Sunday, July 31, 2011

Make Sure You Take This In Account

I think it was Joe Defranco who said this but at this time of the year it could not hold anymore relevance. To put this in context an athlete asked him what he could do improve upon his preparation for the NFL Combine, about 2 weeks before it was to be held.

Joe's response:

"At this stage there's not a lot you can do to get better, but there's a lot you can do to be worse"

Or something like that.

If your team is finals bound then you need to just continue what you're doing now until the season is done.

Do not add in radical changes to your training or preparation, keep to what you got there.

A lot of players look to increase their training volume to get "ready" for the finals in the lead up to them and some also like to play around with their preparation for the more important games.

In the end, they will only provide minimal, if any improvement in your game. The work should have already been done.

So stick to what you always do and let the work you've already put in do the magic for you.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Training Program for the Rest of the Season

This year I am playing for South Yarra in the Southern Football League as I posted here. For a quick recap of the season we started out 0-4 and since have won 8 in a row including 3 the top 4 teams for the first half of the season.

Next week is the ultimate test as we take on the undefeated top side although we have pretty much consolidated our place in the top 4 as of now.

We have 6 games to go and also a bye so 7 weeks until finals time. Up until now my training has been a little sporadic following a basic plan but nothing concrete but I get the best benefits with a structure in place so here's what I have come up with.

My main goals is to get my strength back up to the levels of earlier this year or close to, I have cut back a lot on my back work for no reason really, which has affected my bench press a lot and with my huge squat focus in the last 3 months or so haven't, feels like I haven't deadlifted this year. I will also be continuing my 2 running sessions a week which consist of 3/4 pace goal to goal type runs at Toorak Park 2/week.

Strength wise I will follow a 3-2-1 format which looks like this:

Week 1 - work up to a 3 rep max but stay 3 reps away from actual max weight

Week 2 - work up to a 2 rep max but stay 2 reps away from actual max weight

Week 3 - work up to a 1 rep max but stay 1 rep away from actual max weight

Week 4 - deload of start again depending on how I feel

I will also be using some complex training where I pair my strength sets with an explosive exercise to cut back on time.


Back Squat x 3-2-1 paired with Depth Jumps x 3
Heavy Prowler Drag paired with 10m Sprint x 5-4-3 sets

Military Press x 3-2-1 paired with Medicine Ball Toss x 10
Pull Up x 5-4-3 sets paired with Chest Supported Row x 4 sets


Deadlift x 3-2-1 paired with Standing Long Jumps x 3
Low Handle Prowler Push paired with 10m Sprint x 5-4-3 sets

Bench Press x 3-2-1 paired with Rebound Bench Press x 10
Chin Up x 5-4-3 sets paired with Seated Cable Row x 4 sets

If you have any questions on what you can do to get ready foe the finals then please leave a comment or email and remember, you can't do the nothing in the week leading up to a game to get better, but you can do a lot of things to get worse.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cyril Rioli Learning to Run Again

So I read on the internet a couple of days ago that the Hawthorn fitness staff are trying to teach Cyril Rioli to run with a different action to hopefully decrease his hamstring injuries in the future.

I believe they want to him to take shorter steps which leads me to think that his long stride, a staple of indigenous players and the number 1 reason why they have so much pace, is the reason for his hamstring pulls.

I really don't think this is a good idea.

As I detailed in the Aussie Rules Off Season Training Manual, the equation for sprinting is stride length x stride frequency with length being a product of dynamic flexibility and mobility and frequency being a product of relative and maximal strength levels.

When sprinting the hamstrings do go into an extreme and rapid stretch position which does put a lot of pressure on the hamstring, especially when running at full pace. One of the best ways to strengthen the hamstrings in the stretch position is through deep lunge variations with relative heavy weight. My best choice would be reverse lunges with relative heavy weight as well as incorporating glute ham raises and of course heavy squats and deadlifts into the mix.

From the look of most indigenous players it seems to me that they're not living in the weight room and maybe it is a fear of bulking them up and taking away their pace and running ability but I think this is a big mistake not just for them, but for all players.

Changing Cyril's stride to a shorter one will only shift the stress to another part of his body (quads) and as a result he could easily have hamstring and quadricep troubles.

A good dose of glute activation and strengthening to retrain the glutes to be the dominant hip extensor, will relieve the pressure going through the hamstrings so they only carry the share of the load from running that they are supposed to.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Anatomy of Marking

This is part 2 of our anatomy of football series and this time we'll focus on marking.

Instead of braking marking down into it's different phases, we'll break it down into the different marks that you often take during a game.

1 - mark taken on a lead

2 - pack mark

3 - stationary one-on-one mark

When I think of a mark taken on a lead I think of the Chief, Jason Dunstall and Barry Hall, 2 of the great lead up players I have seen, and who both kick a lot of goals from marks taken on the lead.

If you are this type of forward then you'll need explosive pace right off the mark. I actually did a Need for Speed series a couple of months ago detailing a program I was doing for this exact quality.

For this you'll need to work on your max strength through squats and deadlifts and couple them with sprints in the same session as the potentiation from the heavy lifts can increase your speed immediately.

If possible get your hands on a prowler like the one in my video so you can basically do loaded sprints without any impact to your joints.

For a pack mark like this:

You'll need some great single leg jumping ability which can be achieved through strength training and plyometrics if you don't have natural spring. For strength training you'll again focus on squats but I would also do some single leg exercises such as lunge and step up variations in a strength rep range (5 - 8 per set) to provide you with single leg stability via the ankle, knee and hips.

For plyometrics, bounding for low reps and sets (3 - 5 x 3 - 5 etc) is a good exercise to use but make sure that you adequate strength levels to be able to do them properly or they may do you more worse then good. And only do them on grass!!

For a 1-on-1 contested mark you need both core and lower body strength where you need to be able plant yourself and be able to push against your opponent to hold your position.

As discussed above you'll need a combination of deadlifts, squats and single leg exercises here where I think the deadlift has the best carryover from the bunch as you actually have sit back and hold yourself in the correct position under a great load.

For core strength anything taken from my Core Training for Aussie Rules Training videos (part1 and part 2) will serve you well. Once you have mastered some of the lying variations in part 1 then the standing variations in part 1 and 2 is really where you'll gain benefits for contested marking.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Anatomy of Kicking

Kicking is the most basic skill of football so how can we improve it?

I am going to focus on training the movement and the muscles involved to improve your kicking power and distance.

Let's break the skill down into phases.

Phase 1 is the back swing phase.

Phase 2 is the transition phase.

Phase 3 is the contact and follow through phase.

Dustin Martin is one of the most penetrating kicks for goal that we have in the game right now whether it be on the run or from a set shot. He also possess what I think is the most powerful kick, along with Daniel Rich of the Brisbane Lions

During the back swing phase the muscles involved most are the hips and glutes which both require mobility and stability to give the powerful kick you need.

The glutes perform hip extension which is the action of the leg going back behind you. The biggest problem here is that when your glutes can't perform this movement (the one it's supposed to) then your lower back will go into hyperextension to get the range of motion for the hip that the glutes can't give it. As the lumbar spine is built for stability (to resist movement, not produce it) this is going to cause some lower back trauma over time.

So what we need to do is to activate and strengthen the glutes in hip extension on the back of the body, and strength the hip flexor and quadricep muscle groups to allow this same hip extension range of motion on the front of the body.

I suggest using deadlift variations for glute strength as I believe I have increased my kicking length 5 - 10m since I incorporated deadlifts into my training and I was already a 50m kick.

During the transition phase we will now be holding the our full body weight on the one leg which is going to require a ton of stability at the ankle and hip joints. I suggest using single leg exercises to build this stability such with high box step ups and single leg deadlifts being your best options here.

For the contact and follow through phase you'll need great core stability right upon contact of the footy as you basically want the body to "stiffen' up so that there are no power leaks from other parts of the body and all your power is being put through the foot and into the footy.

The further you can follow through, then the further your kick will go so that will require some psoas activation and strengthening as well as hip mobility.

By strengthening these muscles and the actual kicking movement in isolation and then integrating it all into kicking during training and game time, you'll be getting extra distance and a more powerful, Dustin Martin type kick in no time.