Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lactic Power Block Summary

Over the last few weeks I had a focus on aerobic power.

Aerobic power is classed as an all-out 100% effort for 20 - 40secs.

To train this I made up 6 sessions and did them 2/week:

Session 1 - 3 x 20secs, 8mins rest

Session 2 - 4 x 20secs, 8mins rest

Session 3 - 3 x 25secs, 9mins rest

Session 4 - 4 x 25secs, 9mins rest

Session 5 - 3 x 30secs, 10mins rest

Session 6 - 4 x 30secs, 10mins rest

In the end I went for total meterage per set for time:

20secs = 153m

25secs = 190m

30secs = 227m

The 20sec sets were right on, the 190m sets were 24 - 25secs each and the 227m sets were 30 - 31secs so pretty close.

I also calculated my meters per second score for each sprint I did with the fastest sprint being one of the 190m sprints that clocked in at 7.8 meters per second.

I might do another 153m next week or so as that should be faster but I was new to this kind of running in the first couple of sessions.

The most important thing to remember is that when you're training power, you need to fully rest between sets. As you can see I was taking 8 - 10mins between sets. You could rest shorter and train sub-maximal power but getting greater sub-maximal power makes no sense at all!

Before you can train repeat speed, you need to be able to exert speed in the first place.

In a team setting you would train aerobic power on the very 1st set of a 200 - 400m sprint and because of the incomplete rest that teams use, the next couple of sets trains some sub-maximal endurance which is terrible place to train in because it's too  slow for speed/power gains and too fast for true aerobic gains as there is lactate build up.

Think about that last bit before planning for season 2017!

Thursday, July 21, 2016


We roll on with part 3 of our in-season training series this time with my old mate Matt Glossop from the Murray Bushrangers who I've interviewed previously and chat with quite often about all things footy training.

Here's what went down:

What differences are made to training compared to the off and pre-season training periods?

The technical and tactical aspects to training take priority over the physical side for the most part. 
During a pre-season, you can really forecast each session/microcycle/macrocycle because you have full control over what the team is exposed to but as game play is introduced that control diminishes and you are reacting and changing your training plans constantly according to what happens on the weekend. 

For example, this week we played a tight, in-close contested game of football and have a 6-day break, so we won’t do much small-sided game work because the game style (and GPS) tells us that the accel/decel/COD load was very high on the weekend, so training might slant towards some more longer run and carry drills to expose them to some top-speed work since they didn’t see much of it during the game.

Further Reading; I love this last part and even without GPS trackers and alike, you know as a player or coach what type of game you just watched which is usually dictated by the weather and ground conditions at our level. 

What does a full week look like?

On a Saturday to Saturday week:

Sunday- personal recovery, cold water immersion, foam rollers/stretching
Monday- personal recovery, flush run/bike or hydro plus weights with lower body emphasis
Tuesday- local training, generally 90mins
Wednesday- TAC training focusing on vision, training, recovery and weights
Thursday- local training, generally 30mins skills, then weights with upper body emphasis with some jumps/med ball throws for lower body
Friday- Off

Each player will be different as some prefer to do something light on Friday and some prefer to do their lower body weights on Tuesday instead of Monday etc, I try to let them customise their week according to their experiences and what works best for them.

Further Reading: Even at 16 - 18 years old they are left to do their own recuperation and are also left in charge for some of their preparation. What's holding you back then?

Do you have any specific requirements for players to abide by from Thursday to game day?

We will educate them about preparation, specifically sleep, hydration, nutrition and posture. Again, it’s something that I like to leave to the players to take ownership of their own prep and develop a routine they are confident in.

What does game day look like?

-90 mins: team meeting, no new material, reinforce key points
-75 mins: own prep, strapping/foam rollers/glute activation/cns activation, players do what they feel is best
-45 mins: quick lines meeting (backs/mids/forwards) to reinforce structures/rotations
-30mins: on-ground warm-up.
-15mins: back in rooms, jumpers/mouthguard/toilet etc
-5mins: coach last minute
-4 mins: on-ground

At half time they come in and choose from fruit, lollies, energy gels, sports drinks/water etc and break into their lines for the first 10 mins. Then the coach addresses them for 5 and we are back out with 3 or 4 mins to bounce.

What recovery interventions do you put in place immediately post game as well as in the days following? Do you do these as a team or leave blokes to do them themselves?

Once they come off the ground, they sing the song (hopefully), get hit with a 2min summary from the coach then immediately weigh in, grab a sports drink and into the ice bath (10 mins @ 10 degrees), followed by flavored milk, compression garments on for travel home and get a solid meal (free hit) about an hour post.

Game Day +1- cold water immersion and then by around 24hrs post-game they should be starting to restore some movement through stretching/rollers/mobility drills etc.

Game Day +2- They have a choice of run/bike/pool sessions according to how banged up they are and what they feel works best for them.

Sleep and Nutrition are the key focus points during this time, no amount of extra recovery sessions will compensate for poor sleeping and eating/hydration patterns at these crucial times.

Further Reading: yep that beach session on 3hrs sleep after 25 pots is probably a waste of time.

What types of personal/wellness/readiness testing do you do during the season?

They fill out Smartabase (online wellness tool) daily, rating themselves in sleep quality/duration, fatigue, stress, soreness and mood each morning.

We do some light screening also looking at knee to wall for ankle mobility, groin squeeze strength etc. I have recently been experimenting with some counter-movement jump scores as well, but we only get them for 3 hours a week so it’s hard to get everything in.

Do players do their own training on top of team training in their own time and if so, how do you monitor it so that it doesn’t interfere with team training and games?

That’s the biggest challenge of the role, we might have 2 players go to local club training on a Tuesday night, one goes to a team who got a touch up on the weekend and gets hit with 100 x 100m sprints or something ridiculous, the other might get there and they have a night off and play laser-tag instead. 

To counter this, we send both the player and the local coach our individualised training parameters for the week along with a summary of his wellbeing data, GPS data and total games/minutes played so they can get a holistic view of each athlete.

Great responses and always appreciated Matty!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tempo Training (T)

T training is best used as a recovery tool but can also serve to train sprinting mechanics at a lower intensity as well as ankle/foot stiffness.

To perform T training follow these recommendations:

- 10 - 12secs per set

- 8 - 20 sets per sessions

- no faster then 65% of your maximum speed (you should not be out of breath at all during these sessions - hence the use for recovery)

- rest until heart rate drops to 120bpm

This method is taken from Joel Jamieson at

Cardiac Output Training (CO)

CO training, also commonly known as steady state cardio, is the backbone of conditioning.

To have efficient and powerful energy systems, you need a solid foundation of CO.

CO works to increase the volume of blood pumped per beat by increasing the size of the left ventricle of the heart.

Over time it stretches and can fill up with greater volumes of blood each beat which can result in lower resting heart rates, lower working heart rates and greater cardiac efficiency.

To perform CO training follow these recommendations:

- 30 - 90mins per session

- keep heart rate between 130 and 150bpm

- increase volume over time

Again be sure not to go higher then 150bpm or again you'll enter or be training close to your anaerobic threshold which is counterproductive.

This method is taken from Joel Jamieson at

High Resistance Intervals (HRI)

HRI improves the aerobic abilities of your fast twitch muscle fibers which are your fast an explosive fibers, but they fatigue very quickly.

This method can help extend the time to fatigue of these muscle fibers by supplying them with a constant supply of oxygen.

You must use a training mode of training that provides resistance for with HRI.

To perform HRI follow these recommendations;

- 10 - 20secs per set

 - 15 - 20 sets per session

- rest until heart reate returns to 130bpm

- exercises to use include hill sprints, ropes, heavy bag boxing or cardio machines where you can turn up the resistance

This method is taken from Joel Jamieson at

Threshold Training (TT)

TT increases the aerobic system's maximum rate of ATP regeneration so more power can be produced aerobically.

This is achieved by raising your anaerobic threshold which is the point that you pass into anaerobic glycolysis, which means lactate build up, and a drop in performance.

For example you aim to sprint as far as you can in a single bout and at some stage you notice a loss of speed - you've hit your anaerobic threshold where lactate is now building up, you're going to fast to replenish it, a loss of speed follows.

You can find your anaerobic threshold by simply doing a 6min run and record your heart rate at each 60sec interval. Get the average of those 60sec intervals and you'll have your anaerobic threshold.

For most of us it will be around the 170bpm area.

To perform TT follow these recommendations:

- 2 - 5 sets per session

- 3 - 10mins per set

- keep your heart rate within 5 beats (+/-) of your anaerobic threshold

Be sure to stay within the heart beat zone because if you go too high then you'll enter into your threshold and it will be a waste of time. We're trying to extend our threshold so we can go harder for longer before we enter it, not train in it.

This method is taken from Joel Jamieson at

Cardiac Power Intervals (CPI)

CPI improves the supply of oxygen at high intensities.

It also improves power endurance of the heart by increasing the strength of the heart's muscle fibres which also mitochondria which carries oxygen in the blood to the working muscles.\

To perform CPI follow these recommendations:

- 4 - 12 sets per session

- 60 - 120secs per set

- maximal speed for the entire set

- rest until heart rate returns to 130bpm

Any activity is fine for CPI just make sure that it gets you to at least 90% of your heart rate max (220 - your age).

This method is taken from Joel Jamieson at

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Following on from the Darren Burgess interview from last week we'll take a look at how the VFL handle their in-season training.

In our first interview with Robert he mentioned that VFL players aren't fully professional and in Port Melbourne's case, all players are exclusive VFL listed players, there are no AFL listed players on their list.

Although VFL is only 1 level down from AFL, as far as preparation it's probably the closest you'll get to an amateur/local footy player, depending on how far you like to take your preparation. It's great to know what AFL teams do but it;s not really replicable in the real world with jobs, family etc.

Here's what Rob had to day on all things in-season training:

What differences are made to training compared to the off and pre-season training periods?

Pre-season Pre-Christmas): focus on selection of squad, individualised programming for selected players (fitness and/or weights), skill development, development of preparation strategies (e.g. sit and reach test, adductor strength test, Body mass measurement). . Development of player fitness/strength. Introducing players to requirements of VFL football.

Pre-Season (Post-Chrismas): Fitness and fitness testing, skill development, team game plan awareness. Monitoring of individual training load

The major difference between components of the season is primarily the variation in the importance given to the various components of the team program. Whilst team development is the key focus at all times - individual needs remain a high priority at all times.

In-season: Primary focus is on weekly recovery, preparedness for game, maintenance of fitness/strength and the monitoring of individual training loads.

Further Reading: At local/amateur level, that 2nd last paragraph is close to non-existent but it could be the best thing that you could do, especially if you're a coach of a club. After the team warm up set aside a 10 - 15min block for individual training whether it be skills, goal kicking, speed, agility, endurance or rehab. It pretty much all comes down to being able to streamline your training and finding ways to make it as efficient as possible. 

What does a full week look like? What does game day look like? What recovery interventions do you put in place immediately post game as well as in the days following? Do you do these as a team or leave blokes to do them themselves?

Saturday - game, post game stretching/nutrition/hydration, ice baths

Sunday - recovery session (beach/pool) in designated groups based on geographical location of players where they also send a photo with data and time to register attendance.

Monday - light skills, upper body weights (selected group), match review, players weight to see if weight lost from game has been regained, fitness work for injured players or those who didn't play on the weekend, rehab program for specific players.

Tuesday - fitness and weights sessions.

Wednesday - train in team groups, each player to complete adductor strength and sit and reach test to determine training readiness and potential capacity, emphasis on team skills/team plan/fitness/skills, rehab program for selected players, players on rotation to reduce training load, non-selected players train with home club.

Thursday - optional weights, non-selected players train with home clubs

Friday - train in team groups, emphasis on team skills/team plan/skills with the session being short and light, players weight in before training, rehab program for specific players

Saturday - developmental/senior team meeting, pre-game stretching/muscle activation/hydration, pre game warm up is 3mins in rooms + 20mins on oval + coach address + 6mins on oval + 3 - 4mins on oval prior to 3rd quarter

Further Reading: I especially like the Sunday recovery suggestion here where you group players together by location. My club personally has blokes from everywhere which makes team recovery, and expecting everyone to get there, impossible. Smaller groups by locale makes perfect sense.

Do you have any specific requirements for players to abide by from Thursday to game day? 

Sleep, hydration, nutrition are the focus of the message to the players. The leadership group may have other instructions for the players but I am not aware of them

Further Reading - coaches don't know everything, and they especially know bugger all about the strength and conditioning side of things which is fine, it's not their fault. Their job is to more focused on tactical/recruitment to win games of footy in the hope that players prepare themselves accordingly. Each coach should put together, or have someone put together, a little something for the players to hold onto in regards to recovery and preparation when they are away from the club. It might seem a but full on but having 5 - 8 blokes follow it is better then none of them isn't it?

What types of personal/wellness/readiness testing do you do during the season?

Selected players use heart rate monitors during training and game and by using the software algorithm recovery time can by attained. However, as this is only a guide to physiological recovery – players are continually being asked about ‘how they are feeling’. In conjunction with the protocols associated with the sit/reach test, adductor strength test and body mass measurement, the collected information is used to determine the individual training load for a given session.

Do players do their own training on top of team training in their own time and if so, how do you monitor it so that it doesn’t interfere with team training and games?

For a non-AFL aligned club this is a major issue. Trying to educate the players about the limitations of the club’s training schedule given that they are ‘part-time’ athletes and the need to do extra work is a nightmare. Many players know AFL players and try to imitate their workloads. Others read articles online or in other media and attempt to replicate those sessions regardless of the effectiveness of that information for the players. Another problem is players working with fitness people who have no idea of the club’s program. Finally, those players who are (have completed) Sport Science degrees are often the worst offenders. At the moment I am working with the leadership group to try a obtain a guide to what is being done and when it is being done outside of the club program.

Further Reading: You've got 2 types at your local/amateur footy clubs. You've got the blokes who do the 2 nights of team training a week and nothing else and the blokes doing 2 nights of tram training a week and another pre-season on the other 3 nights! So 1 bloke is probably under-trained compared to the pre-season essentially losing fitness/strength qualities during the season and the other is never really fully recovered and thus can never really be at their best. Of course it doesn't really help if you;re coach doesn't have much of a plan outside of tactical stuff for training and then every now then have you do 10 x 100m sprints or a road run with no pre or post planning  in regards to what that type of training will do at that exact time. This leaves you trying to cover everything else outside of training and can run you into the ground.

I'd like to thank Rob once again for his assistance on this - it's always greatly appreciated!

Monday, July 11, 2016

AFL In-Season Training w/ Darren Burgess Port Adelaide S&C Coach.

You might remember in February this year I did a series of interviews with AFL, VFL and TAC strength and conditioning coaches to give us local/amateur footy players an insight into what elite preparation looks like.

Now being just past the season's mid-point, plenty of rain and heavy grounds meaning plenty of collisions, recovery and in-season training/preparation is crucial to not only getting to the last round but also fully fit and ready to play your best football come finals time.

I thought it was the perfect time to follow up with some in-season training questions but this time I managed to get ab hold of the head of the Port Adelaide strength and conditioning team Darren Burgess, regarded as one of THE best s&c coaches in the entire world!

Here's what he had to say.

What differences are made to training compared to the off and pre-season training periods?

There is a lot more recovery in-season. During pre-season we train heavily 3 - 4 sessions a week whereas in-season there is 1 heavy session then the game.

Further Reading: Train Monday Instead of Tuesday? It could be said that local/amateur football, with far more collisions then elite level football, and relative fitness levels that come with the varying grades of football might be more demanding. Add to that the fact that we have to work 5 - 6 days a week and deal with a lot more outside stressors then AFL players and it might be a good idea to have 1 main session each week.

What does a full week look like?

Saturday - Game

Sunday - Recovery
Monday - Light Session
Tuesday - Off
Wednesday - Heavy Session + Gym
Thursday - Gym
Friday - Light Session
Saturday - Game

Further Reading: My Game to Game Weekly Lay Out. Right now it's Saturday - Post game recovery as per blog, Sunday - Rest, Monday - Active Recovery for legs and Strength for Upper, Tuesday - Low Volume Speed + Aerobic Power, Wednesday - Off, Thursday - Low Volume Power (gym based) + Aerobic Power, Friday - Upper Power (gym).

Do you have any specific requirements for players to abide by from Thursday to game day?
Nope, just plenty of recovery

What does game day look like?

I leave the players largely to themselves. We have some nutritional demands as well as warm up routines but largely the players prepare themselves.

What recovery interventions do you put in place immediately post game as well as in the days following? Do you do these as a team or leave blokes to do them themselves?

Mostly nutrition as well as ice baths post game. Active recovery and additional hydrotherapy in the days following.

What types of personal/wellness/readiness testing do you do during the season?

They fill out short wellness questionnaires once or twice a week depending on the phase of the season.

Further Reading; Player Monitoring Parts 1, 2 and 3.

You've got 6 - 7 weeks until finals and you can still make some alterations that WILL make you a far better player when you really need to be when finals start.

I'd like to Darren on giving up his time and Intel to do this, we greatly appreciate it!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Jump 4" Higher in 30mins and YOU Can Take Mark of the Year!

Even though we don't see as many high marks as we used to in the 80's and 90's, it is still easily the most appealing spectacle of our game.

From Peter Knights to Warwick Capper to Gary Ablett Snr to Tony Modra, the high mark is probably the first thing you'd show someone who has not seen our game before.

I'm 168cms and almost 38 years old coming of a pretty serious knee injury last year and my spring is not what it used to be. Not far off but not what it used to be as I was touching a full sized basketball rim only 2 years ago.

That's me in the image above flying high a couple of weeks ago and like all good forwards we punch from behind!

Granted I've been focusing on maintain/increasing sprinting speed over vertical displacement so my training really been focused on it either.

Last week I road tested a workout with the aim of getting immediate improvements in vertical leap.

I posted my results on Facebook (search down for June 30th) where I managed to increase my vertical leap by 11cms in just over 20mins.

The workout was specifically designed for vertical leap improvements but anyone could do it reap the performance rewards like I did.

Imagine what getting 11cms higher would do for you?

For us shorties it puts you at the the same or similar height then most other players and for taller players it puts you at a whole new level where you can be outreaching everyone.

I was a bit strapped for time so I didn't video any of this unfortunately except for the jumps on the Facebook page but I'll be packaging this workout for something in the very near future (keep your eye out!)

While I have you here I'm researching the wants and needs of us local and amateur football players. I'm wanting to find your pain points and what happens to your football if they aren't addressed. I want to know your pleasure points and how your football changes once they are reached.

This is all to help me with the new venture that will hopefully be ready to go in 6 weeks or so.

For your assistance on this I'll rush you to the top of the list and to get in the ground floor when it is all ready to go!

You can access the form here: