Thursday, August 30, 2012

Off Season Training Camp Spots Open

So we had our last game and after a 3 day bender and another 3 days of not quite being fully there, it's time to get started for next season.

Again I'll be holding the Off Season Training Camp in my South Yarra studio.

We'll follow a different format this season than last year, but with our main focus still being to improve acceleration, speed and to strengthen and condition the body to avoid injuries next season.

While just shy of turning 34, I played every game but 1 this season which I missed through the flu, not injury and they were senior games too.

I have a bunch of blokes from my local footy club booked in for this already but I'll open some spots up to my readers as well.

After an initial foundation program for 2 - 3 weeks depending on how long your season was and how the body is, we'll then move into the main program.

I understand that some teams are still playing finals but if you wanted in you can start at a later date.

Here's what you need to know:

When Does It Start? Monday 3rd September but as I said above, you can start later

Who Is It For? For anyone who wants have the greatest preparation they can have for season 2013.

Where Will It Be Held? Full Circle Fitness located at Level 1 / 308 Toorak Road, South Yarra

What Time? At the moment I have locked in 6pm til 8pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday but if there were a bunch of students or part time workers that can do an am session at around 10 or 1am, that may be an option too. I also might be able to do some other days/times if the demand warrants it.

Cost? $15 per session where you get 6 months of elite programming that will result in you getting faster, stronger and injury resistant for season 2013. Concession card holders will be $12.50.

My regular clients pay $79 bucks to train in my studio so this is nothing short of extreme value and I am also taking time slots away from training these clients.

So if you want in now or either after your finals campaign has ended then let me know ASAP and by Monday September 10th by the absolute latest via email ( or mobile (0411 091 978) with any questions that you have.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Last Game Tomorrow

What a turbulent year we've had down at the Yarra's in season 2012.

Let's start back in November:

  • we had a coach all lined up and even announced it on our website but at the last minute he did a runner to another club for more money and let us know via email - yep great bloke.
  • of our senior team that finished a skeric out of the finals in 2011, we only had 3 returning players for 2012 with some retiring, some changing clubs and some chasing cash
  • on the plus side we completely turned around our average age from 30 to 24 - 25 years old.
  • we only appointed our senior coach in January 2012 so a lack of continuity was always going to be our most major hurdle in 2012
  • suffered some crushing defeats in the first half of the year while we had 30 new players all trying to gel together at the same time - unheard of!!
  • in the middle of the year we started to get it together and after a very encouraging effort against one of the top 3 teams as of right now, we were on the improve but still chasing our first win
  • along comes round 15 and after 14 straight losses, including a 1 point heartbraker 2 weeks earlier, we finally break through for our first win with an inspired 54 point win - great feeling!!
  • we have played 44 - 45 blokes in the seniors this year - again unheard of!!!!
So now it's come to the last game and we;re are starving off relegation to division 3 where we need to win our last game but we are also needing things to go our way in another game % wise.

We have our 2nd strongest team for the year on paper in tomorrow and with absolutely no pressure on us, we are ready to go at it harder then we have so far this year.

Well I am anyway.

So lets hope that the football god's shine on us tomorrow and if we can starve off relegation in the last month of the year with 2 wins and an increase in %, then I tell you what, we will have deserved it!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Evaluating Your Season and Improving for the Next One

Lewis Jetta Lewis Jetta of the Swans kicks at goal during the round 14 AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at ANZ Stadium on June 30, 2012 in Sydney, Australia.

We're at the pointy end of the season now with some us already finishing up, some of us about to start finals and some of us (like me) with a few more home and away games to go.

At the completion of each season comes reflection in regards to what I need to be better at and what do I have to do to make that a reality.

Now let me emphasis just 1 word in that last sentence.


What do you NEED to do to be better next year?

Now what this is usually up against is want.

What do I want to do to get better next year?

This usually results in you doing the same thing you did last year that gave you limited results the first time and you know what they say the definition of insanity is - doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Lewis Jetta has done what he needed to do, not what he wanted to do, to become the an almost certain lock for All Australian this year, after barely getting a full game last year.

Once you have evaluated your 2012 season then it's time to do some goal setting for season 2013.

Actual goal setting is a much underrated process as it not only holds you accountable to your goals, but it can help you keep on track with your training.

You should write them down and say them out aloud. Put them on Facebook for all of your mates to see because if you're not holding yourself accountable, you know they will. Email them to me if you want to.

Now what I see a lot of happening is the wanting to increase each and every aspect of Aussie Rules as you can fit in which is not the way to go. Certain aspects will be further behind in development then others and thus will need far more attention then the things your're naturally and/or already good at.

Look at it this way, if you can run the tan in 15mins will getting your time down to 14:30 really help on the field? Or will that rehabbing that nagging hamstring injury you get each year during acceleration, causing you to miss 2 or 3 games, be a better choice for improvement?

So evaluate all of these things out of 10 (10 being perfect) for season 2012:

  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Endurance
  • Body Composition
  • Agility
  • Injury Resistance
You could add skills and other "field of play" options here like reading the play but that's work to do with your coaching staff rather then something you can do on your own.

Your first port of call is to prioritise what you need which is going to require great honesty. Most blokes will choose something they are already pretty good at but Aussie Rules is a very eclectic game and if you're only good at 1 thing, then that's not enough with the way the game is played now. You need to be versatile.

Now that you know what you need to improve on the most let's follow this to help us in dividing the amount of time and effort we need to really put into each point:

3 - Most Important (emphasis on improvement through specialised phases of training)

2 - Somewhat Important (some importance on improving through some specialised and general training)

1 - Important (low importance of improving and can be maintained or improved through general training)

So let's go back a bit and use our example from above of the player who has nagging hamstrings problems at some point each season.

He may have had an evaluation that looked like this:
  • Strength - 5
  • Speed - 7
  • Endurance - 9
  • Body Composition - 5
  • Agility - 7
  • Injury Resistance - 3
So it's clear to see that he has 3 glaring weaknesses; injury resistance, body composition and strength.

So now your training needs to reflect what you NEED to do.

3 - Most Important (injury resistance, especially the nagging hamstring))

2 - Somewhat Important (body composition and body strength)

1 - Important (everything else)

So you need to rehab that hamstring properly which will include plenty of massage, glute activation, gym strength work and low to high intensity acceleration sprint work, a decrease in body fat and an increase in muscle mass (subjective) from dietary measures and an increase in full body strength from work in the gym.

There's no point trying to improve his endurance which is a strength of his when it;s already at a 9/10 as there is minimal improvement to be made. The most improvements will be seen in what he is worse at, and rapidly if trained correctly.

So with the off season coming around, really have a think about what you NEED rather then what you want. If you can't really justify what you need to "get bigger" (how does getting bigger really improve your game?), then it's probably not a bigger need as you think it is.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Are You Training the Core Correctly?

I wrote this almost 2 years ago for a PT blog site I ran for a short time and thought I had posted it here but it turns I had not so here it is.
Chances are no.

In our interviews, we ask what are the 5 main muscles of the core musculature and in the history of the 9 or so years that the studio has been operating, less than 5 applicants have got all 5 muscles correct. We’ve had muscles answered like the pecs, lats and hamstrings which can be to a degree but they certainly aren’t the main muscles of the core by any stretch. This is an actual situation that present4d itself a couple of years ago in a group interview we held:

Applicant 1: Piriformis

Applicant 2: Piriformis? Really?

Applicant 1: Yep.

Applicant 2: I didn’t know that.

Me in a thought bubble: Wowee, what morons.

So every PT harps on about how important the core muscles are and that we should train them as much as we can but it seems that a lot of us don’t even really know what the it is, let alone how it should be trained.

Well be prepared to be endowed with knowledge.

One of the most prevalent postural problems for society is kyphosis or rounded shoulders. We all should know that this basically comes from tightness of the anterior torso and weakness in the posterior torso. Another thing to think about is that the rectus abdominis insertion is on the ribs and its origin is on the pubis so any tightening of this muscle can, and will, depress the sternum resulting in not only a kyphotic posture, but also possible respiratory problems.

A few years ago I popped a video up on youtube detailing how to properly train the core for AFL football, as part of my site,

Here’s my take on training the core and then a list of the 59 exercises I did on the video.

The primary function of the core musculature is to stabilise the lumbar spine, resisting any forces that attempt to destabilise it. As you go along and advance in your training, it can then act as a transmitter of force generated from the lower body moving up into the upper body (think shot put).


At Full Circle Fitness we do not do any exercises or stretches that rotate the spine. All rotation should come from the hips and the thoracic spine, unless spinal facet damage is the goal of your training session.

The core is more about what it can prevent, than what it can produce, meaning that it can flex the spine. But should it?

It can hyperextend the lumbar spine but should it?

So now we can break up core exercises into categories:

1.       Stabilisation

2.       Anti Rotation

3.       Anti Extension

4.       Anti Lateral Flexion

5.       Anti Flexion

Stabilisation refers to being able to stabilise the lumbar spine during activity such as a stability hold, prone brace or whatever you wanna call it.

Anti Rotation refers to stabilising the lumbar spine against rotation forces such as anything involving a stability hold or push up on either 1 leg or 1 arm. You need to resist the rotation from the 4th lever being lifted off the ground and to keep a neutral spine and avoiding any twisting that may occur.

Anti Extension refers to be able to hold your pelvis in neutral during core exercises such as roll out and prone stability hold positions for the most part.

Anti Lateral Flexion refers to any exercise that uses off set loading where you need to keep your spine straight and avoid tilting to one side.

Anti Flexion refers to be able to stabilise yourself so as not to fall forward such as in a front squat or any exercise where the load is held out in front of you.

Below is the list of all the exercises from the video in order and what core quality they train. Clients love when you can actually tell them what the exercise is doing for them and makes you sound 100 times better than any other PT.

S = Stabilisation

AR = Anti Rotation

AE = Anti Extension

ALF = Anti Lateral Flexion

AF = Anti Flexion

1.       Stability Hold – S, AE

2.       Single Leg Stability Hold – S, AE, AR + Glute Activation

3.       Stability w/ Hand Tap – S, AE, AR + Scapula Stability

4.       Stability Hold w/ Toe Tap – S, AR, AE + Scapula Stability, Thoracic Extension

5.       Stability Hold w/ Rear Delt Raise – S, AR, AE + Scapula Stability

6.       Stability Hold w/ Plate Switch – S, AE, AR

7.       Stability Hold w/ Hip Mobility – S, AE, AR + Hip Mobility

8.       Stability Hold w/ Hip Extension – S, AE, AR + Glute Activation

9.       Stability Hold Core Walk – S, AE, AR + Scapula Stability, Hip Mobility

10.   Stability Hold w/ Thoracic Rotation – S, AE, AR + Thoracic Mobility

11.   Push Up Hold – S, AE

12.   Single Leg Push Up Hold – S, AE, AR + Glute Activation

13.   Push Up Hold w/ Arm Raise – S, AE, AR + Scapula Stability, Thoracic Extension

14.   Push Up Hold w/ Toe Tap – S, AE, AR + Glute Activation

15.   Single Arm Push Up Hold – S, AE, AR + Scapula Stability

16.   Push Up Hold w/ Shoulder Tap – S, AE, AR + Scapula Stability

17.   Swissball Push Up Hold on Hands – S, AE + Scapula Stability

18.   SB Push Up Hold on Feet – S, AE + Scapula Stability

19.   Single Arm Swissball Push Up Hold – S, AE, AR + Scapula Stability

20.   Swissball Roll Outs – S, AE + Scapula Stability

21.   Swissball Push Up Hold w/ Toe Tap – S, AE, AR + Scapula Stability, Glute Activation

22.   Swissball Roll In – S, AE, AF + Scapula Stability

23.   Swissball Circles – S, AE, AR + Scapula Stability

24.   Swissball Lateral Roll – S, AE, AR + Scapula Stability

25.   Alternate Arm and Leg Deadbug - AE

26.   2 Arm Alternate Leg Deadbug - AE

27.   2 Arm 2 Leg Deadbug - AE

28.   Kneeling Pallof Press – AR + Glute Activation

29.   Standing Pallof Press – AR + Glute Activation

30.   Up and Down Pallof Press – AR, AE + Glute Activation

31.   High to Low Cable Chops – AR, AE, ALF

32.   Low to High Cable Chops – AR, AE, ALF

33.   Kneeling Barbell Roll Outs – S, AE

34.   Bilateral Ring Roll Outs – S, AE

35.   Unilateral Ring Roll Outs – S, AE

36.   Rower Roll Outs – S, AE

37.   Rower Body Saw – S, AE

38.   Sliding Roll Outs – S, AE

39.   Sliding Body Saws – S, AE

40.   Side Stability Hold – S, ALF

41.   Side Stability Hold w/ Abduction – S, ALF + Scapula Stability, Glute Activation

42.   Side Stability Hold w/ Sliding Abduction – S, ALF +Scapula Stability, Glute Activation

43.   Side Stability Hold w/ Cable Row – S, ALF, AF, AR + Scapula Stability, Glute Activation

44.   Side Stability Hold w/ Hip Thrust – S, ALF + Scapula Stability

45.   Side Stability Hold w/ Hip Thrust and Rear Delt Raise – S, ALF, AR, AF + Scapula Stability

46.   Side Stability Hold w/ Thoracic Rot – S, AE + Scapula Stability

47.   Prone to Side Stability Hold – S, AE, AR, ALF + Scapula Stability

48.   Bird Dog DB Rows – S, AR, AE, ALF + Scapula Stability, Glute Activation

49.   Single Arm Renegade Row – S, AE, AR + Scapula Stability

50.   Mountain Climbers – S, AE + Scapula Stability

51.   Froggies – S, AE + Scapula Stability

52.   Breakdancers – S, AE + Hip Mobility, Thoracic Mobility

53.   Sliding Shoulder Glider – S, AR, AE + Scapula Stability

54.   Cable Push Pull – S, AE, AR, AF + Scapula Stability

55.   Landmines – S, AE, AR, AF + Glute Activation

56.   Band Pallof Press w/ Side Step – S, AR, AF + Hip Mobility

57.   Dragon Flag - AE

58.   Russian Gymnasts – S, AE, AF + Scapula Stability

59.   Tight Rotations – S, AR, AE

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Warm Up That Works

It can almost be said that your workout or performance is only as good as your preparation because after all, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. That being said, the simple fact that you read this blog means that you are ahead of the rest of your competition. The purpose of a warm up is to generally increase the body's core temperature and prepare it for the upcoming activity. The old days of running a lap and doing a stretch for the quads, groins and calves are long gone, but unfortunately most teams still use it.

Your new warm up is different. It entails myofascial release, joint mobilisation and muscle activation techniques followed by dynamic flexibility.

Myofascial Release

It is becoming more main stream but this is where tennis balls and foam rollers are used as a form of self massage which is best used prior to training or games to iron out any knots and restriction you may have, especially in the lower body.

Joint Mobilisation

If you are a regular reader of the Aussie Rules Training blogspot, then you may recall a series of posts on the Joint by Joint Approach to Training. This basically involves training a joint in respect to what it actually requires for optimal function (stability or mobility). During our warm up we will hit the joints requiring mobility to ensure this is addressed in an isolated fashion, before integrating, during the actual resistance training sessions.

Muscle Activation

As activity levels within society decreases, so does the use of some of the most important muscles, especially the supporting ones. Areas of the body like the glutes and core muscles, play a huge supporting role to the spine and represents the plant from which your power is developed and transferred fro during performance endeavours. When these muscles aren't activated then the stress that they should be taking is moved to another joint or set of muscles and it is then that those muscles get over worked and/or tired, and an injury occurs. We activate these muscles so that we can actually retrain them during the actual sessions and thus, improving our on field performance and movement efficiency.

Dynamic Flexibility

This facilitates muscle contraction and awakens the neural/nervous system which actually primes you more for movement then static stretching which actually decreases the stretch reflex and peak power output. You are preparing the body for movement so doing stretches where you don't move doesn’t make sense. Dynamic flexibility drills are used to activate and dynamically stretch inhibited and tight muscles as well as increasing core temperature, putting us into an optimal arousal state for activity.

Warm Up Sequencing

Myofascial Release – roll golf ball on soles of feet
Tennis Ball – calves, soleus, pecs, glutes
Foam Roll – itb, quadriceps, abductors, lats, thoracic spine
Joint Mobilisation – ankle, abductors, quadriceps, hip flexors
Glute Activation – hip thrust or prone hip extensions, mini band side step or Jane Fonda’s
Hip Mobility – hip rockbacks, dynamic knee to knee stretch
Dynamic Flexibility – walking knee lift, walking buttkicks, overhead walking lunge, scapula push up, wall slides

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

All Things Deadlift

I hope we all know what deadlifts are. I didn’t train any legs at all in the gym until about 2004 / 2005 and I have no plausible reason for it. I was training more for upper body size and vanity I suppose and my legs are naturally big anyway so that was good enough for me.

Now I don’t go a week without deadlifting and neither should you.

They train multiple strength qualities but the biggest 2 are maximal strength and rate of force development.

I’ll use a car as an analogy here so I hope it works. Strength is your horse power and dictates how much potential you have to be fast and explosive.

Rate of force development is how fast you can go from 0 to 100 as in a lead from a dead stop position or jumping straight up in the air to mark.

To be your best you want both of these, not just one which a lot of players have.

It also hammers the posterior chain which refers to the glutes and hamstrings as well providing the highest of anti flexion core stimulation you’ll find so it really does build the “engine room” (hips/core) all at once and efficiency is what you should be aiming for with all of your training.

There is also some high quality grip work which will aid in tackling and it teaches you to tense up the entire body tensed up to lay harder tackles and to also break and shrug tackles.

A lot of players squat but they are very quad dominant meaning they will stress the knees a fair bit on top of 3 solid running sessions a week at least.

If you’ve never done deadlifts before then there a few things you MUST get it down pat to get the most out of them and to keep yourself from blowing out your back. Deadlifts aren’t bad for the back, bad deadlifts are bad for the back. Below are some videos that go through intra abdominal bracing to get your core and lats set for deadlifts and I’ll also go through a progression of the deadlift variations that you can use. 

Below you’ll find a step by step video guide to deadlifting. Video 1 talks about the action of hip hinging that is the major difference between a squat and a deadlift movement pattern. Video 2 talks about intrabdominal pressure which refers to getting your core and lats set during the set up of a deadlift. Video 3 demonstrates a progression of deadlift variations that you can use if you haven’t done them before.

Video 1 - Hip Hinge Technique

Video 2 - Intra Abdominal Pressure Bracing

Video 3 – Deadlift Progression Variations

If you're in Melbourne then I'll be running the Off Season Training Camp again this summer. As our my footy team's season will end after the last round. I hope to be getting started in September but you can start whenever your season finishes.

It will be even bigger then last year that's for sure!!