Friday, December 12, 2014

How to Train Over the Xmas Break

For those teams who commence training pre Christmas, you'll have a 3 or 4 week break coming up.

You've already done some pretty hard yards in the last 4 - 8 weeks in a team setting, focusing on team orientated goals that need to be covered in a team setting.

You now have the time to individualise a little before heading back to team training in early to mid January.

Here's how you can do it.

You'll most likely do your last session for 2014 in the week pre Christmas which will give you 3 - 4 weeks to get some quality individual training in.

First determine your weakest aspect out of strength, speed and endurance. If you can'r decide then use these guidelines to help you:

Strength - Hip Thrust x 10 reps at 1.5 x your own bodyweight

Speed - 20m sprint 3.2secs or less

Endurance - resting heart rate under 60 beats per minute

Now a program for each quality.


You might be thinking a squat or a deadlift will be the go here but I'm going a different way - I'm going with the hip thrust.


Pure glutes that's why.

Squats will hit the glutes a bit and so will deadlifts but you can easily do both of these exercises without using the glutes at all.

Hip thrusts can also be performed with everything but the glutes which I'll redirect you to the "Glute Guy" for a little hip thrust tutorial article here.

Other great qualities you'll get is an increase in speed and having strong glutes can really off set a lot of lower body injuries you'll get from footy.

Programming wise you'll hip thrust every time you hot the gym and every off gym day at home.

Rotate through these 2 gym workouts when you go there:

Hip Thrust 1 - work up to a hip thrust max set. Week 1 do sets of 12 until you hit a max. Week 2 do sets of 10, week 3 do sets of 8 and week 4 do sets of 6.

Hip Thrust 2 - do 30 reps with 70% of the hip thrust max set from hip thrust workout 1.

Home Hip Thrust - do 5 x 20 of bodyweight hip thrusts straight into bodyweight glute bridges alternating the exercise you start with (circuit 1 hip thrust into glute bridge, set 2 glute bridge into hip thrust etc). Rest 1 minute between pairs.

Now that I know that you've read the hip thrust how to article above but in the end there is 1 rule that cannot be broken and that is the rule of glute activation.

If at any point glute activation ceases and the stress of the hip thrust shifts to your hamstrings and/pr lower back, then the hip thrust session is over. The point of this exercise is to train the glutes and pretty much nothing else so if it;s not training the glutes then it's really doing but nothing but hurting your back and giving you hamstring cramps.

You don't have to the hip thrust strength level above so leave your ego at the door on this one.


It staggers me of the little, if any, attention that is given to improving sprinting speed in local footy considering it;s the one's who do what we all do the fastest that play at the higher levels.

Simply staggers me!

Anyway if you're finally ready to take the plunge then here's your 4 weeks of training:

Week 1 - 30m acute hill sprint
Week 2 - 20m flat ground sprint
Week 3 - 20m slight hill sprint
Week 4 - 20m flat ground sprint

You'll do this 3 times a week each week either 3 days in a row (yes all in a row) or every 2nd day, whatever fits your schedule the best.

You're also going to time each sprint so get your stop watch and hand hold time yourself. Once you do a 2 sprints in a row that are slower then you're fastest set, go home.

For example say you do 4 sprints that are progressively faster with the times of 7.05secs, 6.93secs, 6.73secs, 6.44secs followed by a 6.65secs and a 6.59secs, then your quality of work is declining and you want to get outta there.

You'll also rest 4 - 5 minutes between sets and DO NOT cut this short!


For 7 days straight, take your resting heart rate every morning immediately upon waking and put it in your phone. After 7 days take an average and that's what we'll use for your resting heart rate.

If you're over 60 beats per minute then you'll need a plan focusing on lower intensity work. If you;re under 60 then you'll still do some lower intensity work but you'll also have some higher intensity stuff thrown in the mix.

Over 60 beats per minute:

Session 1 - Steady state running @ 130 - 150 beats per minute

Session 2 - Steady state running with 10 x 5 second bursts of 100% resting until heart rate is back to 130 beats per minute or 1 minute, whatever comes first. Do your 10 sets of intervals then continue with steady state x 10 - 20 minutes at 140 beats per minute.

Session 3 - Tempo intervals @ about 70% for 15 x 12 seconds with 1 minute rest + 10 - 20 minutes steady state at 140 beats per minute.

Under 60 beats per minute:

Session 1 - Steady state running with 20 x 5 second bursts of 100% resting until heart rate is back to 130 beats per minute or 1 minute, whatever comes first. Do your 20 sets of intervals then continue with steady state x 10 - 15 minutes at 140 beats per minute.

Session 2 - 22 x 5 seconds at 100% + tempo intervals @ about 70% for 22 x 12 seconds with 1 minute rest + 10 - 15 minutes of steady state at 140 beats per minute.

Session 3 - 6 - 8 x 90secs as fast as you can with 3 - 4 minutes rest or when heart rate returns to 130 beats per minute + tempo intervals for 12 x 12 seconds with 1 minute rest.

You'll see I've put in heart rate zones which means you have 2 options - get yourself a heart rate monitor (I got mine off gumtree for $40 - plenty on there for memory) or get annoyed stopping and taking it yourself between sets. In other words get yourself a heart rate monitor!!

So there you go - 3 programs for you to choose from to hit the ground running when pre season starts again in 2015.

"DON'T WASTE A SECOND" - Murray Bushrangers Mantra