Saturday, December 12, 2015

Consolidation of Stressors Video

During the week I put together a quick video detailing how the consolidation of stressors play a huge role in your long term training programming.

This is also covered in the Aussie Rules Ultimate Training Manual within the yearly program that's laid out in in for immediate use.

It only goes for 5mins of so but could make the difference between you peaking for round 1 or going into already fatigued.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Train Horizontally to Go Forwards - Faster!

Back in September of 2009 an article was posted to called "Dispelling the Glute Myth" by Bret Contreras, a then up-and-comer in the strength and conditioning industry.

He followed that up with "Advanced Glute Training" 1 month later and in it he discussed 'load vectors' which refer to the direction of the resistance relative to the human body. Since load vectors are relative to the human body, then you must take into account the position of the body as well as the direction of the resistance, to determine the load vector.

To cur right to the chase most lower body exercises train in the axial, or straight up and down, load vector, We're talking squats, deadlifts and most single leg exercises.

What you really need to do to take your sprinting speed and running economy to the next level is anteroposteriour load vector exercises. We're talking exercises that displaces your hips backwards and/or forwards when standing up or in a supine position.

When you run you're actually displacing your body horizontally through the air with each step so the squats and deadlifts will train for you to handle the vertical forces involved in ground contact, but you also need resisted sprints, swings and hip thrusts to propel you forward with speed.

Here's a list of some of the best anteroposterior exercises that you should include in your training program starting yesterday:

Resisted Sprints -

Hip Thrusts -

Overspeed Eccentric Swings -

Sprints -

Bounding -

I posted an exercise on Facebook about this time last year I called "cable swings" which is either a swing on a cable machine or an explosive pull through, depending on what you're familiar with. Either way it looks pretty silly but I felt that I couldn't really get the overspeed eccentric on a regular swing that I was looking for and as I train on my own, I couldn't do partner assisted swings either so I suppose I invented these.

Lange Swings anyone?

Anyway I did these for Dan John's 10'000 Swing Challenge and ran a 2.94sec 20m sprint without doing anything at all in those 2 weeks so it did something!

Cable Swings -

Keep some axial exercises in your program as vertical force production is still critical but do not neglect the anteroposteriour load vector for results that will actually carry over to the field.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Timeline of My Knee Rehab Part 1

On August 16th I had a pretty serious, but not major, injury to my left knee. As you can see from the image above (taken 3 days post injury), there was quite major swelling which generally indicates not all is right. Here's a look at my timeline since then:

Aug 16th - Suffered Knee Injury
Aug 20th - Rack Pull x 5 reps at 30kgs...yes 30kgs - just a quite 100-odd kgs of my general max! But you gotta start somewhere I suppose.
Aug 27th - Rack Pull x 3 reps at 77.5kgs
Aug 31st - Rack Pull x 3 reps @ 87.5kgs...aiming to play in the Preliminary Final this Saturday!

Sep 1st - Attempted Tuesday night training where I hobbled through 12 run-throughs over 40m or so...pulled out of prelim final
Sep 6th - Got some pain meds from the doctor which I will test drive tomorrow
Sep 7th - Pain meds seem to work well it seems. I had 1 mid morning like I would pre-game next week and the pain did subside. 2 would definitely do the trick so I'm in for next week....except we lost!!F$$^^&K!!!!!!!!
Sep 10th - Rack Pull x 3 @ 97.5kgs
Sep 12th - did Front Squats for the first time post-injury and did 3 x 65kgs
Sep 16th - Rack Pull x 3 @ 112.5kgs and Front Squats x 3 @ 70kgs
Sep 21st - Front Squat 3 x 75kgs
Sep 23rd - Rack Pull 3 x 125kgs
Sep 25th - Front Squat 3 x 80kgs + started Bulgarian Split Squats x 8 at bodyweight.
Sep 28th - Rack Pull 1 x 140kgs...totally miscalculated here, I was going for 130-something!! Started Pistol Squats where I could lower about 3 - 4" only to a bench and get back up. How the mighty fall!

Oct 2nd - Front Squat 2 x 95kgs...Increased Pistol range of motion by about 2"
Oct 5th - Started Aerobic Capacity work which I have been doing by playing basketball where I've set up a little program I do and I time it which I described on Facebook around this time. It's low impact and low force as it's just basic shooting from various spots on the court and most importantly, it's not boring like running or doing the cross trainer. Started out at 30mins.
Oct 9th - Front Squats 1 x 100kgs
Oct 10th - Increased Pistol ROM by another 2"
Oct 12th - Aerobic Capacity increased to 45mins
Oct 13th - Started Front Squat Lockouts which I videoed on Facebook around this time 3 x 105kgs
Oct 14th - Increased Pistol ROM another 2"
Oct 15th - Started Band Drop and Catch Squats to work eccentric strength 3 x 65kgs
Oct 17th - Bulgarian Split Squat 6 x 15kgs
Oct 19th - Band Drop and Catch Squats x 3 @ 70kgs
Oct 20th - Increased Pistol ROM another 2" + Aerobic Capacity increased to 60mins
Oct 21st - Front Squat Lockout 3 x 110kgs
Oct 22nd - Band Romanian Deadlift 5 x 75kgs which I videoed on Facebook around this time.
Oct 23rd - Bulgarian Split Squat 5 x 22.5kgs
Oct 27 - Increases Pistol Squat ROM another 2"
Oct 28th - Front Squat Lockout 3 x 115kgs
Oct 29th - Band Romanian Deadlift 5 x 85kgs
Oct 30th - Bulgarian Split Squat 5 x 27.5kgs

Nov 2nd - Band Drop and Catch Squats 3 x 80
Nov 4th - Front Squat Lockout 1 x 120kgs + increased Pistol Squat ROM another 2'
Nov 6th - Band Romanian Deadlift 5 x 95kgs + Bulgarian Split Squat 5 x 30kgs
Nov 9th - Introduced Skipping 6 x 50 as reactiveness has all but left me from being ground based for so long + increased Pistol Squat ROM another 2"
Nov 11th - Front Squat Lockout 1 x 130kgs...a few days I started to develop a cyst on the inside of my left leg which I knew would be cut out once I went to doctors tomorrow so I maxed out on the Lockouts because I'll need the next week a half off legs while I have a small hole in my leg.
Nov 23rd - Started Reactive Ladder exercises, otherwise known as the agility ladder, to start increasing ground contact force as well to develop lower leg/foot stiffness.
Nov 24th - Romanian Deadlift Triphasic Training style 6 x 1 @ 70kgs + Moderate Hill Runs x 10 sets - 1st TIME RUNNING!!!
Nov 25th - Romanian Deadlift Triphasic @ 72.5kgs + Hills x 15

So here's been thinking in ordering my comeback:
Step 1 - Improve basic movement back the knee, especially flexion (general strength work performed in Aug/Sep)
Step 2 - Improve strength through my left leg, especially flexion again (high force strength work performed in Sep/Oct)
Step 3 - Improve ground force through the leg starting with moderate force and low velocity/impact (low impact jump/hops/hill work performed in Nov)
Step 4 - Improve ground force through the leg with high force and moderate velocity/impact (resisted flat ground sprints to come in Dec)
Step 5 - Improve ground force through the leg with moderate force and high velocity (acceleration flat ground sprints to come in Dec/Jan)
Step 6 - Improve ground force through the leg with low force and high velocity (max velocity work to come in Jan/Feb)

I will not start any other conditioning work, but still continue my aerobic capacity basketball stuff, until I can run at full speed. You've got to stay the course!

So as you can see small incremental increases do work wonders over time. I don't need to be at 100% until March/April (depending if I play practice games or not) so there is no need to be in a rush.

So if you are coming back from an injury then sit down and work out where you are now and where you need to get to then plug in the "how to get there" bit in the middle but give yourself time. You might not be 1000% fit for round 1 but is that really a big deal? Would you rather be 80% fit for round 1 but 100% fit for finals or the other way around?

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Ultimate Pre Season Team Training Session

Off the back of the pre-season training starting up for most, if not all, footy clubs at the moment, here's what a perfect pre-season training team training session would look like IF I had total control over the team and session:

Before hitting the track everyone goes through the Be-Activated Zone 1 Activation Points with Diaphragmatic Breathing then run out as a team. This should take about 5mins.

In small groups or pairs (depending on how many footy's you have), make sure you get 100 - 200 touches (kicks + handballs) on your bad side and 50 - 100 on your good side. This should take about 7 - 8mins.

As a team do a lap plus some tempo runs with dynamic mobility drills thrown in at each end starting with ground based movements and progressing to standing movements as you progress through the warm up. This should take about 5 - 7mins.

Core and muscle temperature should now be raised with a light sweat so now it's time to prime the nervous system for the intense training ahead.

Now I'd set up stations for stiffness and single leg reactivity and break the team into 2 groups. Each station would have 2 - 3 exercises and performed for 3 - 5mins each station so 6 - 10mins total.

So all up from start to finish the prep work should take about 30mins but you've actually trained physical traits in this time in muscle activation, joint mobility, skill development, lower leg stiffness and single leg reactivity.

Now to the actual nuts and bolt of the session.

Next up is acceleration work over 10 - 20m for 5 - 8 sets with full walk back rest for 1min for every 10m covered per set (i.e. 10m = 1min, 20m = 2mins etc). You can do more stationary skill work between sets if you wish.

Next up we can work agility and change of direction with some small sided handball games in tight confines for 20 - 30sec intervals x 2 - 4 sets and then resting while other teams go.

Even though you'll have been training for 45mins or so by now there still should be limited fatigue build up as we've been predominantly working the alactic energy system which is covered with no longer then 10sec work periods with full rest so we're definitely going for quality over quantity here.

Next up you can throw some skill development in here with a good idea, depending on numbers, to run 2 drills at once. So use a bigger drill and a smaller drill and alternate your groups every 3 - 5mins. I think coaches can stick with some drills for far too long and players lose interest and get a bit bored. When setting up drills though try and make sure that players will get adequate enough rest for skills to maintained at a very high level. You can't improve technical aspects of any sport under fatigue, especially if you're skill level is low already. Fatigue will simply make skill level worse and no one gets better, no one gets fitter and they just get tired.

So after your skill work which may take another 30mins or so, I would now suggest you do whatever aerobic work you have planned because now it won't interfere with skill and speed, traits that can only be improved in a fully non-fatigued state.

To warm down you can go through some more dynamic or static stretches and finish off with some more deep breathing to get your players back into a parasympathetic state from a nervous system point of view which will get them into recovery mode straight after training.

To see how all this looks in an actual program then definitely check out the Ultimate Footy Training Manual on sale NOW!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

3 Part Yearly Programming Webinar

I probably should have done this slightly earlier in the "season' but I only got around to it last week so what I've done is a 30-something minute webinar that gives you a template to use when developing your training over a 9 - 10 month season.

Aimed at coaches, fitness staff and players it looks at personal and team training through the off-season, pre-season and in-season.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments you have on on this through the Facebook page.

So with further ado - part 1!

And now part 2 -

Friday, October 16, 2015

Can You Keep Up? A 37yr Old with a Bung Knee's Off-Season

So I'm now officially 37 as of about 3 weeks ago and still the oldest on the senior/reserve list at my club.

As I've written about previously my season ended early with a pretty severe hyper-extension of my left knee in the final home and away game that caused me, for the very first time in 29yrs of footy, to miss consecutive games - and finals games no less.

Going out in straight sets as the top team didn't sit well with me either - especially from a spectators point of view!

So my training started way back on August 16th - yes I've been training for 2 months already - and even with this knee that won't go away I've completed 30 sessions with a multitude of home issues happening (death in family, wife and son with hospital stays!!)

Here's a breakdown of what I've been up to:

August - I've always been an excellent "recoverer" and when I did my knee I still had the thought process that I would play again in 2015, whether it be a preliminary or a grand final. I couldn't run but 3 days post injury I was back deadlifting and hip thrusting, even if it was very light relative to my normal numbers. I tried to train the Tuesday before the prelim but couldn't and rules myself out of Saturday that night. The grand final was all I had left. Unfortunately we ran into a team that was the clear 3rd placed team this year (having not beaten the top 2 sides at all during the year) whose senior team had already made it straight through the GF so they dropped 5 players from that team (and would play and win a senior GF the very next week) in the 2's and we got done. Shithouse.

September - so with footy over and my knee still cactus I battled on with a focus on getting my strength back up to pre-season levels. By the end of September I had deadlifted 140kgs for a single and Front Squatted 80kgs for 3 reps. The knee is fine lifting heavy in the gym, it's the jolting on running it doesn't like.

October - Now with all footy completed it was time to introduce aerobic capacity. This would usually be done by 99% of players by doing some 5 - 10km runs but I hate running with 2 good knees, and machine cardio is even more boring so I play basketball with a little sequence I follow. I wear my heart rate monitor to ensure that I staying withing aerobic capacity heart rate ranges to ensure I am getting the training effect I'm actually after. I discuss the importance of heart rate training in the new 2016 Ultimate Footy Training Manual.

November - I'm gonna have to get this knee imaged I think - it's just not going away like I thought it would! I'm 99% there's no damage that needs to much attention but maybe I just need to stay off right off it but I'll get it looked at to make sure - I don't like making guesses and missing training if I don't have to! I've got my strength up so I can take some time off for legs and let them recover without too much un-training and I can probably just focus on some bro-training for a while - as boring as that is!

You can follow my workouts on the main Facebook page for this blog as I'm posting them up each session I do and dolt forget the early bird price for the 2016 Ultimate Footy Training Manual finishes this weekend. Click the Buy Now button up top to purchase.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Contents of 2016 Ultimate Footy Training Manual Revealed!!

Here's the contents of the new 2016 Ultimate Footy Manual which is available RIGHT NOW for the pre-order price of $75 which will go up in 7 days time. Hit the link at the top of this page!!

#1 - Introduction + Resources List
#2 - Rehabilitation
#3 - Be Activated
#4 - Reset Program
#5 - Reset Program Spreadsheet
#6 - Coaches Corner Energy Systems
#7 - Coaches Corner Recovery
#8 - Coaches Corner Skill Optimisation
#9 - Coaches Corner Fatigue
#10 - Coaches Corner Ordering Your Training Sessions
#11 - Coaches Corner Accountability Board
#12 - Coaches Corner Monitoring Heart Rate
#13 - Heart Rate Variability + APP
#14 - Daily Monitoring Checklist
#15 - Training the Big Toe, Foot and Ankle Complex
#16 - Extensive Plyometrics
#17 - Single Leg Reactivity
#18 - Seconds Timer + APP
#19 - Low Load-High Force Gym Work
#20 - Month 1 Spreadsheet
#21 - Triphasic Training
#22 - Month 2 Spreadsheet
#23 - Month 3 Spreadsheet
#24 - 2 Week Xmas Break Spreadsheet
#25 - Full Body Total Reps Days
#26 - Month 4 Spreadsheet
#27 - Month 5 Spreadsheet
#28 - 2 Weeks Pre-Practice Game Spreadsheet
#29 - In-Season Training
#30 - In-Season Training Training Residuals
#31 - In-Season Training Auto- Regulation of Training
#32 - In-Season Training Model Spreadsheet

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Footy Concepts You HAVE to Know About Part 2

I'm back with the 2nd installment of training concepts you may not know about, but HAVE to know about, to optimise your footy training program.

Last week we covered training residuals, lower leg stiffness, the big toe, consolidation of stressors and overspeed eccentrics so lets finish this list off.

Be Activated - this isn't a new thing by any means but the way this is done is. It's the brain child of an ex-pysio from South Africa named Douglas Heel. I caught onto this about this time last year and then read as much as I could on it (there's not a lot to go on really) and then purchased his DVD set which made a lot of things clearer. He came to Australia earlier this year bit for some reason didn't make it to Melbourne so I missed out on seeing him in person which as I've been told by other 'activators" is far better then the DVD's on their own. It refers to activating the body through a specific series of muscle activation points. This muscle activation can wake up the body and free it from defensive postures brought on by physical and emotional stress. For example when the body is stressed in anyway, breathing becomes shallower and your posture changes (hunched over). This effects your breathing efficiency as now your breathing has moved from being performed by your diaphragm to your chest, shoulders and neck. The all important diaphragm is the center of the body and is directly connected to the psoas. This crucial because our body has 2 main functions it will do above all else - it will breath (hopefully through the diaphragm) and will move (hopefully through hip flexion which is the action of the psoas). If these 2 area's can not do their jobs then the body will find another, but less optimal way to do this. This results in the aforementioned stress and tiredness mentioned above. This can also eliminate the need for stretching as an activated muscles is a long and strong muscle.

Rate of Perceived Exertion - RPE has been around for a while and is used to gauge your personal effort level for certain things but it's now being used for training. % based programs (3 x 5 @ 75% for example) doesn't take into account the daily levels of fatigue you have which means that 75% can be 65% on your great days but 85% on your not so great days. Using RPE can ensure that you are training at the level you want to, respective of the state of your training readiness for that particular day. So instead of using % based programs, try using the REP scale. An RPE of 10/10 is a single-max-grinding rep. An RPE of 9/10 is heavy but leaving 1 rep in the tank. An RPE of 8/10 is pretty heavy but leaving 2 reps in the tank. An RPE of 7/10 is heavy-ish with 3 reps left in the tank. So you can plan your week with a mix of easy, moderate and hard days based on RPE. Start practicing now as this can take a bit of trial and error to get right.

Heart Rate Variability - I posted about this and the way I do it earlier this year but it works in conjunction with RPE a fair bit. So immediately upon waking you test your daily HRV which tells you your readiness to train on that particular day. As I said above, the same weight can feel different on different days depending how well you recovered from your previous session and/or lifestyle habits. If you've got a max strength day planned but you feel lethargic and can barely get yourself out of bed then that 90% is gonna feel like 120% and you won't even move it an inch, which can send your recovery back even further. Once you get a handle on your HRV and get an idea of where it should be when you do everything right, then you can assign an RPE to the different results you get. So if you get a HRV score better then you're average or baseline, then that's gonna be a good day to hit a 9 or 10 RPE. If it's below your average HRV then you'll need to play around in 6 - 8 RPE range.

Energy Systems - you know how badly some blokes work out at the gym with 3 chest and arm days? Well I think there are footy players and coaches training just as bad, if not worse, in regards to energy systems training. In a nut shell your main goal should be to improve speed. AFL players do the same that we all do, but faster. Once you improve your speed then you want to be able to use it in a game repeatedly with as little speed fatigue drop off as possible. Now most blokes will think straight away 'let's do 10 x 100m sprints with no rest.' WRONG! For starters 100m sprints are game specifically at all as you'll never run as fast as you can for 100m in a game of footy - EVER! Secondly you might be fast for the first 100m sprint but you won't be for the others so you've trained speed for 12 - 15secs then nothing but fatigue build up from then on. Surely I don't need to tell you that the biggest performance killer is fatigue. You're next port of call is to train your aerobic system to improve your recovery between bouts of speed. So you wanna train short and fast or long and slow. Training in the middle is too slow to gain speed gains from but too fast to use oxygen exclusively for energy. It also builds up the greatest fatigue which means you can't actually do it for often or for very long before recovery becomes a huge issue.

UPDATE - I have used the "be activated' protocol pretty much everyday for the last year. In fact my warm up game days is 5 - 10mins of this and then I'm out on the ground for my active warm up. I've never been a huge stretcher anyway and have never suffered a soft tissue in my life so getting rid of that bit didn't tear me up too much!

I'll be using RPE's during the season this year in accordance with my HRV, no doubt. It's all about Saturday and if you've done the work in the months prior, then you should only have to do the minimum required during the season.

For ES I should add that there is a place for lactic work and it is a requirement of footy thus it does need to be trained but if you aren't already fast, don't have an adequate aerobic energy system for recovery purposes and have more then 3 - 4 weeks before you're first practice game then leave "training in the middle" for skill and drill work.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Footy Training Concepts You HAVE to Know About

Each year I learn about 1000 new things when it comes to training which means the stuff I did only 12 months ago can be completely different to what I do today!

While watching the Hawks spank the Crows (45 - 14 already in quarter number 1!) I'm brain storming idea's to put into my new manual but when putting something together for the masses like this, it can be hard deciding how technical to go and if it is "technical" then how can I make that simple?

Don't worry, that's my problem not yours so here's some things I'm mulling over, some of that have been mentioned in this blog before.

Training Residuals - this refers to the minimum frequency certain strength and fitness qualities need to be trained for, in order to maintain them. You can't train everything hard all the time so this is vital information to know, especially in-season when resources and time is lower then in the summer, because you don't what to lose in a future phase of training, what you worked so hard to gain in a previous training phase.

Lower Leg Stiffness - this refers to rigidity of the foot and ankle complex and the ability of it to absorb forces put through it during sprinting and to resist deformity. Think of how fast your newly pumped up footy bounces off your boot compared to when it's slightly deflated. Watch a 100m sprint in slow motion and watch their lower leg, upon ground contact the heel barely lowers towards the ground at all!

Big Toe - the big toe is THE connection from the foot to the glutes which is where all your power comes from in regards to speed and running economy. There's been plenty of ho-ha about minimalist footwear to increase the use of your toes and foot musculature but from what I've read, and by looks of the image of Usain Bolt below, I'm not sure that using all of your toes is as critical to performance as is mastering the usage of your big toe. It's not a great image as I took it off the TV, but you can clearly see the dominance of his big and second big toe while the others look all squashed together. I did a heap of big toe work in my training a few years back and the glute soreness during the season after games from this indicated that it definitely increased my glute usage.

Consolidation of Stressors - I first read about a coupe of years ago over at and is connected to the training residuals point from earlier. As stated you can't train everything at 100% all the time because you only have so much recovery to go around, and once you exceed that then a decrease in performance is right around the corner. This means that once your recovery 'cup' is filled, then introducing any other stress will overflow it so you need to decrease a current stress to allow room for a new one. Too many footy players and coaches are at fault of this and in the end when you're after speed and skill development all you develop is fatigue, but none of the training adaptations you're actually after. No good!

Overspeed Eccentric - for max velocity sprinting speed and running jumps you want your tendons to do most of the work. Alternatively for acceleration sprinting speed and standing jumps, you want your muscles to do most of the work. In both cases the more you can put into the eccentric action of all of these endeavors, the greater the output you'll have. Now when most people think of eccentric contractions they think of loading up a barbell and doing a slow negative reps but it's the slow bit that won't do jack for your footy performance. A moderate to fast eccentric is what you want because if it takes you a relatively long time to build up the eccentric energy and turn it around into concentric energy, then the ball has been and gone while you're still loading up! I will be doing a few phases for this in my own training in the coming months.

So that's part 1 of this series and I'll be back soon with the rest. Let me know any questions you have via the Facebook page;

UPDATE - although I didn't really care for the extreme glute soreness last time, I went back to the big toe stuff this off-season doing 57 sessions for them (3mins each). I also did a bunch of stiffness work as well for 22 sessions (5mins each). I've also done dome spasmodic overspeed eccentric work which I started to ramp up a couple of weeks ago before having my yearly lower back blow out last week which will put an end to that!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Read This Before Hitting the Gym This Off-Season

Here's to season 2016!

Quality 80's Scanlon Footy Card Pose!

After finishing on top with only the single loss for season we disappointingly went our in straight sets! To make matters worse I hyperextended my knee in the last round and missed our 2 finals games so I was pissed!! I've missed probably 5 games tops in my entire career through injury and I miss 2 with "my' best chance of that elusive premiership.

I frequent the health and fitness board on and a couple of weeks ago a posted put this up:

"...Hi guys, I'm looking for some inspiration for a new routine. At the moment I'm still doubting between a push/legs/pull split (5 day cycle) or a push/pull split (3 day cycle with a lighter session every 3rd cycle). Does anyone have experience with this?..."

Here was my response:

Here's a few options:

Option #1 - train everything (movement/muscle) everyday doing 1 exercise for each muscle/movement at moderate to high intensity but low to moderate volume. 


Military Press paired with Front Squat 3 - 5 x 5 - 8 leaving 2 - 3 reps in the tank on your last set
Bench Press paired with Deadlift 3 - 5 x 5 - 8 leaving 2 - 3 reps in the tank on your last set
DB Row paired with Bulgarian Split Squats 3 - 5 x 5 - 8 leaving 2 - 3 reps in the tank on your last set

* repeat every training session

Option #1 is a great option for easing your way back into training in the early off season. You could do the same exercise each session or 1 variation for each session of the week.

Option #2 - train everything everyday but do 1 exercise for moderate to high intensity and high volume in each session


Military Press 8 - 15 x 1 - 5 leaving 1 rep in the tank on your final set

Front Squat 2 - 3 x 3 - 5 leaving 2 - 3 reps in the tank on your final set

Deadlift 2 - 3 x 3 - 5 leaving 2 - 3 reps in the tank on your final set
DB Row 2 - 3 x 3 - 5 leaving 2 - 3 reps in the tank on your final set
Bulgarian Split Squats 2 - 3 x 3 - 5 leaving 2 - 3 reps in the tank on your final set

What you end up with is 1 lift exercise being the main focus of the day and the others are simply there to fill between sets of the main lift and to give them so extra volume but performed at an intensity that won't fatigue you for the main lift. You'll also notice that bench press has been taken out of this day as it is a competing lift with the Military Press as it uses the same muscles.

When planning this day out decide how many Military Press sets you'll do then spread the other exercise sets among them.

Option #3 - is the same as option #2 but you have 2 focus lifts per session at a slightly lower volume but the other lifts staying with low volume and moderate to high intensity.


Military Press paired with Front Squat 6 - 12 x 1 - 5 leaving 1 - 2 reps in the tank on your final set

Deadlift 2 - 3 x 3 - 5 leaving 2 - 3 reps in the tank on your final set

DB Row 2 - 3 x 3 - 5 leaving 2 - 3 reps in the tank on your final set
* can add in some biceps and core on this day for filler exercises

Option #4 - use a variety of rep types (not ranges) like isometric, eccentric, drop catch, rebound etc and rotate through them throughout the week. You can either do a full day of the 1 rep type or do 1 exercise for each rep type per session.

Rep Types - isometric, eccentric, pliometric (traditional rep style), high velocity, deadstop, drop an catch, rebound etc

So you could choose 4 - 6 rep types and do 1 exercise for each of them on each day


Choose 4 - 6 exercises and do 1 rep type for 1 exercise like this:

Military Press - High Velocity
Front Squat - Eccentric
Bench Press - Isometric
Deadlift - Pliometric
DB Row - Deadstop

Then rotate the rep type for the same exercise list the next training session.

So before heading off to the gm and doing your chest day have a look at what's above here and see how this could work for you.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Video on Program Development

In my last post I outlined my mini pre-season I'm currently doing along with the other stuff I'm working on. I was my Thursday workout up on the whiteboard yesterday and thought I'd shoot a quick video of how I structure a workout that has a lot of different components in it with the aim to make it as time efficient as possible. 

It's a pretty crappy hand held video shot on the spot with no planning but you should get something out of it...hopefully!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My 'Mini" Pre-Season During the In-Season

OK, so we played the top team who were undefeated up to that point and we smashed them taking us to the top of the ladder. We have the most points for and the least against so I was sure we were the better team anyway but we gave our first game to them back in round 2 which was shite.

Anyway with a premiership literally in reach for us (and me - #44 above), I'm dedicating the next 3 weeks to a mini pre-season to set me up for the finals. I will leave no stone un-turned and leave nothing to chance that I can control.

I'm 37 for god's sake and this might be the last chance I get for that elusive premiership!

So I actually started this last week, and have 2 games before a bye which fits perfectly as I can train pretty much everyday for 10 or so days.

The truth is I could probably keep doing what I'm doing and play alright but like I said, I'm not taking any chances.

Anyway this is what I've got laid out.

Week 1

Day 1 - 20mins of steady state activity @ 130 - 150bpm + High Resistance Intervals 10 x 10secs keeping heart rate between 160 - 170bpm then resting until it's back at 130bpm

Day 2 - Tempo Runs - 8 x 10secs every 60secs @ 70%

Day 3 - 20mins of steady state activity @ 130 - 150bpm + High Resistance Intervals 10 x 10secs keeping heart rate between 160 - 170bpm then resting until it's back at 130bpm

Week 2

Day 1 - Tempo Runs - 8 x 10secs every 60secs @ 70%

Day 2 - 25mins of steady state activity @ 130 - 150bpm + High Resistance Intervals 10 x 10secs keeping heart rate @ 165bpm then resting until it's back at 130bpm

Day 3 - Tempo Runs - 10 x 10secs every 60secs @ 70%

Week 3/4 (Bye Week)

Day 1 - 10 to 20mins of steady state activity @ 130 - 150bpm + High Resistance Intervals 12 x 10secs keeping heart rate @ 165bpm then resting until it's back at 130bpm

Day 2 - Tempo Intervals 10 x 10secs every 60secs @ 70%

Day 3 - 30mins of steady state activity @ 130 - 150bpm + High Resistance Intervals 10 x 12secs keeping heart rate @ 165bpm then resting until it's back at 130bpm

Day 4 - Tempo Intervals 8 x 10secs every 60secs @ 70% + Threshold Training 3 x 5mins @ 170bpm

Day 5 - 10 to 20mins of steady state activity @ 130 - 150bpm + High Resistance Intervals 15 x 10secs keeping heart rate @ 165bpm then resting until it's back at 130bpm

Day 6 - Tempo Intervals 8 x 10secs every 60secs @ 70% + Threshold Training 3 x 5mins @ 170bpm

Day 7 - Cardiac Power Intervals 5 x 90secs w/ 3mins rest

Day 8 - 10 to 20mins steady state activity @ 130 - 150bpm + Tempo Intervals 12 x 10secs every 60secs @ 70%

Day 9 - High Resistance Intervals 12 x 10secs @ 165bpm resting until it's back at 130bpm + Threshold Training 3 x 5mins @ 170bpm

Day 10 - Cardiac Power Intervals 6 x 90secs w/ 3mins rest + Tempo Intervals 8 x 12secs every 60secs @ 70%

I should finish this up on the Wednesday or Thursday of the week after the bye.

For steady state activity I've made up some circuits for glute hip extension, foot/ankle stiffness, core and I'm also doing a mini blitz for hip thrusts so they get trained 4/week at the moment.

High Resistance Intervals are done through very high intensity boxing, treadsled, high tension bike and high tension cross trainer.

Tempo Intervals are simply up and back runs in the studio with 2 turns per set.

Threshold Training will be done on either or a combination of cross trainer or outside running (weather dependent).

Cardiac Power Intervals will probably be done on a cross trainer.

The idea is to limit impact on my almost 37 year old legs but I will be able to throw some impact stuff in during weeks 3 and 4.

I should mention that I got these training idea's from Joel Jamieson from

UPDATE - I managed to drop my resting heart rate 3 - 5 points during this mini training blitz which was a great result coming into finals.The fatigue build up wasn't an issue as the game I played after finishing the blitz on the Thursday I kicked a career best 8 goals against a team vying for finals - with plenty of trash talking between all 8 of them!

All was looking good and we just had to survive the next week against one of the bottom teams to secure the double chance for the finals and to stay injury free but this was the day I did my knee 5mins before half time and ended my season right there.

We still finished top, got the double chance and went out in straight sets! I'm obviously the elder statesman in our team and especially our forward line and pretty much organise from the center to our goal line and we were dis-organised in the forward line during the finals as dictated by kicking 2 of our 3 lowest scores for the season.

We also had played a team in the preliminary final whose senior team had already made the grand final the week before only to drop 5 players back for their reserves to make the grand final, only to get flogged when they went back up the next week but if we took care of the business the first week of the finals then we might have gotten the "second rate" team in the granny. Anyway they've gone up to the next division now now so there's no revenge to be had there but by geez I'll drag this team to a grand final myself if I have to this season!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Be Explosive for 4 Quarters

There is a saying in sport that goes "you can be fast, but can't be fast for long"...or can you?

The ability to repeat your top speed, or close to, is pretty much the golden requirement for AFL hopefuls these days, with short bursts of play alternated with short bursts of rest on the bench.

A quick energy systems lesson first.

There are 3 main energy systems being alactic, lactic and aerobic.

The alactic system (a short, full intensive sprint) is improved by increasing the amount of creatine phosphate that your muscles can store and use which might mean you can sprint faster for the same distance, or maintain your top speed for a longer distance.

Now we probably know that its our fast twitch muscle fibres that do the job for fast and explosive movements but did you know that your slow twitch, endurance based fibres, can also assist in these endeavors.

Your slow twitch muscle fibres can actually produce as much force as your fast fibres but they don't do it as quickly.

If you're fast twitch dominant then you might be able to run flat out for 40 meters before you start to slow down. If you are extremely fast twitch dominant (like me fortunate and unfortunately) it means that you're speed will drop off very quickly once your fast fibres fatigue.

If you develop your slow muscle fibres which as mentioned above are as strong as your fast fibres but take a little longer to hit their stride, then once your fast fibres start to fatigue, the slow fibres can take over and you'll be able to maintain your top speed, or close to, for longer.

Another bonus of increasing your slow twitch fibre size is that your muscles will improve their ability to work aerobically. When you're also anaerobic dominant (again like me but a lot better this year!) then you'll have a great first effort sprint but you'll gas out very quickly and take a while to recover. When your muscles get better at utilising oxygen as an energy source then you'll improve your repeat speed from faster recovery, you won't use as much energy during your most intensive efforts and you'll also improve your ability to use fat as fuel which can also improve body composition. All sorts of wins there!!

OK, so to train for this you need to use the tempo and explosive method in the gym which I've got from Joel Jamieson (there's a 4 week conditioning program on that home page I did in the off season that cut my 2.4km time by 30secs!). I've been running this for the last month and have used bodywieght squats and jump squats.

For the tempo method you do sets of 10 reps but each rep is 2 seconds down and 2 seconds up which means you'll purposefully have to slow the movement down as you want it to be "even" and controlled the entire time.

For the explosive method I'm using jump squats which are done for sets of 10 - 15 seconds.

Here's the program Joel prescribed for this:

Week 1
Day 1 - Tempo 4 x 10 with 45secs rest between sets + 8 - 10mins active rest + 4 x 10 with 45secs rest between sets (remember 2 secs up and 2secs down!)
Day 2 (3 days later) - Tempo 5 x 10, 45secs rest btw sets

Week 2
Day 1 - Tempo 4 x 10, 40secs btw sets + 8 - 10mins active rest + 4 x 10, 40secs rest btw sets
Day 2 - Continuous aerobic work (boxing etc) x 15mins @ 120 - 160 beats per minute
Day 3 - Tempo 6 x 10, 40secs rest

Week 3
Day 1 - Explosive 4 x 10secs, 40secs rest + 8 - 10mins active rest + 4 x 10secs with 40secs rest
Day 2 - Continuous aerobic work x 20mins @ 120 - 150bpm
Day 3 - Explosive 5 x 10secs, 40secs rest

Week 4
Day 1 - Explosive 6 x 12secs, 35secs rest + 8 - 10mins active rest + 6 x 12secs, 35secs rest
Day 2 - Tempo 4 x 10, 35secs btw sets +  8 - 10mins active rest + 4 x 10, 35secs rest
Day 3 - 6 x 10secs, 35secs rest

Week 5
Day 1 - 8 x 15secs, 30secs rest + 8 - 10mins active rest + 8 x 15secs, 30secs rest
Day 2 - Tempo 5 x 10, 30secs rest + 8 - 10mins active rest + 4 x 10, 30secs rest
Day 3 - 6 x 12secs, 30secs rest

Week 6
Day 1 - Explosive 5 x 15secs, 20secs rest + 8 - 10mins rest + 5 x 15secs, 20secs rest
Day 2 - Explosive 5 x 12secs, 20secs rest

I've just finished week 4 with a big week 5 coming up - it will be near death that Monday session!!

UPDATE - I'll be doing these again in the coming months as part of my own pre-season training.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Nat Fyfe Transformation

Like most of you, I salivate when Nat Fyfe is on - I believe he has over taken Garry Ablett Jr as the games best player. H e was drafted as  68kg-er!

I actually remember when he debuted as I heard a whisper he was a goer and traded him into my Supercoach team.

Still pretty skinny after his first pre-season with the Dockers, he took one of his trademark pack marks for his very first AFL goal. As hard as he tries to, there's still not much to actually flex at this time!!

It was probably his third year that I started to notice his body changing rather dramatically, relative to his previous body, which was wiry and thin.

The bulk he put on through his hips and upper legs was extraordinary, as evident below:

If you're a budding footballer and you're looking to bulk up in the off season, this is what you should focus on. Instead of having 3 upper body days, do 3 lower body days.

You'll get faster, increase endurance, increase injury resistance ad be able to handle physical pressure in close quarters during a game.

It also shows that if you really knuckle down for 2 - 3 off season's then you can really make all the muscle gains you need. You don't want to be heavy that you can't cover ground like you normally do but you don't want to be so light that you can't compete in 1on1 contests and be pushed off the ball easily.

Friday, May 15, 2015

In-Season Training Musings

If you remember back to earlier this year I had a what I thought was minor blow out of my lower back. As it turned out it got progressively worse and resulted in me not being able to run, sprint and jump, as well as pretty much next to zero leg work in the gym, for around 6 weeks.

It only came good for practice match number 1 in mid March so I've spent the last 10 or so weeks trying to get myself back to the strength level I was at pre-back blow out.

So from that I have needed to alter my training to fit where I'm at physically. We're 5 games in with the 6th tomorrow and the back has been fine for the most part in each game but it can pull up a bit stiff in the days following games. Oh, and I'm almost 37 and not the spring chicken I used to be!

So my aim is now to be as fully rested for game days as I can be so my training is sub maximal at best and even when my HRV app says I can train intensely, I will only train with "intensity" on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

With all of that in mind, here's what I've been up to:

Rehab - for my lower back rehab I started using a technique that I'd been reading about for a while now but had never actually performed called Be Activated which is a muscle activation technique made popular by a South African physio Doug Heel. I'll probably do a long winded post on this very soon but you can read a bit about here. He's just come to Australia for the 1st tome this past April so it's very new to Australia but of course Jonny-on-the-spot (me) had his dvd's prior to that as I couldn't attend any of his courses. Anyway they're pretty fantastic and now serves as much warm up for training and games.

Lower Body Strength - so even though my lower back came "running/sprinting good", it has taken a lot longer to become "gym good", especially in regards to deadlifts and squats. The back just wasn't feeling spinal loading that well  so I had to find some alternatives. So to train the deadlift pattern I opted for romanian deadlifts after working up to those with 1 dumbbell deadlifts off a step - an exercise I use with 1st session beginner clients in the studio - that's how little loading I could use initially. I worked these up pretty slowly and have just "maxed out' this week on those. The 2nd alteration I had to make was to get rid of back or front squats and use a modified landmine / belt squat which worked sensationally up to a point.

It's a bitch to set up and to be honest you probably couldn't get it happening in a public gym but I own my studio so I can do what I want!! I think this set is with 105kgs which I could do no worries but when I tried to amp it up to 125 it was too hard to load up and move the step away on my own - with a partner it would be fine though. No spinal loading, no worries.

Lower Body Explosiveness - there is a huge correlation between standing long jump and acceleration sprinting speed.

So as my pulling up from games ability has somehow left me in the last year and a bit (upsetting), I need to find alternative ways to train speed. I'm playing deep full forward out of the square this year so all my running is pretty much 90 - 95% sprints during a game so I only need to supplement that with something to assist with speed development. So I have just come off a 3 week cycle of sub maximal standing long jumps which I will retest next week. Training sub maximally means you train at around 70 - 90% and the focus is on practicing the lift but with limited fatigue build up. I did 8 x 3 at 75% of pre tested distance, 8 x 2 at 80% then 8 x 2 at 85%.

Program Design - now that I have built my strength back up I can now program for strength maintenance through speed strength and strength speed methods but also with some auto regulation thrown in to manage fatigue and to make sure that only quality work is being performed to again minimise fatigue. I've made up 3 parameters that I'll use in my training:

Speed - more reps then secs time per set (5 reps in 3secs for example)

Power - same reps in same secs time per set (5 reps in 5secs for example)

Force - less reps then secs time per set (2 reps in 5secs for example)

I haven't quite worked this out yet but I have a fair idea of what my max numbers are so I can gauge what training effect I'm after for that day (speed, power or strength) then use the recommendation from above for whatever I choose to train.

Schedule - just a quick bit on my schedule you must be aware by now that I don't train with my team because of work commitments so I can set my own schedule which so far this year has been upper body Tuesday, lower body Wednesday and Upper body again Thursday which seems to be working well as far as being fresh for game day is concerned. I can't train everything I want to train though but that can be a good thing as then I'm only including the absolute necessities and seeing as though 80% of your results will come from 20% of the things you do, making that 20% is critical.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Amateur vs Elite GPS Comparison

Today I just want to point you towards 3 articles I've come across the last few weeks.

The first one is GPS data collected from an actual AFL team over 4 quarters from a world renown strength and conditioning coach's site Mladen Jovanovic and can be found here.

It can be quite hard to read but if you click on the csv file link in the first sentence you can have a look at it in excel spreadsheet and it makes a bit more sense.

It covers 199 different categories!

Do take some time to have a good look at it though as it may just help you with your own game in regards to what you do and don't do on a regular basis.

The second and third articles are both from the VAFA (the best amateur league here in Melbourne) that shows the GPS readings from 2 of their top line players and can be found here and here.

It shows the following for each player:

Amateur Player - Jack Bull
Position –Nomatic (midfield, wing, interchange)
Total Distance – 15.06kms
Average Speed – 6.21kms/hr
25% of running time @ 13.5km/hr or faster of which 600m of that was above 21.6kms/hr which is zone 6 running (highest velocity/top speed)
Sprint Efforts – 106 @ 16kms/hr or faster

Amateur Player - Tom Humphrey
Position – utility but deep defender who goes with the best forward runner
Total Distance – 14.7kms
Zone 6 Running – 285m
Top Speed – 30.71kms/hr
Walking – 1km more then Jack from ball being at other end

You constantly here of mates saying "this bloke could have played AFL if he wanted to' but that's simply not true. "Wanting to" includes wanting to work harder then everyone else and that;s exactly what you need to do to reach some of these numbers.

These amateur blokes are reaching AFL-type GPS readings but certainty aren't playing AFL but it shows how close you can be to 'the standard" but so far away for 1 reason or another.

GPS units are becoming more common in local/amateur footy so if you have the chance to get a hold of one definitely give it a go and see how you fare.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Heart Rate Variability

Keeping to the subject of personalising your own training to fit you and no one else, we move to heart rate variability (HRV) testing, which refers to assessing your physical and mental state of mind. This can be done through specific iphone app's which can help dictate how hard you should train on a given day. It could replace, or be combined with, using rate of perceived exertion and the manual method of monitoring fatigue during the season of which I have posted about previously.

To start with there are 2 regulatory mechanisms of the body, the autonomic nervous system (ans) and the neuro endocrine system (nes). The ans is then broken down further into the parasympathetic nervous system (pns) and the sympathetic nervous system (sns). Both of these are part of the fight or flight equation:

PNS - Flight

SNS - Fight

The ANS is stimulated when the brain senses any form of challenge and once it is activated, it stimulates the output of cortisol, a stress fighting but fat storing hormone. Adrenaline is also increased which keeps us alert by increasing heart rate and blood pressure by quickly mobilising energy reserves, while cortisol works more slowly to help replenish energy supplies.

All of these adaptive changes is called allostasis which refers to maintaining stability, or homeostasis, through change.

I bet we've all played with the bloke who has a bit of white line fever and gets quite ramped up during games - this is from him being in a very sympathetic state which for competition, is actually essential.

On the flip side we've all played with that bloke who looks like he's barely awake who pretty much stays in a parasympathetic state regardless of the "challenge'.

The biggest trick though is to be able to interchange through both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

So you're on the ground and going like a bat of hell (how bad was Meatloaf that time?) and you blow up and it's time to head to the bench to recover. In order for you to recover in as fast a time as possible you need to swiftly move into a parasympathetic state to slow your rate down and to start shifting your body back to homeostasis (normal).

Thinking long term, training with high volumes and intensities means you enter a sympathetic dominant state very often which is fine, but during this time when you feel a bit rundown, have trouble sleeping and have a lack of appetite compared to normal, then you're getting stuck in the SNS and not shifting back to the PNS. This means that you're not really recovering enough and sooner rather them later, you're body might make you take a break through illness, or even injury.

Taking heart rare variability is something you do everyday to get a gauge at how your body is tracking against your playing stress, training stress and outside stressors because they all add up. Once you overflow the "stress" cup, it can take a while to get rid of this excess build up. This means that relationships, food quality and alcohol can also have a big effect on your readings.

I have recently started using an app called HRV4Training for my own heart rate variability. There are others on market such as bioforce and iathlete that are the go-to app's for this but they require a compatible heart rate monitor and mine is non-compatible.

HRV4Training provides a lot of funky readings but the ones I look at is the day's reading, how it compared to yesterday and also how it compares to my baseline. I also keep track of resting heart rate and rMSSD reading too which the creator told me is the equivalent of a HRV reading from the other app's. The app does this in 1 single 60sec measurement that you'd take immediately upon waking. I do it while I'm actually still in bed!

The home screen tells you your assessment today, yesterday's assessment and you're baseline based on the last 7 days.

It provides with 1 of 3 tips to program your training for the day.

#1 - Your condition has improved since yesterday and is above baseline so go hard today

#2 - Your condition has worsened since yesterday and its below baseline so take it easy today

#3 - Your condition has worsened for 2 days in a row so take today off.

So the app takes your daily reading then tells you what you should do with your training today. In the above image you can see that I registered 7.9 which was lower then the day before and also lower then my baseline so it suggests I take it easy today. So instead of doing that hard repeat sprint session I had planned, I would opt for a recovery based session today so hopefully I improve for tomorrow and can go hard then.

Now you don't have to live your life by what it tells you to do, it might be game day where it says to take a day off, but what you can do there is go back to your monitoring and rate of perceived exertion tables and find correlations between your scores and your 'low' days which should be able to help you alter your training and lifestyle accordingly.

UPDATE - I have read many times that you should never go against the HRV reading and yesterday was the proof in the pudding. At the moment I've just started a depth jumping cycle which requires pretty much stresses the nervous system more then anything of which I started last week. I was coming off a day off and 2 full days since my last depth jumping session so I "should" have been rested and ready to go. I did nothing on the weekend or new years eve so there was no reason to not get a good HRV score come Monday.

My test gave me a reading of 7.4 against the previous days 8.4 against my baseline of 7.9 which said take a day off training but being as it's the off season then I can train and make up the rest later if I need to.

About 3/4's of the way through my workout which was feeling fine, I felt a 1% twinge in the lower back between sets. Something I've probably felt a million times before without repercussion. Except this time! Language Warning!!

I did my 9th set of power cleans and the back went which it does probably once a year in the 1st part of the year when my training load is at it's highest but I was determined not to do it this year...and failed miserably.

The lesson is to not go against the HRV reading so if it says take it easy then limit any activities that have a history with making you sore, run down or injured.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Rate of Perceived Exertion

In the past I have mentioned the use of auto regulation in your training which refers to training "on the fly' but using a set point of load or rep speed to decide how far and how hard you'll push a particular session.

For example you might have a max of 100kgs but you reach 90kgs and it feels pretty heavy. The speed is slow so you have a fair idea that today isn't one for setting personal bests, or even trying them, so you might just do a few extra sets of 2 - 3 reps at 85 - 90% of that 90% and call it a day. 

Rate of perceived exertion is a similar concept but you assign "perceived effort level" to each exercise. You might have used %'s before but this method can be flawed as you would base the %'s off your max, but as described above, your 1 off max isn't your everyday max, so that moderately hard 85% day can quickly turn into a ball breaking 95% day which, in regards to recovery, could stuff your whole week up!

RPE refers to how hard a set feels or how far away you are from failure you are in regards to "reps left in the tank'. For example you might do a set of 5 reps @ 80kgs. After the set you think you could probably have done 7 reps at that load.

The table looks like this:

RPE x 10 = 0 reps left in the tank
RPE x 9 = 1 rep left in the tank
RPE x 8 = 2 or 3 reps left in the tank
RPE x 7 = 3 reps left in the tank with good bar sped and acceleration
RPE x 6 = fast bar movement with minimal effort

So instead of working up to a % of load which can be different each day as described above, work up to a rep number at a particular RPE such as 5 reps at a 9 RPE where you'd finish the exercise when you perform a set at a load that will allow only more rep.

Then move on to your assistance work.

To take this a step further you can assign RPE 's to your other sessions too for speed and aerobic / anaerobic conditioning and include this in your activity load monitoring from last week to again pick up on trends against increased and decreased performance.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Monitoring Fatigue During the Season

After a 3 - 4 month flogging it's finally time to get some actual game time with practice matches being scheduled to start in the next week or two for most clubs.

There's nothing like that first 5 minutes of the first practice match, especially if it involves a big tackle, to really take the wind out of your sails in a pinch!

With practice games comes 1 solidarity weekly goal, with that goal being game day Saturday. During the off and pre-season you can train continually regardless of fatigue build up (to a degree) with the end goal being how you perform in the months after you started training (during games).

This means that you can train any day you like and you can induce pretty much as much fatigue as you like because you can always throw a rest day or 2 in the mix. If you're a little tired going into the first team training session of the week then it's not the end of the world.

Come the in-season though and this all needs to change because you need to "peak" each and every Saturday for the next 20 - 25 weeks.

This will require personal fatigue monitoring each and every day.

All AFL, VFL and some of the upper amateur teams use some form of athlete monitoring to individualise player training loads so as not to prescribe too much for those not fully recovered, or too little for those who had less game time and thus less fatigue to recover from. If you have access to GPS data for training then this can work even better but 99% of us don't.

The advantage of using a personal fatigue monitoring is that by keeping track of various internal and external factors, you can correlate these with periods of tiredness and less then stellar performances on game day.

This means you can avoid insanity - doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

So each day as soon as you wake up you'll monitor the following:

Sleep - Duration of Sleep + Quality of Sleep. You could also track if you dream or not which is the point of your sleep where the best regeneration occurs and you don't have to remember what you actually dreamed of, just if you did or not.

Mental Stress - had a blow up with the missus? Someone stole your seat on the bus? Anxious? Big exam coming up? All these things can have an affect on your stress levels and thus performance output.

Soreness - lingering soreness from the weekend? New soreness from training? Nagging back pain that comes and goes?

Fatigue - hopefully you know what you're peak fitness feels like when you're at your at your absolute freshest.

Motivation - to train and to play. Are you keen as mustard to play today or happy that game day is still a few days away?

Mood - compare this to your normal mood/personality.

Apart from hours of sleep, rate each of these 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 with 1 being the best so with 6 sections to assess the highest score you can get is 30 which means you get the week off!!

Resting Heart Rate - take this each morning in bed as soon as you wake up. Take a 10 second reading and multiply it by 6.

Protein - 1 serve equals something about the size of the palm of your hand.

Veggies - 1 serve equals 1 cup

Fruit - 1 serve equals 1 piece or a palm size

Cheat Food/Drink - refers to all processed foods that come in a box and all drinks that isn't water or a low sugar sports drink.

Beers/Ciggies - put in how many you had on each day...BE HONEST!

Again what you're looking for is the correlation between your high scores, poor performance and (hopefully not), injury.

This way you can avoid the pitfalls next time around and at a minimum it will make you very aware of things like getting to bed earlier.

I'll be starting mine Monday morning.

Here's what it looks like in table form (click on to get the full table):

UPDATE - Even at the elite level, if you can have your best players play most, if not all games, then you'll have a successful season. At local/amateur level this is even more crucial because we don't have 30 senior made players on every list so games lost with injury can destroy your once optimistic finals aspirations. I'm actually in the process of putting together a pretty detailed but (hopefully) easy to use athlete monitoring program for local/amateur teams to use that won't require a professional strength and conditioning coach to use. Let me know if you're team might be interested in this!                                                    

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Simple Look at Aussie Rules Footy Fitness Part 2

Earlier this year I did a post that gave some insight into the different energy systems to train and how to train each of them.

This post will give you an insight into the order of which to train these energy systems during the year.

I'm going to write this out as though I am in charge of a footy team from the 1st day of their off season. This will mean that I won't be starting 'again" come team pre-season training, it will build on what is laid out from the off season phase.

Please refer to post linked above for recommendations for each energy system training requirement.

Off-Season Energy Systems Training

This refers to the time between you're last game and the 1st night of pre-season training so we're looking at about 8 weeks.

Goal 1 - Alactic Power

Goal 2 - Aerobic Capacity

Alactic power is the top of the pyramid in regards to energy systems for team sports. The fastest players are generally the best players and is what can set an AFL player apart from an elite VFL footballer. All things being equal, the fastest bloke will get drafted every time and some blokes get drafted purely on speed, in the hope they can be coached to an elite level.

You'll use a short sprints and mostly sub maximal intensity for 4 weeks then increase the intensity and then the distance slightly, in the next 4 weeks.

Aerobic capacity is what you probably already do by going for a few 10km runs per week which is fine, but you need to make sure that you're staying within a heart rate zone that will build actual capacity and not build up fatigue for 2 reasons.

Reason 1 is that speed cannot, and will not, be increased in the presence of fatigue. Reason 2 is that it's October and you can';t be breaking down the body 11 months from finals time or you'll find yourself in a hole you won;t be able to get out recovery wise.

You'll start at the low end of the duration scale and a heart rate of 130 - 150 beats starting at the low end and progressing to the top end over the 8 weeks.

Pre-Season Energy Systems Training

This refers to the start of team pre season. and we'll split this into 2 portions of pre and post Christmas.

Pre-Christmas Goal 1 - Alactic Power

Pre-Christmas Goal 2 - Aerobic Capacity

These goals remain the same but the training will be different. These 2 energy system qualities take the longest to gain so it stands to reason they get the longest training time.

Alactic power will shift to near maximal intensity and slightly longer distances then you ended with pre-Christmas. Just remember that actual max speed can only be held for 2 - 3secs max so use set distances that are too long for actual speed development erring on the shorter side if anything.

Christmas Break Energy Systems Training

This refers to the time between your last pre-Christmas team training session and you're 1st post Christmas team training session. We're looking at 3 - 4 weeks here which is plenty of time to slack off and lose a lot of your benefits from last year. Your goal here is to at least maintain where you are and with a few extra days off you might actually find yourself faster during this time from extra recovery.

Post-Christmas Energy Systems Training

Work back from your 1st practice game to the start of post-Christmas pre-season training to see how many weeks and sessions you;ll have between now and then which will determine how long each goal will be the main focus for.

Post-Christmas Goal 1 - Aerobic Power

Post-Christmas Goal 2 - Lactic Power

After 2 or so weeks of finishing up alactic power ans aerobic capacity development, we'll now move to a few more goals, while maintaining alactic power with low volume, high intensity training as you can maintain it with as little as 30 - 50% of the volume you used to build it, so long as intensity is maximal.

Aerobic development will also be maintained with some specific drills for it as well a greater emphasise on skill drills which can also be performed at an aerobic capacity type intensity.

Again remember when you're training the power side of anything you need full rest between sets so plan some easy skill drills between these sets.

After 3 - 4 weeks of aerobic and alactic power now we can head into alactic capacity. You can't build high capacity if you have low power so ensure that power is trained, and improved upon before capacity. If you're not fast for 1 set then how can be fast for 5 or 10 sets? You can't.

You'll need to be a programming demon at this point because you now need to address alactic power, aerobic capacity, aerobic power, alactic power and now alactic capacity all at once.

Plan the bulk of your energy systems work prior to your 1st practice match as those early games will build more fatigue then any other games you play for the year as the body gets accustomed to the intensity of change of directions and contact/bumps.

You'll also struggle to implement your game plan effectively if you're still slugging it out on the track 2 a week and going into games already half knackered so the focus for training is on high quality with "some" volume that will decrease from week to week until round 1 where you want to be at your peakiest best!

This is all laid out for you in the Ultimate Footy Training Manual so get your hands on one before it's too late to do something about it and round 1 is on top of you!

I've actually got a 25% off offer at the moment if you go via this link:


Friday, January 30, 2015

How I Rehabbed in 24 Hours...Must Read!

My training is pretty full-on at the moment. I'm currently doing 5 gym sessions and 5 track sessions per week.

Last Monday saw me in the gym warming up for a lower body sesh when on my last warm up squat set, my back went. Technique was fine, the load was easily doable but still being a warm up set, the back wasn't into it.

Once, maybe twice a year, my back will do this for no real reason but I have had some pretty bad back pain in the past which I've managed to starve off from proper training.

I suspect that this time it was my body telling me to ease up a bit and it was making me do it - you can't tell the nervous system what to do sometimes, it will make you do things you don't want to do!

If you've read any of the pain science stuff coming out these days, a great deal of chronic pain is from your brain. For example if you had a lower back issue for a couple of weeks and it clears up then the injury is gone and so it shouldn't hurt again for no reason now should it?

Except every now and then it does of which I'll explain in a future post, but the gist of it is that your experiences, beliefs and even culture can influence how you deal with pain.

I am of the thinking that I can bounce back from an injury which I always do, and that simple act alone helps immensely.

Anyway I hurt my back during squats which registered about a 6 or 7 out of 10 for pain/discomfort compared to some other back issues I've had. I could walk right after it which was a good sign - I had an episode where i was on my own in the gym for about 45mins and I literally couldn't move - that hurt!

Anyway I went straight home and had a nap for about 90 minutes, which is actually when you regenerate.

During the day I heat packed until I had to go back to work with not a lot of improvement.

I went in early to start some rehab and here's what I done:
  1. Supine Breathing x 10 breathes -
  2. Breathing Long Lever Deadbugs x 8/leg -
  3. Band Glute Bridge 5 x 10 second holds (just wrap a band around your knees and don't let it push your knees in during the set) -
  4. Prone Stability Hold x 5 breathes -
That little circuit worked pretty well for a 5 minute rehab session. I dd 2hrs worth of clients and repeated that before I went home.

I heated again before bed, applied heat cream of some sort and went to bed.

I could still feel the back in bed during the night but I could move a bit without aggravating it too much, so another good sign there.

The next morning rolls around it feels a lot better but the pain/stiffness is still there. It's really more stiffness then anything because when there is trauma somewhere in the body the body will protect the area by tensing all the muscles around it to stabilise the area, and also to stop you trying to move into a position that could cause further injury.

This is the number reason why immediate rehab can be your best cause of action, not ice/rest/ice for days on end.

Fun Fact - ice really only works on reducing swelling for 8 - 12 hours of which then you want to turn to heating and moving the injured area to promote blood flow and thus healing.

So I did my morning clients and repeated the rehab stuff again and was feeling alright enough to do the upper body session planned for the day. I will always train upper body if I have a lower body / lower back injury and it also helps greatly, ALWAYS, so do it!

I had a bunch of testing to do the day before on the track so feeling alright I thought I'd head down and see what I could do, if anything at all.

So I hobbled through my first 20 meter sprint, which definitely was not a sprint and certainly wouldn't have looked like it. I timed it and recorded a 3.28 second sprint. Not bad I thought considering my personal best was 2.94.

I did 2 more sprints and my times kept increasing but the pain and stiffness wasn't decreasing at the same rate. My right side felt very unstable initially but came along to the point that on my 7th or 8th sprint I managed to record a 2.82 second 20 meter sprint. I was happy enough with that and called it a day for those.

I did a 30 meter sprint that tied at 3.97 seconds against a personal best of 3.72 seconds and again I was happy so I just did 1 set of those.

The back was feeling fine so I continued on with a 30sec aerobic power test followed by a 6 x 30 meters every 30 seconds repeat speed test.

Back was near perfect by the end of it.

Whatever perceived threats there had been had totally been destroyed by continuing to find a way to train. The worse thing you can do is stay still as the brain has no reason to release the protective tension.

I even managed to follow that session up with a 12 minute run for distance with no problems at all pain wise, but it had taken a bit out of me and I didn't really get the result I was hoping for. I improved but not quite as much as I was gunning for but I'll test again in a few weeks in perfect health and see how I go.

In the end after that Monday morning where I hurt myself I managed 9 sessions in the 5 days following the initial injury.

UPDATE - I wasn't doing any HRV stuff at this time but I'd guarantee my life on it that the day I hurt myself, my reading would have indicated a rest day and my resting heart rate would have been elevated far above my baseline figure. One way to avoid injury is to assess your body's readiness everyday day as you'll rarely, if ever, get injured when you're at your peak fitness - only when you're a underdone in meeting the demands of a game from time off from the game, low training base etc.