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.