  • Neural State Testing
  • Set to Set Ramping
  • Speed
  • Endurance
  • Warm Up
  • Warm Up Sequencing
  • The Gym Program
  • Exercise Selection List
  • Neural Charge Workout
  • Workout Template A
  • Workout Template B
  • Exercise Substitutes
  • The Track Program
  • You're Only as Good as You're Recovery
  • Video List
Be on the lookout for the Aussie Rules Training In Season Manual in the next week or so!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

In Season Training - Do You Do It Right? Part 2

The 1 thing that you cannot forget when planning your in season training program is that this is not the pre season.

Your number 1 goal is your performance on Saturday. Your number 2 goal is your training performance on a Tuesday and a Thursday. Your number 3 goal is training to performance in the gym or any extra work you take on to compliment goals 1 and 2.

As you work down from goal 1 to goal 2 you need to determine if there is anything that negatively affects your performance for goal 1. For example you might be an older player (like me!!) with a few runs on the board which generally means that you can't go all out every Tuesday and Thursday night like your 20.

Working back down from goal 2 to goal 3, you also need to determine if there is anything you're doing in the gym that will affect goal 1 or goal 2. For example that chest and back fits nicely in your 4 day rotation in the summer but when you're barely getting to the gym 2 a week during the in season, then that plan has to change because if you're not training your legs in the gym, in the in season, then you're not serious.

So if you're only getting to the gym once or twice a week then you're sole purpose is to get the most from the least. Everything you do must be fully justified and in line with improving yourself as a footballer. There is already enough "goal confusion" in the summer where you're torn between gym training to actually improve your football or your chances at the beach, so let's not make that mistake again.

The next thing you want to look at is intensity. As you're aiming to get the most from the least then that means that intensity needs to be pretty high. Now when most players think of intensity they think of more volume or more fatigue like drop sets (never, ever do these please) or even worse, forced reps. This is not increasing intensity. Intensity is classed as a % of your maximum. For the gym this is based on your 1 rep max (actual or projected) and on the track it is a % of our max speed (time or pace) or max heart rate.

Once you do a drop set then you're intensity has actually decreased dramatically because you've decreased the weight, not to mention volume output in most cases. So plan out your program to add in periods of high intensity but you don't need to go high intensity all the time as you'll find out when the manual gets released in the next few weeks.

Like I said in my last post, I think in season training is on par, if not more important then pre season training because there's no point getting strong, bigger and fitter then you've ever been if it just falls away during the playing months. A, you'll start like a freight train and fall away when your gains fall away and B, you're back to start again in September meaning you'll only build back to where you are again now, not actually better.

2 posts in 3 days - I'm back!!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

In Season Training - Do You Do It Right? Part 1


How many of us go through this cycle?

The season finishes in September then it's time to hit gym. For starters we want to get bigger and stronger for footy next year and with the sun shining through, there are girls at the beach the same time we're there.

So in the 4 - 5 months you were really hitting the gym you might have put on 3 - 4kgs of muscle and improved 15 - 20% on your main lifts - all of which will serve you very well for the season proper in a couple of weeks.

We continue our gym efforts until about April when the season starts and then something happens. For some reason we all of a sudden become too busy to get to the gym. I'm not sure why this happens because footy training is still 2 nights a week so it's just a matter of changing your days around a little.

So the cycle starts with great intentions but finishes far too early and instead of maintaining your gains made in the off season, they are left shrivel back to their normal size in the case of muscle and in a case of use it or lose it, the nervous system doesn't worry about maintaining strength if it's not going to be used.

The question is - do you need to be near or at your strongest in the pre season or the in season? Surely the in season wins out easily. You'd never not run during the season and expect to be able to run your best each week so why not keep up the gym?

I've just finished my 26 week off season gym program today so immediately move into in season mode. Unfortunately I haven't really been able to get to training as often as I'd like so my fitness is way behind with a practice match 8 days away, but I will continue to train at least 4 days a week in the gym, if not 5. My first phase of in season training which starts next week will be 5 days a week (Monday to Friday) as well as Tuesday and Thursday footy training.

If you are perfect example of the player described above then let me know via our Facebook page why you stop gym training during the in season and I'll report back in the next few days with part 2.