Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pre Boxing Day Sale on All Training Manuals

This photo shows 3 of my favorite things, the Swans, footy and Christmas.

They don't really have anything in common but I felt an image was required for such a short post.

I was meant to do this last week but the wife ended up in hospital for 9 days the world went frantic for a while so I'll put it up now anyway.

From right now until New Years Eve, I'm holding a sale on all of my training manuals. 

The Off Season Training Manual described here is ideal for the player who wants to cater to everything footy. It has sections on goal setting, nutrition, body composition, weight training, injury rehab and corrective exercise. A boatload of detail but not full of big words. This is usually $60 but will sell for $50.

The Pre Season Training Manual described here is strictly a fitness program for footy. It is a program and nothing else so if you like to just get to the good bits and haven;t a care in the world about what, why and how (well there's some how in it and few what's) then this is for you. This is usually $50 but will sell for $40

The Athlete Maker Training Program described here is strictly a gym program created to be the bridge between the gym and the football field. 99% of gym programs do not replicate the contractions that football does or trains the various types of strength football requires. This one does. This is usually $30 but will sell for $25.

Alternatively you can order all 3 for $100 or any two for $60.


They are set for the normal price so just manually pay the required amount to through 

The clock ticks until this is over...............


Saturday, December 15, 2012

How You Should Be Training Your Body for Footy

I've probably said this 100 time son this blog but Aussie Rules Football is the most eclectic sport on earth as far as physical demands are concerned.

In this post I will suggest what muscles, movements and qualities you should be training and how you should be training them in an effort to streamline your training, especially now that pre Christmas training is happening and moving into the real training stuff early to mid January.

From the program I have seen people do for footy (and that's a lot of programs) they generally have too much of what is not actually needed and no where near enough of what actually is.

Does one really need an arm day, including forearms, to be a better footballer? I'll let the masses answer that one.

OK let's start with actual actions of specific joints.

The most important one's that you need and why are:

Hip Extension - the action of your leg trailing back behind your center of mass such as pushing off for a lead

Hip Flexion - the action of tour knee lifting upwards as in the knee lift phase of running

Thoracic Spine Extension - provides the ability to lift your arms up over your head without having to compensate through the lower back as in going for a mark

Ankle Dorsi Flexion (closed chain) - the ability of the shin to travel forwards over the feet while they are still on the ground providing optimal joint integrity up the chain (knee, hip, lumbar spine)

Next we'll look at what we'll classify as general movements and requirements because they aren't based on anatomy like the specific joint actions but rather are strength and conditioning terms:

Hip Hinge - the same pattern of a correctly performed hip dominant or deadlift pattern. It involves pushing he hips back, not down, and keeping a vertical shin.

Triple Extension - the simultaneous extension of the ankle, knee and hip joints during jumping and sprinting, especially the toe off phase of sprinting.

Single Leg - refers to exercises performed on 1 leg such as steps and lunges which are excellent for injury prevention and mobility improvement.

Hip Extension

Now as we get a bit more meat heady we'll look at the muscles and what they will be served being trained for:

Calves/Foot - very underrated and don't get anywhere near enough attention as they should and are often ignored once orthotics are put in (hint #1 - they aren't actually fixing anything! Well no more then a band aid stopping the bleeding from a severed femoral artery). In a nut shell you want to train this area for stiffness. No not muscle stiffness like tight pecs or quads, but stiffness as in when your foot hits the ground there is minimal deformity allowing for a quicker transition from force absorption into force output. For example when jumping during the eccentric (lowering) phase, the less time your feet take to absorb the eccentric impact and transfer it into concentric action (jumping), the higher you'll jump. For another example when running the 'stiffer" your ankles are, the less "heel drop" there is each step meaning when your forefoot hits the ground, your heel doesn't keep dropping as you go into the toe off phase.

To train stiffness you'll need some low level plyometric speed and quickness drills such as ankle hops and line hop variations keeping your sets to 10 seconds or less x 2 - 3 per week. It's good to video these so that you see the difference in your movement efficiency over time.

Also be sure to hit some wall ankle mobilisations daily to keep the ankle joint open to allow for optimal lower body range of motion.

Hamstrings - they have 2 actions, 1 - knee extension like a leg curl and, 2 - hip extension like a hip hinge. 90% of programs players do focus on knee extension which is insane as most hamstring injuries are done in the deceleration phase of sprinting, i.e. powerful eccentric hip extension during ground contact. Ditch those leg curls for deadlift and single leg exercise variations and if you're game enough, some glute ham raises. You'll want to train the hamstrings for strength over hypertrophy and even though some extra size won't be a hinderence, it's the strength factor (specifically eccentric strength) that will keep you injury free.

Hip Flexors - are a very overused and dominant muscle meaning they can very tight and be one of the culprits of lower back pain and hamstring and quad strains and tears. Traditional stretching of these muscles where you go down on 1 knee and lean forward putting your weight on the front foot is addressing maybe 25% of the problem maximum. The optimal way to get length and/or relaxation of the hip flexors is to actually squeeze the glute of same leg, brace your core like your about to take a sledgehammer to the guts and then if you think you need more range of motion, then go into the forward lean while holding the glute and core contractions. Most people simply need to do the initial glute and core squeeze to get benefits from this. Probably the greatest benefit you get from this is that you stop any anterior gliding of the head of the femur in the joint which can cause impingement type issues so all that old school hip flexor stretching can actually be doing you harm if you have poor hip control (hint #2 - most of you do). Progress this to isometric extreme split squats x 15 - 30 seconds and you'll be golden (the towel exercise here but start without the towel). Lower down into the bottom of a split squat then while activating your core and glutes as described above, pull the front leg back while your digging your forefoot into the ground to activate the hamstring of the front leg.

Hip Extension - we've covered this already but I'll touch on the 2 best ways to train it. One of them is through a hip hinge pattern with both bilateral (2 legs) and unilateral (1 leg) variations. The other way is through resisted running with either a sled or a prowler. So you've got both closed and open chain options covered. For bilateral exercises I would keep the reps to 5 and below and for single leg I'd keep them between 5 - 8. For resisted running it sort of depends on where you are in your training year and what you've done leading up to them but you're 2 options is heavy where you'd load just enough weight that you can still run with the it, but while keeping perfect sprinting mechanics, just slower or a light load that is about 10% of your bodyweight.

Core - I covered all there is to do about core over a year ago here. Another core training method that is gathering a lot of steam is correcting your breathing patterns which is a very near future post so look out for that.

Erectors - this pretty much is covered in the core post from above where you do anti extension core exercises to prevent any unwanted extension of the lumbar spine (erectors). The lower back is in the top few strongest area's of the body so it is no wonder that is gets injured a lot. It dominates over the core and glutes to the point that those 2 muscles stop working from inactivity. Keep anti extension exercises to 30 seconds per set or about 8 - 12 reps generally.

Lats - they are the most important muscle in the upper body as it provides stability for the upper body so it can also be classed as a core exercise if you want to get technical. There are 2 ways this needs to be trained for footy. #1 is for strength because it provides the stability for all other upper body movements such as marking or fending off a tackle. It basically provides stiffness for the upper body too for example lift your arms up above your head then bring them down slowly to your sides while contracting your lats as hard as you can. You'll get to a point where you can't actually bring your arms back any further from the stiffness contraction. #2 is for size because a wider body is a harder body to tackle or to get around for a spoil during a marking.

Mid Back - referring to the rhomboids and lower traps (mostly) these muscles are best put to use to provide scapula stability. I'll throw in the serratus anterior here too even though it's not classed as a mid back muscle, it has even greater effects on scapula stability then the mid back muscles. Ensuring correct scapula positioning and movement means keeping an eye on the balance of your pushing and pulling volume for the upper body to keep your posture in check and is also related to thoracic spine mobility as mentioned above. You'll need a mixture of rehab type exercises and traditional rowing exercises performed for 8 - 15 reps under complete control with perfect technique for each and every rep because you're training the muscles and their precise movements, not just throwing weights around. Again you'll want to hit these 2 - 3 times a week so instead of having 3 chest days, let's make that 3 back days shall we?

Chest - everyone's favourite. Let's get 1 thing straight. You need to make a decision. Are you training for the ladies or are you training for footy, because they are no where near the same thing, not even close. If you are training for footy then you'll be doing strength based training for 3 - 6 rep sets. You might even throw in some explosive stuff to better replicate footy such as single arm upright barbell throws and medicine ball throws. Depending on your needs you might even need to throw in some beach stuff but even that is culled to push ups and pretty heavy dumbbell bench press variations for 8 - 15 reps. Please leave the flies and crossovers alone.

Delts/Traps - some say that the military press is a better option for footy because it's more functional (I shall not use that word again in this blog - EVER!!) because you never lie down and push something off you in footy which is true but 90% of footy is played with your lower body (if not more) so we're not after 100% transference of upper body gym numbers to the ground. Rather we want to build an armor to absorb tackles and hits and not get collision injuries which we'll get mostly with the lat, back and chest training options. If you can do them pain free then shoulder presses can be used in your program (I do them in mine most of the time) but dumbbell raise variations really serve limited purpose to anything footy related and really only build up more fatigue that you need to recover from (hint #3 - you probably recover from the basics good enough). Like bench presses train these for strength in the 3 - 6 rep range with either barbells or dumbbells, but dumbbells are a far better option for 90% of the population, let alone footy players.

So there we have it, a thorough guide on what to train, how to train it, and why for footy. Get to redoing your program now or let me know if you need a hand doing so.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How Will You Get to the Next Level?

The Force Velocity Curve

The vertical axis represents force or the load used for the given activity. The horizontal curve axis represents velocity or the speed at which that activity is performed.

Now for anyone that has ever lifted anything in their life you would know that the lighter something is the faster you can lift as opposed to something that is heavy that takes a longer time to lift.

As you can see on the chart the more heavier the load, the less velocity is used and vice versa and in between there are other strength qualities that can be trained too.

Max Strength – a heavy load lifted (relatively) slowly such as a max effort squat

Strength Speed – a moderate load lifted with moderate speed such as dynamic effort squat @ 40 – 70%

Speed Strength – a light load lifted quickly such as a weighted jump squat @ 10 – 30%

Speed – bodyweight moved quickly such as a sprint

I bet you’re training 1, 2 at most in your program and its usually one from the high force end and one from the high velocity end but rarely in the middle. What this means is that you don’t quite bridge the gap from high force to high velocity optimally as you would if you touched on one of the middle options (strength speed / speed strength).

Don’t worry I’ve got you covered with the Aussie Rules Training Athlete Maker Training Program.

It is a 10 – 14 week program to get your squat and bench press to where it needs to be and also have it actually transfer over to on field performance.

There is an optional introduction week for those who haven’t lifted in the lower rep ranges much or have no idea what their REAL maxes are so I’d strongly encourage everyone to do it as I‘ve allowed time for it anyway before footy starts.

The 1st phase focuses on using a load that is over 80% with the goal to increase neural drive and to allow for plenty of practice (volume) on the 2 core lifts we’re focusing on.

The 2nd phase focuses on using a load between 55 and 80% with the goal being to start transferring some of the strength into actual performance. 

The 3rd phase is all about transference using timed sets with a load lower then 55% for as many reps as you can get in the prescribed time frame. 

The 3 days have their own specific focus being:

Monday – Moderate Load / Moderate Volume

Wednesday - High Load / Low Volume

Friday – Low Load / High Volume. 

This follows all the way through each 3 blocks.

There is also an 8 week chin up strength program just to make you more badassary.

I have prescribed this program out to fit in with your pre season training and it's very similar to what I'm actually doing right now and have been doing since October so it's tried and it's true!

This could be the secret that you've been looking for to take you to the next level and at $30 (or $2.14 per week), what is it worth to you?

Order from the Paypal link on the right side of the page.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Where to Start with Your Pre Season Training

To train means replicate activities to improve on them.

To improve is to have an end result greater then what you started with.

In footy reference to footy I think too players miss the boat on the training portion.



Surely footy players aren't insane?

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

Couldn't be any more true.

If you're a player who's fitness lets you down then starting your training the Thursday before round 1 will not cut it.

If you're a player who's kicking is a bit loopy and inaccurate then continuing to kick loopy and inaccurately is only feeding your weakness.

This off and pre season do something about it.

Are you too weak. Get stronger.

Are you too small? Get Bigger.

Are you too slow? Get faster.

Are you too unfit? Get fitter.

Are you injury prone? Get your body right.

Read this blog from start to finish and if you still don't find the answers, then purchase the Off Season Training Manual ($60 - order through Paypal to and / or the Pre Season Training Manual (order from the Paypal icon on the right hand side of the page) for a step by step guide on how to improve your game for season 2013.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pre Season Training Manual Contents

First off I have to thank all of you that have purchased the Aussie Rules Training Pre Season Training Manual. It has far surpassed what I thought it would sell this quickly.

Secondly for those who haven't purchased it but sort of want to but want to know more about it, here's the contents of it:

Page 1 - Introduction

Page 2 - Warm Up

Page 3 - Sprints

Page 4 - Sprint Races

Page 5 - Repeated Sprints (8 Week Program)

Page 6 - Repeated Agility (8 Week Program)

Page 7 - Tempo Running (7 Week Program)

Page 8 - Repeated Sprint Endurance (4 Week Program)

Page 9 - Auto Regulation Endurance (4 Week Program)

Page 10 - Other Pre Season Drills and Idea's

Page 12 - Pre Christmas Training (4 Week Program)

Page 14 - Post Christmas January Training (2 Week Program)

Page 15 - February Training (4 Week Program)

Page 16 - March Training (4 Week Program)

There are videos that are included in this program to precisely lay out how each drill is meant to be performed.

This is the exact program that my own football team will use this pre season which is why the length of training programs are what they are but if you start earlier or later then just follow the sequence of the program from month to month.

Also continue to follow the program sequence if you will train right through Christmas.

It has been designed in a way that a full team can use it and individuals so it is the ideal manual for any team coach, fitness coach or player and is the only one on the market (as far as I know - why is AFL training information so limited? Dunno but that's why I do this blog.)

So if you just want something that is all laid for you and you just have to turn up and do it, then this is the right manual for you.

Order from the Paypal link on the right hand side of the page and once notification of payment comes through to my email, I'll email the program right to you.

For $50 bucks it equals out to $1.79 per session! You can't afford not to have it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

5 Things Missing from Your and Your Teams Pre Season Training Program

It's the start of November and with that comes pre season training for every football team in Australia.

In general training for footy at the grassroots is far behind the times with a lot of what's been done in the past still be done today, regardless of it's effectiveness.

I'm sure there's still a team out there somewhere doing the 100 meter sprints x 100 with no focus on quality or speed but just to flog the guts out it's players.

Not a great idea.

#1 - Footy Specific Running

Running the Tan. 3 kilometer Time Trails. 400's. The Beep Test.

What do they really train?

Will running 3.8 or 3kms at a slow to moderate pace be replicated on the football field?

Will run 400m in a straight line all in 1 effort?

Do you start the first quarter off at a walking pace only to ramp up the speed in the last quarter?

I hope not.

Aussie Rules Football has specific running requirements and the above options aren't any of them. That means that each running requirement needs it's own specific training. You can't run the Tan and expect it to make you any better at anything but basically running the Tan, or for 15 - 20 minutes continuously at a slow to moderate pace.

That will leave you with 0 possessions come Saturday.

#2 - Go, Stop and Go Again

This IS the most underrated form of footy fitness by far. The ability to sprint to a contest, contest the ball, get tackled, chase the spilled ball again, tackle an opposition player, get the loose ball and run away with it again is what wins game.

Doing a 100 meter sprint, resting and repeating is not going to help this because with the ability decelerate, stop and go again is crucial, especially in a contested situation.

This obviously needs to be trained through multi directional sprinting, just running one way will leave you gasping for air after 1 effort.

Get better at turning corners 2 or 3 times in a single sprint because you know the next bloke will only have turn in him at most.

#3 - Speed

I think I've posted about this before but there is an element of time in football that no one keeps in mind in that you need to get to the ball or to position first. That means you can't just "get there in the end", you need to get there first to give the best chance of getting the ball.

That means that the need for the speed is pretty much at the very top of the list for football.

I think we all know of the player that didn't make it because he was a step too slow, regardless of his Tan lap time.

#4 - Work Against the Clock

To get better at anything you need to use progressive programming. You can't get around it. You can't just do 10 x 100m sprints at any old pace with the same rest and expect to beat you tan time, get faster and/or lose some weight.


Because you'll always do 1000m with no change in your training stress.

So what should you do?

Increase the distance per set ? Shit idea because the longer you run, the slower you're running.

Increase the sets with the same distance? No because now your running a little further at the same speed.

What should you do then?

Do more work in the same amount of time or the same amount of work in less time.

#5 - Be Good at All Forms of Running

Piggy backing off point 1, football requires a lot of different "types" of running. There are high requirements for speed, repeated speed, speed endurance, agility and tempo type running.

Do you train any of even 1 of these?

Bonus Tip #6 - This Program

20 Weeks of programming.

All facets of footy fitness taken care of and all laid out for you.

Efficient workouts enabling you to train everything that is required for footy.

Stop pounding the pavement and move into the 21st century.

Order from the Paypal link on the right hand side of this page.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Your Program Sucks Part 4 – While You’re There...

Don’t Go to Failure - If there’s one thing that the muscle mags have taught us it’s...opps, already said that. Anyway, do you know the line ‘failure is not an option”? Well you should think of this more often when you’re training. The heavier the load you use, the further away from failure you should stay or at least less often through very carefully planned programming. It’s fine to go to failure on delt raises and curls, but leave some reps in the tanks for deads, squats and benches. Oh, and only go to failure once in your workout, not for every curl set you do.

Deadlifts keep 2 – 3 Reps in the Tank
Squats keep 1 – 2 Reps in the Tank
Bench Press keep 1 – 2 Reps in the Tank
Military Press keep  1 – 2 Reps in the Tank
Isolation and Arm Exercises you can go to failure once per workout per muscle

How to Prioritise – This is quick and simple. List out all of the muscles, movements or qualities you train then prioritise them with a 1, 2 or 3 into what you need to do the most (note: not what you WANT). Put all of the 1’s in first because they are your greatest priority, then the 2’s then slide the 3’s in where they can go. You can’t improve everything all the time so it’s best to bring up 2 or 3 areas at one time, then move them to a maintenance phase and bring something else up and so on.

Phase 1

Hip Dominant with a priority score of 1 so a frequency of 3 – 4/week
Quad Dominant with a priority score of 2 so a frequency of 2 – 3/week
Horizontal Press with a priority score of 2 so a frequency of 2 – 3/week
Vertical Press with a priority score of 3 so a frequency 1 – 2/week
Horizontal Pull with a priority score of 1 so a frequency of 3 – 4/week
Vertical Pull with a priority score of 2 so a frequency of 2 - 3/week
Core with a priority score of 1 so a frequency of 3 – 4/week

Phase 2

Hip Dominant with a priority score of 2 so a frequency of 2 - 3/week
Quad Dominant with a priority score of 1 so a frequency of 3 - 4/week
Horizontal Press with a priority score of 3 so a frequency of 1 - 2/week
Vertical Press with a priority score of 2 so a frequency 2 - 3/week
Horizontal Pull with a priority score of 1 so a frequency of 3 – 4/week
Vertical Pull with a priority score of 1 so a frequency of 3 - 4/week
Core with a priority score of 2 so a frequency of 2 - 3/week

Bringing Up a Lagging Bodypart – it’s sad to see but there’s still plenty of gym goers and even PT’s that use bodypart splits and I don’t know why. Unless the goal is bodybuilding then it makes no sense. Do biceps require the same amount of training time and rest as the quads? I wouldn’t have thought so. Bodypart splits aren’t the end of the world and really if you can’t get by on an upper/lower split at the most, then you’re doing it wrong and all that those entire specific muscle days end up doing is building up more fatigue from all the endless sets of shitty exercises you do to fill in each session. That being said you’ve got to be flexible with your split or even you’re days.

If you need want to bring up your chest (a novice idea, hey?) then increasing from 20 sets in your Monday workout to 25 sets probably won’t get the job done because if you’ve already done 20 sets, and close to 200 reps then you’re flogging a dead horse. What you need to do is train chest more often which makes perfect sense because now you can let it rest. Recuperate then hit it hard again in 3 to 4 days time. This will allow a greater weight to be used and yes I do know that it’s not all about the weight you use in the quest to get big, but rather the tension you can achieve, a db bench press performed with perfect tension at 50kgs will increase a muscle far more then the same thing done at 40kgs. It’s not going to interrupt your sleep if you have to do 5 – 10mins of extra chest work on your leg day (by the way are you doing one of those?).

Multiple Stress Angles – if you are going to go the bodypart split, although I’ve talked you out of it, then think long and hard about how you stress whatever muscle you’re working. So for a bicep day you might do bb curls, db curls and preacher curls but what is the difference between each exercise? You can only flex the elbow one way so you need to alter this a little. Mix up your types of contractions through your workout and/or your training week for optimal gains.

Here's a short list of different ways to do a bicep curl and a sample exercise for each:

Free Weights - DB / BB Curl
Cables - 1 Arm / 2 Arm Curl
Bands - 1 Arm / 2 Arm Curl
Eccentric Focus - 5 – 10sec Eccentric Contraction
Isometric Focus - 3 – 5sec Isometric Contraction
Concentric Focus - Explosive Concentric Contraction
Fast Tempo - Speed Reps Chad Waterbury Style
Stretch Position - DB Incline Curl
Contracted Position - High Cable Curl

Programming Movement Patterns - much like bodypart splits, determining your exercise selection by muscle groups also doesn’t make much sense, mainly because it overlaps into using other muscles that you don’t intend to hit with a “tricep” exercise. What ends up happening here is that your accessory muscles actually end up doing more work than they can recover from.

Below shows the muscle being trained, the exercise being used, the sets and rep scheme for each exercise, the total volume for each exercise and lastly the accessory muscles used for each exercise.

Chest: Bench Press 3 x 10 = 30 Reps (Triceps)
Chest: Incline Press 3 x 10 = 30 Reps (Triceps)
Chest: Crossovers 3 x 20 = 60 Reps (Anterior Deltoids)
Triceps: Skullcrushers 3 x 12 = 36 Reps
Triceps: Pushdowns 3 x 15 = 45 Reps

In the table above chest is the main focus of the session which receives 120 total reps for the session. If we take our attention to the tricep exercises it has a total volume of 101 for its own specific exercises. This is not a true indication because if you look at the accessory muscles used in the chest exercises, 2 of them involve the triceps so now you have another 60 reps for triceps for a rep total of 161 and your chest day has really turned into a tricep day.

A better idea is to program your exercises to train movement patterns.

Hip Dominant - Deadlift Variations
Quad Dominant - Squat Variations
Single Leg - Step Up / Lunge Variations
Horizontal Push - Bench Press / Push Up Variations
Horizontal Pull - Rowing Variations
Vertical Push - Military Press Variations
Vertical Pull - Chin / Pull Up / Pulldown Variations
Glute Activation - Isolated Hip Extension Variations
Scapula Stability - Push Up / Horizontal Pull / Horizontal Pull Variations
Core Stabilisation - Prone Position Exercises
Core Anti Rotation - Pallof Press Variations
Core Anti Extension - Roll Out Variations
Upper / Mid Back - Face Pulls / Shrug Variations

Learn the Difference Between Fatigue and Intensity – these are nowhere near the same thing. Intensity refers to the load you’re using in accordance with your repetition maximum. Fatigue is the breakdown of the muscle and it’s energy reserves during training. Do not confuse the two although most do. Some will say “I increased the intensity today by running for an extra 5mins” or “I increased intensity by dropping the wt and doing more reps” which is not correct. They induced a lot more fatigue but at a lower intensity. To increase the intensity of your workouts you need to increase the weight you lift or the amount of times you lift a specific weight over time. For cardio you need to do more work in the same amount of time or the same amount of work in less time. Yes you will get more fatigued doing both of these, but above all you’ll have increased your intensity and work output, thus the demands on the body and all of a sudden you’ve sparked some new muscle growth or fat loss.

Program Balance (or Imbalance) – as a shift in program design towards “functional” training (I hate that term) the concepts of equalling up push and pull movements for the upper and lower body has been popular. Unfortunately not many people have moved with the times and progressed in that time. When you take a closer look at it simply doing 2 exercises for push and then 2 for pull doesn’t add up most of the time either. You need to take into account total volume (sets x reps) and total load (load x reps).

Old Option Exercise Total Volume / Load Training Total
Push Bench Press 3 x 10 @ 80kgs = 2400kgs total training load
Push Incline Bench Press 3 x 10 @ 60kgs = 1800kgs total training load so 4200kgs for chest

Pull Bent Row 3 x 10 @ 40kgs = 1200kgs total training load
Pull Rear Delt Raise 3 x 15 @ 10kgs = 450kgs total training load so 1650kgs for back

As you can see, when you take a closer look at the entirety of what’s going on you’ll see that you’re actually doing almost 3 x push training then pull training. For 99% of us out there we actually need less push then pull because of our already kyphotic postures so this is not going to work. If you are imbalanced then you’ll need an imbalanced program, not a balanced one because even if we still get our pull training up to the 4200kgs that push is, you’ll have evened up the immediate training effect, but you will not have gotten on top of your past training mishaps. So you might need something like this:

Push Bench Press 3 x 10 @ 80kgs = 2400kgs total training load
Push Incline Bench Press 3 x 10 @ 60kgs = 1800kgs total training load so 4200kgs for chest

Pull Bent Row 3 x 10 @ 40kgs = 1200kgs total training load
Pull Rear Delt Raise 3 x 15 @ 10kgs = 450kgs total training load
Pull DB Chest Supported Row 3 x 10 @ 20kgs = 600kgs total training load
Pull Seated Row 3 x 10 @ 80kgs = 2400kgs total training load
Pull Cable Scarecrow 3 x 15 @ 30kgs = 1350kgs total training load so 6000kgs for back

So with this new set up you can now start to beat that kyphosis down and straighten yourself a bit. Another tid bit is that lat pulldowns do not even out kyphosis as they attach on the humerus so they are actually internal rotators which will exacerbate your kyphosis, not remedy it so if they are somewhere in the program then you’ll need even more correct pull work (external rotation).

Warm Up Properly – the pyramid system has been around almost as long as the pyramids themselves and usually involved something like a set of 15, 12, 10, 8 then a top set of 6 or so which is fine except you’ve already done 45 reps before reaching your money set and most gym goers go far too hard during their warm ups so if you’re aiming for a top set of 6 reps, try warming up with 6 reps or less, there’s no real need to go higher unless you’re top end set if 3 or less.

For a top end set of 3 or less reps then do warm up sets of 5,4, 3 and 3
For a top end set of 4 - 6 reps then do warm up sets of 6,5 and 4
For a top end set of 7 - 10 reps then do warm up sets of 5,5, and 5
For a top end set of 10 or more reps then do warm up sets of 8 and 8

Also for the benefit of your joints it’s definitely a wise move to use some myofascial release via a tennis and foam roller as well as some joint mobilisation and muscle activation for the muscles you’re about to train for that session as well anything that causes you issues (daily).

Match Exercises with Sets and Reps – there is no actual rule to this but generally some exercises fit better rep ranges then others. Taking deadlifts for example, it puts the body under the most stress out of any exercise you can do in the gym just about so you don’t want to be building up a lot fatigue from doing 100 reps (10 x 10 anyone?) of them first up in your workout then having to try and function afterwards. A good way to go is to use deadlifts in a traditional strength sense then use a less demanding exercise that trains the same muscles as your hypertrophy builder.

Hip Hinge Strength - Deadlifts / Hypertrophy - Romanian Deadlifts, Hip Thrusts
Quad Dominant Strength - Back Squats Front Squats / Hypertrophy - Single Leg Variations, Goblet Squats
Horizontal Push Strength - Bench Press / Hypertrophy - DB Bench Press Variations, Push Ups, Dips
Horizontal Pull Strength -Bent Row / Hypertrophy - DB Row, Cable Row, 1 Arm Row Variations, Inverted Rows
Vertical Push Strength -Military Press / Hypertrophy - DB Military Press Variations, 1 Arm Press Variations
Vertical Pull Strength -Weighted Chin Ups, Weighted Pull Ups / Hypertrophy - Chin Ups, Pull Ups, Lat Pulldowns

How to Design a Program Template – Shit I love templates, I really do. They just make stuff easy and time efficient and you’ll never really need to stray much from it once you tweaked it enough to suit your training, just plug the exercises in off you go. Now that you have all of this juicy information I’ve given you your very own template should be well on its way. If you’re still a bit confused then try this step by step process which involves a few things that we’ve already touched on.

1. Choose your main goal (priority 1)
2. Choose what total volume will achieve that goal (strength, hypertrophy, endurance etc)
3. Choose what sets and reps your total volume will be broken up into
4. Choose what exercise will be of the most benefit

No, you don’t choose exercises first because an exercise doesn’t provide the training effect, the loading and volume of it does.

So that's it for the "Your Program Sucks" series. There's a fair bit in all of this (5000+ words I think) so if you need to read some it s few times to really "get it" then do so and as always shoot me through any questions you have on any of this.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Your Program Sucks Part 3 - Exercise Selection

Mixing It Up is a Shit Idea – if muscle mags have taught us anything it’s how to not make any progress so we’ll keep buying them and one thing they always say is this. When you mix it up all the time you’ll get nowhere (unless you’re getting “assistance”, then it doesn’t matter what you do).

When you start a new exercise you’ll see a pretty rapid increase in strength which is your nervous system learning the movement and becoming more efficient at it. Now what people get disappointed at is that they may have increased the weight for 6 weeks in a row but I’m not seeing any size gains yet so they’ll do something else instead. In fact you are now about to hit the getting big part which is what you’re training for in the first place (I assume). Once the nervous system recognises ever increasing stress put on a muscle and it realises that it can’t handle all of that stress at it’s current size, only then will it give the OK for the muscle to increase in size. Unfortunately you’ve now swapped those squats for leg extensions and you still look like needle leg man.

Justification – the most important factor in your exercise selection is the justification of using that
particular exercise. The questions you need to ask are:

• Does this exercise fit the client?
• Can the client perform it safely and correctly?
• Can I get the same outcome with another exercise?
• How can I modify the exercise the client?

I love deadlifts and I have all my clients do them but I also have 5 or 6 variations in my arsenal because not everyone can pull 100kgs from the floor. By modifying the height that you have your clients lift from, they too can perform deadlifts and get most of the benefits of them. In the end I’m training a hip hinge, not a deadlift so it doesn’t matter what variation I go with so long as it teaches the client to hip hinge correctly.

By the way those deadlifts where you start standing like a romanian deadlift but you simply drop your knees forwards keeping your torso upright are moronic. Get a better teacher, preferably not the one from your 6 week PT course.

Weak to Strong Exercise Progression – I have a progression for each movement pattern pretty much set in stone that I follow with my clients of which I will go into detail about in the next few points. I don’t really like trisets in the way they are performed traditionally. Just throwing 3 or 4 exercises together because they train the same muscle is a little haphazard for me so good way to go is to use exercises that train the same movement pattern but order them in the order of mechanical advantage. What I mean is that some variations of the same movement pattern are easier and allow for more weight to be used than others. So you would start your tri or giant set with the hardest variation and finish with the easiest.

For the lower body a hip hinge would look like this - single leg deadlift, romanian deadlift, sumo deadlift, rack pull

For the upper body a shoulder press would look like this - db military press, 2 db military press, 2 db push press, 1 arm db military press, 1 arm db push press

Regression / Progression – when plugging in your exercises for your programs, it is crucial that you also have a regression and a progression for your staple exercise in case you need it, especially when training small groups as not everyone will have equal abilities.

For a floor push up your regression would be to elevate the hands to decrease the amount of bodyweight required to lift and a progression would be to elevate the feet which increases the bodyweight you're required to lift against a regular floor push up.

For an inverted row your regression be similar to the push up where you'd have a higher setting for the bar or handles and a lower setting for a progression so you're almost lying flat against the floor.

For the deadlift your staple lift is from the floor with your regression being pulling from a mid shin to knee height setting in a squat rack to progressing to deficit deadlifts where you stand on a 2 - 3" platform to increase the range of motion you lift over.

Lastly for splits squats you'd progress to step ups as they require no eccentric contraction and progress to bulgarian split squats.

Progressing Exercises through Increasing Stability / Leverage Demands – Please do not think that this involves bosu balls or dura discs because I’d rather plant my own DNA at a scene of a crime then have people stand on them while they juggle puppies. What I refer to when I say increase stability demands is to actually stability adding in a dynamic component. This works best with single leg training and core training.

For single leg the progression would go step ups, split squats, reverse lunges, walking lunge and dynamic lunges.

For lumbar stabilisation you'd use a stability hold, add on hand taps, add on toe taps, add on a lateral shuffle and then repeat the sequence through from a push up position.

Exercise Selection and Rep Range Relationship – I believe that certain exercises suit specific rep ranges, not all of them, but most of them. Let’s take a single leg exercise for example. I bet we’ve all seen a lunge prescribed in a program for something 4 x 15 reps each leg with a 211 tempo with 90secs rest between sets. It pretty much looks like we’ve got all bases covered there but let’s look a bit closer. At 15 reps per leg, or 30 in total, at a tempo that works out to be 4 seconds per rep. This means that each set will take 2 minutes to complete. If you couple that with 90secs rest and the entire exercise will take over 10 minutes of training time. A client paying big money probably doesn’t want 15% of their hour dedicated to lunges and nor should they. Taking into account the aerobic capacity needed to perform a decent set of lunges and the muscular endurance required to maintain form during the entire set also means that anything over 8 reps is probably not the way to go. 

I don’t do anything over 8 reps for deadlifts and will very rarely go over 5 reps per set. If I want a hypertrophy effect then I’ll move to a hip thrust or single leg variation for extra volume. For squats I’ll do the same, low reps for the squats and higher reps for a single leg variation. For bench and military press we’d do the traditional exercise for low reps and then a db or bodyweight exercise for higher reps. Above all it’s just safe practice. So use the staple exercise for a movement pattern for low reps as it will let you load it up the most and then use an easier variation for higher reps.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Your Program Sucks Part 2 – Rep Selection

Rep Goal - Set a rep total with a specific load to suit your goal and do as many sets as you need to reach it more so then ‘I have to get 3 sets of 3 or I’ll die in my sleep tonight” even though the last set
had your spleen shooting out the sides of your undies.

Strength: 5 - 15 Reps Per Exercise/Movement
Hypertrophy: 25 - 50 Reps Per Exercise/Movement

Density Training Charles Staley Style – by either setting up a circuit, a pairing or however you want to do it, you have 2 options. Option 1 is that you can do the same amount of work in less time each successive workout, or you can go with option 2 which is to do more work in the same amount of time each successive workout. I use these with my clients all the time because it ensures that eventually, they’ll train as hard as I want them to.

Option 1
Exercises + Reps/Sets - Jump Squats 3 x 10 / Push Ups 3 x 12 / Inverted Rows 3 x 15 / Prowler Sprints 3 x up and back

Week 1 - 4min35secs
Week 2 - 4mins 07secs
Week 3 - 3mins53secs
Week 4 - 3mins 46secs

In option 2, you would set the stop watch for a time limit that stays the same each week. You pop some exercises at the start and that also stays the same. The kicker exercise is the last one, in this case the prowler. Everything else stays the same so it’s all about getting further with the prowler each successive workout.

Option 2
Exercises + Sets / Reps -  Jump Squats 2 x 10 / Push Ups 2 x 10 / Inverted Rows 2 x 10 / Prowler Sprints x Max 3 laps

Week 1 - 3 Laps
Week 2 - 3.5 Laps
Week 3 - 4 Laps
Week 4 - 4.5 Laps

Alternatively you can go the traditional route and just pair 2 exercises together and use either option

Exercise Progression Rate – some exercises will progress for weeks, months or in the case of deadlifts and squats, maybe years. Other exercises, especially light weight exercises like side and rear delt exercises will have about 4 weeks of progression through increasing weight and an increase in reps can often mean a decrease in technique which for small muscles is crucial. In this you can do 2 weeks of the same weight, sets and reps before increasing anything. Then come week 3 you can change what you want but only make it 1 variable so that you get a longer progression period.

So a Side Lateral Raise might look like this:

Week 1 - 3 x 10 @ 10kgs 
Week 2 - 3 x 10 @ 10kgs 
Week 3 - 3 x 12 @ 10kgs 
Week 4 - 3 x 12 @ 10kgs 
Week 5 - 3 x 10 @ 12.5kgs

And just to show how a different exercise, in this case a Rear Delt Raise, can be progressed using the same principles but with a different method:

Week 1 - 3 x 10 @ 5kgs 
Week 2 - 3 x 10 @ 5kgs 
Week 3 - 3 x 8 @ 7.5kgs 
Week 4 - 3 x 8 @ 7.5kgs 
Week 5 - 3 x 10 @ 7.5kgs

Rep Speed Chad Waterbury Style – piggy backing off the rep goal point above, this takes a step further where set your rep goal and the weight you’ll use but then you will stop each set once your rep speed slows down from 1 rep to the next which enables to recruit the high threshold motor units without killing yourself with a load of 85% or higher every time you train (although I do!!). This ensures that your successive sets are as good as your first so you’ll have a focus on quality, not quantity, of training.

Sets for Time – not a huge of fan of how this is traditionally done like do push ups for a minute, rest and do them again. A better way to go is to count how many reps you do in your given time frame and try and beat it each week. You can go the other way and time how long it takes to do say 8 reps with a progressive weight each week but then you’ll need a stop watch and gets a little nitpicky (and I’m nitpicky enough already).

Don't forget the Aussie Rules Training Pre Season Training program to be released in the week or 2, more information here.

And only 73 more view til 35,000!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Aussie Rules Training Pre Season Program 2012/13

I’m not going to try and sell this to you with great pictures, graphs, big bold text and guarantees.

This is a 16 – 20 Week Aussie Rules Football Pre Season Program.

It can be used within a team setting (it’s the exact program I’ll be using for my own football team), a small group of mates or individually.

The program consists of training programs (with videos) specifically for:
  •  Warming Up
  • Sprinting
  • Sprint Races
  • Repeated Sprinting
  • Agility
  • Tempo Running
  • Speed Endurance

This is not your 1 dimensional “running the Tan” fitness program. It is comprehensible to all facets of “footy fitness” so you’re just the quick player with no tank, or the slow, all day runner with no explosiveness, this will help you become a complete player.

For good measure I’ve also included some other drills and idea’s that you can put into your pre season training program.

Please share the shit of this post and in return I’ll give away 3 copies of the program to 3 lucky “sharees”.

It will be available in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime look out for the second installment of the “Your Program Sucks” series coming in the next few days.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Your Program Sucks Part 1

Sorry to break it to you but it’s the truth. Those 3 sets of 10 you’re still doing should be sporting the porn ‘stach from the era of which it came from.

Doing max set after max set should be thrown back into the Lance Armstrong’s closet with his performance enhancing drugs, such as the ability for everyday gym goers to recover from this type of training.

I’m not a powerlifter, I am not a bodybuilder, I do not do Crossfit, I do not do kettlebells and I don’t follow a nutrition plan. In fact I’ve been a big program hopper in the past in the quest to find what’s good, what’s shit, and what needs to be refined from shit to good.

Load Selection

Max Effort Joe Defranco Style - Set a baseline (3 rep max, 5 rep max etc) and beat each week.

Week 1 x 3 Rep Max - 100kgs
Week 2 x 3 Rep Max - 105kgs
Week 3 x 3 Rep Max - 110kgs
Week 4 x 3 Rep Max - 115kgs

Max Effort and Repetition Method Combo - set a baseline on week 1 (3 rep max) and get more reps with the same weight in week 2 then aim for a higher 3 rep max in week 3.

Week 1 - 100kgs x 3 Reps
Week 2 - 100kgs x 5 Reps
Week 3 - 105kgs x 3 Reps
Week 4 - 105kgs x 5 Reps

Auto Regulation / Perfect Rep Christian Thibadeau Style – this method involves focusing on quality work more so then total volume of work. You’d have a rep number in mind (for example 3) and you’d work in sets with progressive weight until you reach a set that visibly different then the last. When I say visibly different I mean a change in technique or rep speed so you won’t just increase the weight of your top set each week as some days you feel good and some days you don’t. The point is to push the good days for all their worth and get the minimal amount of work in on the days you don’t. A s a rule of thumb you’ll improve 6 times out of 10, equal your best 2 times out of 10 and finish below your best 2 times out of ten.

Week 1 x 3 Rep Max x 100kgs
Week 2 x 3 Rep Max x 102.5kgs
Week 3 x 3 Rep Max x 95kgs (not enough sleep)
Week 4 x 3 Rep Max x 105kgs

Sub Maximal Training Jim Wendler Style – refers to using sub maximal loads with specific percentages to improve maximal strength. It is also low volume so is great for those who don’t have a lot of time or have a shitty time recovering from moderate to high volume training.

Week Sets / Reps Load
Week 1 do 3 x 5 (last set is for max reps) 65%, 75%, 85%
Week 2 do 3 x 3 (last set is for max reps) 70%, 80%, 90%
Week 3 do 1 x 5, 3, 1 (last set is for max reps) 75%, 85%, 95%
Week 4 do 3 x 5 40%, 50%, 60%

Another way to train with sub maximal weights is to use Prilepin’s Chart where you progressively make your way through the chart. Whether you use the optimal, low end or high end of the rep range will be determined on what your weakness is.

55 – 65% of 1 Rep Max...Optimal Sets/Reps Per Exercise 3 - 6 Per Exercise...Total Rep Range Per Exercise 18 - 30...Optimal Reps Per Exercise 24

70 - 80% of 1 Rep Max...Optimal Sets/Reps Per Exercise 3 - 6...Total Rep Range Per Exercise 16 - 24...Optimal Reps Per Exercise 20

80 - 90% of 1 Rep Max...Optimal Sets/Reps Per Exercise 2 - 4...Total Rep Range Per Exercise 10 - 20...Optimal Reps Per Exercise 15

90%+ of 1 Rep Max...Optimal Sets/Reps Per Exercise 1 - 2...Total Rep Range Per Exercise 4...Optimal Reps Per Exercise 4

Biofeedback – this refers to performing a singular or series of test pre workout to find out what kind of state your nervous system is in which can then dictate how hard you should go during your session. You can start as soon as you wake up and take your resting heart rate and once you’ve found your baseline figure (i.e. your resting heart rate) then if your initial heart rate is 10% higher than your RHR then it’s time for a deload there and then but if it’s 15% higher or more then take the day off as you’ll simply dig your recovery hole too deep to get out of. Pre workout you can try a stand long jump for distance or a standing vertical jump for height and use the same percentages to determine your workout for the day.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Acing the AFL Combine: Repeated Sprint Test

This Repeated Sprint Test is the last in the Acing the AFL Combine series. It is a measure of speed endurance where you run 6 x 30 meter sprints every 20 seconds so the total test runs for 2 minutes. If you run your first set in 5 seconds then you have 15 seconds before your second set starts.

After all 6 sets of 30 meters are completed then all 6 times are added together and that is your score.

Training for the Repeated Sprint test overlaps with the 20 meter sprint because if you excel over 20 meters then you'll get more rest between your sets even if it is only a second or two but the challenge is to be able to back your fastest time up again and again so being the quickest doesn't necessarily mean you'll have the best time in this test but you would have the potential to be though if you actually train for it.

So you'd actually "train the test" in this regard for the most part but with a few modifications and I'd break it up into 2 phases.

For phase 1 I would have 8 intervals instead of 6 to give you a bit of a mental edge come testing time and I would also use a descending starting time too.

Week 1 - Every 25 seconds
Week 2 - Every 23 seconds
Week 3 - Every 21 seconds
Week 4 - Every 19 seconds

For phase 2 I would decrease to the actual testing 6 sets but again use a descending starting time.

Week 1 - Every 19 seconds
Week 2 - Every 19 seconds (beat last week)
Week 3 - Every 17 seconds
Week 4 - Every 17 seconds (beat last week)

If you can get a score close to the elite (23.59 seconds is the record by Chris Kangas) then you'll blow it out of the water when you test with 3 extra seconds per set.

So that's it for the Acing the AFL Combine series and if you have any questions on any of them or any idea's for content then let me know.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Acing The AFL Combine: The Beep Test

Before I start let it be known that I have not performed a beep test for near on 10 years and I don't look like I'm going to do one anytime soon. In comparison I have lived in Melbourne for over 7 years and only just ran my first lap of the Tan in March of this year. Again I don;t see myself doing another one anytime soon.

Even though the beep test has minimal carryover or relevance to an actual game of footy, it is still a popular test used by local football clubs and obviously the AFL Combine.

Why do they use it if it's not relevant?

Hard to say really but what it does allow is to test multiple players at one time and it is easily measurable with minimal outside variables besides surface.

There's not much to improving this but going out and doing the work, so here's what to do:

Step 1 - Perform the test as normal

Step 2 - Note where you finish, especially the level (what else would you do though?)

Each level goes for approximately 62 seconds so we'll use that as our baseline figure to run for.

The different levels also have a different amount of beeps but the gap between each beep decreases as you progress.

Levels 6  and 7 has 10 Beeps

Levels 8, 9 and 10 has 11 Beeps

Levels 11 and 12 has 12 Beeps

Levels 13, 14 and 15 have 13 Beeps

What you want to do is train the level you finish on, well for the most part.

If you finish in the first beeps of a level then train the level before it because it's the energy expended running that one that finished you off more so then the higher level where you only got a few beeps in.

Step 3 - Set your timer and run the test like you would but without doing the rest of the test, do this part fresh. Simply run up and down the 20 meters up and back using one of 2 methods.

For example lets say you failed on the 9th beep of 12th level you would do either of these options:

Method 1 - Set your timer for 62 seconds (or time level 12 in it;'s entirety to get a specific time to run for) and see how many up and backs you can do in that time, hopefully increasing it over time.


Method 2 - see how quickly you can perform 12 up and backs, hopefully getting further each time.

What this will do is provide you with mental toughness once you reach your hardest levels and it may also provide you with a little extra kick once you reach your previously failed level.

I have heard of some clubs performing the test from a different starting level so you could also do that in a fresh state if you can determine what level starts to feel a little difficult.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Acing The Combine: 20 Meter Agility Test

There's quite a few different agility tests used for different sports but the AFL uses this one in the Combine seen in the video at this link at the 2 minute mark:

Any agility has a moderate requirement for foot quickness but a huge requirement for strength, making it very similar to training for the 20 Meter Sprint. You will quite often the see the same names in the top 10 of the agility and 20 meter sprint tests which shows that they possess the same qualities.

Foot Quickness

We've probably all seen agility ladders or rope ladders at one time or another and they are instantly thought of when players think of agility training. Let me gibe the heads up, these ladders do nothing for agility.

Getting faster at the agility ladder means exactly that, getting faster at the agility ladder but there is no ladder in the test, and definitely no ladder on the playing arena.

Here is a video I whipped off Youtube showing a shit load of these "apparent" agility increasing drills:

Now have a look at the foot movements and joint angles in these drills. When do you ever take such little steps on the football field? 


This is why they will not improve your agility.

Eccentric Strength

Now we're getting to the good stuff. My training for this off season is focusing a lot on eccentric, isometric and concentric strength, where as most programs simply focus on the concentric portion.

What this allows you to be able to do is to decelerate your body when going into a turn. The quicker, and thus less steps you can take into a turn, the better. You'll still to perform a few of those small shuffle steps, but if I only need to take 3 of them and you need to take 5 of them, then I'm going to be doing each turn quicker then you, no doubt.

In the next 2 videos you'll see my training partner Rob do his 20m agility test and then mine. It is a different test then the AFL one but watch the difference in the turns:

So eccentric strength is required to slow down the quickest.

Isometric Strength

Going into a turn, there is actually a very quick isometric contraction where you have fully decelerated your body and are about to move in the opposite direction.

You now have to overcome your bodyweight like the start of the 20m sprint but you also need to overcome your momentum as well.

Again, if we have the same eccentric strength but I have the greater isometric strength then again I will be quicker at each turn because I'll be generating acceleration while your still stabilising yourself from deceleration.

Concentric Strength

This is the acceleration component of the agility run where you come out from each turn and is what traditional gym weight exercises like squats and deadlifts enhance.

One important thing that most trainers don;t know is that the more force you can put in then the more force you can put out. This makes eccentric strength very, very important.

Think of a rubber band, the further you pull it back, the further it flys once you let it go.

So to enhance your agility then basically train the same as the 20 meter sprint - heavy back squats but also include some eccentric and isometric work in with them as well at heavy, moderate and lighter loads.


The one and only technique tip you'll need for this is to stay low by dropping the hips, especially during the turns. When you accelerate out of the turns yo still want to stay low as it puts you in a far better position to decelerate then when standing up tall. This is why shorter players will have the wood over taller players, as their center of mass is closer to the ground.

So ditch those shitty agility ladders and hit the squats!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Acing The AFL Combine: Vertical Leap Test

The vertical leap test, rather then being specific to anything actually required to play Aussie Rules, is a measure of lower body explosiveness and is probably the penultimate explosiveness test as you can't really cheat during the test and it is extremely easy to implement so it's testing power at it's rawest.

Though not as technically heavy as the 20 meter sprint, it is more a product of your gym work. It requires both great relative strength as like the 20 meter sprint, you've got to overcome your own bodyweight from a stop start.

There are basically 3 components to training the vertical leap test.


Squatting is as specific as it gets to the vertical leap. Whether you use front squats or back squats it doesn't really matter and most will need to assess what variation is best for their body type and restrictions.

You'll want to lift in the 3 - 5 rep range, eventually progressing to some work win the 1 - 3 rep range for specific periods of time with use of singles, doubles and cluster sets.

Jumps / Plyometrics

Plyometrics is a pretty broad term and really anything that is used to produce fast and powerful movements. In my opinion they are poorly implemented in most routines that I see people have made up for themselves by either doing too much, too much too soon or their placement in the program. Sprinting is the greatest plyometric exercise there is but players insist on adding various jumps on top of all the sprinting we do at training and in a game not realising that they already have it covered in their training.

Obviously for the vertical leap test you want jumping plyometric exercises which is why I class them as jumps and plyometrics.

Jump squat variations is a sure bet here but be sure to use no more 30% of your squat max with the lower your squat max is, the less load, and possible none, will be used for jump squats.

That being said you can actually train the test here so definitely include vertical jumps in your training to enhance your vertical leap.

Making each squat and jump attempt should be followed by complete rest so that each rep is performed in as fresh a state as possible, just like in a testing situation.


There are 2 main things to consider with technique and that is the starting position and ammortisation phase.
For the starting position rise up onto your toes and raise your arms above your head. As you descend into your jump powerfully swing your arms down by your sides then as you jump up, powerfully swing them back up over your head.

The ammortisation phase is the transition phase from the eccentric contraction during the descent to the concentric contraction during the jump. What is important here is how low you drop the hips because if you go too low then you'll lose potential jumping output and if you don't drop far enough then cut off the vital eccentric contraction and it will inhibit how much jumping output you can put out.

Practice will make perfect here and also the use of a camera so you can study what length of eccentric contraction works best for your body type.

As you can see, training for the vertical leap and 20 meter sprint are very similar and really, training one will have a positive effect on the other but you so you can train squats the same for both but you'll need to mix around the types of plyometric exercises that you use.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Acing The AFL Combine: 20 Meter Sprint

The AFL Combine is on right now in Melbourne so I'll touch on a few of these tests and give some pointers on how to improve your results, starting with the 20 Meter Sprint.

I have touched on increasing acceleration and speed many times in this blog but the 20 Meter Sprint is a specific test with a start and an ending so it there is specific training you can do for it that is not as necessary for basic speed training for Aussie Rules Football.

Some interesting knowledge bombs about the 20 Meter Sprint are:

  • you should be able to cover the first 10 meters in no more than 7 steps
  • the most improvement in a sprint will be made through improving your front and backside mechanics over the first 10 meters
  • it is a test of pure acceleration which is a very under trained strength quality in all Aussie Rules players and it can be the difference between a forward taking a mark and you getting a fist in to spoil at the end of the game and vice versa of which I discuss here.
Here are the different stages of the test and how you can improve on them.

Starting Position

I'm not sure of the rules for the starting position but the test is performed from a standing start (where the US uses a 3 point start) so I assume that is mandatory.

The positioning of your start will dictate the entire test so it's critical that you get it right!!

Step 1 - Get the feet in the right position so to do so toe the line the line with your lead foot. If you don't know which foot is your lead foot then you'll pretty much automatically place it in front without even thinking about it. You can also try a start with each foot starting in front and then you'll definitely know.

Step 2 - For the back leg toe the heel of your lead leg then drag your back leg across to directly under your hip and that is your stance width.

Step 3 - Move into a positive shin angle which means you want the knee of your lead foot a little further in front than your ankle and the back leg at about a 75 degree angle.

Step 4 - At this stage you should be in an "athletic stance" as we call it in the game with your hips hinged back behind you and a forward lean of the torso of about 45 degrees.

Step 5 - Lastly position your back leg arm in front and your lead leg arm back behind you in your 'back pocket"

1st Step

This is what will just about make or break you. In such a short test just one mistake can result in an excellent test or a failed test.

Step 1 - Take a deep breathe in as you explode out.

Step 2 - Drive your lead leg into the ground and propel your body forward with your lead leg going through full range of motion hip extension, reaching triple extension at the toe off position.

Step 3 - Drive your lead arm back into your hip pocket and drive the opposite arm forward like a march. Keep your elbow stiff at 90 degrees but also keep the arms relaxed.

Step 4 - Punch your back leg forward with a high knee essentially stepping up and then driving down with your ankle in dorsi flexion (pulled up to your knee) aiming to hit the ground directly under your hips. You might be tempted to try and do the longest step you can but making ground contact outside of your center of mass will result in you actually slowing down as you'll be braking like trying to run fast down a steep hill.



Step 1 - For the first 7 - 8 meters stay relatively low then in the second 10 - 12 meters become upright.

Step 2 - Don't try and run like the wind, rather let the momentum built in the first 10 meters of acceleration take the last 10 meters.

Step 3 - Sprint through the line, don't lunge for it.

Step 4 - Stay relaxed as a tense muscle cannot contract as fast as relaxed one so don't clench and grit your teeth but maybe stay away from being as relaxed as Shirvo used to get.

For my regular readers you will know that I am huge fan of training acceleration but for my newer readers here's some past posts on ways to improve your 20 meter sprint:

Make Hip Extension Your Dominant Action

This Is How To Get Faster

Need Speed? Do This - NOW!!