Sunday, September 30, 2012


Being a Swans fan and with Saturday doubling up as my 34th Birthday, I had pretty much one of the top 3 days of my life!!

A big night ensured and thus am still feeling the effects of it even today so I'm simply posting the 2 greatest moments of the game.

1 - Jetta vs Rioli

2 - The last 4mins of the game with Triple M commentary:

And now I hear we might getting Kurt Tippett!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Need Speed? Do This - NOW!!


And sprint.

That's it.


It doesn't matter if you back squat or front squat, just squat. And do it probably 1 a week.

If you're not already on a program or even if you are, you don't have to get too technique with it.

Most people will get a lot stronger of you work up to a 5 rep max once a week and when you plateau, work up to a 3 rep max.

This could easily be 12 - 24 months worth of squatting programming right there without having to change it all all.

You also don't really need any assistance work as it can really just add a lot more stress that you need to recover from for optimal gains so rethink those leg presses and leg extensions which are sweet FA for you anyway.


First and foremost, you want to train sprinting in a way that will actually make you faster. This will require nothing over 50m, nothing below 90% pace and full rest between each set.

Honestly, max speed workout should be the easiest workouts you do as the sets are extremely short in a time sense (5 - 8secs) and with complete rest there is very minimal fatigue built up.

If at any time you feel out of breath then you simply haven't rested enough.

A lot of people forget that the best way to get better at something is to actually do it so sprint 2 - 3 times a week which is easily doable following the guidelines above.

Training to win a gold medal where a bees dick can be the difference between a medal and nothing can be technical but simply aiming to increase your speed for performance is not.

I had a whole technical and thought out post ready for this which could include different types of programming, acceleration, max velocity, sprinting mechanics and muscle assessment (all of which I have covered in this blog in the past) but in the end I thought it's pretty simple so I have purposefully kept this post very brief so get to it.

Squat and Sprint.

What are you waiting for?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Breaking Down Lewis Jetta's Goal of the Year

I am a Swans supporter and being a Swans supporter means I have a man crush on Lewis Jetta so it is no surprise I almost made number 2's after this goal Friday night against the dirty Pies:

Here's my quick breakdown of the run and goal.


Then length of ANZ Stadium is 159.5m according to this:

With the 50m line obviously being 50m long, the center square being the standard 45m long then that means that the space between the 50m and center square line is 14.5m in total or 7.25m each end.

He receives the ball and starts his run about 5m from the center half back line and kicks the ball for goal from about the top of the goal square which is 9m from the goal.

Distance Covered: 88 - 89m


By using my iPhone clock I timed from when he received the ball until he kicked it at 10.5secs which he did while completing 3 bounces (for a 90m run??) and 5 or 6 look backs (god knows why, who was gonna run him down?).

By comparison Josh Ross ran Australia's fastest 100m sprint in 10.23secs.


It's pretty hard to see but form what I can count and keeping with the cadence of the steps that you can actually see, I have Jetta down for 32 - 34 steps for his 90m run. That averages out to 2.70m per steps at 33 steps. Usain Bolt takes 41 steps for his 100m races at an average of 2.44m per step.

2012 Goal of the Year Hands Down.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Is the Fitness Work You Do Actually Specific for Football?

My regular readers and anyone who knows me, is well aware of my disdain for long distance running. To me it makes no sense to run slowly for a long time when you never do it for football.



Not if you actually want to touch the football that is.

Last year I caused a minor stir when I posted this:

This post will take this a small step further.

The running component for Aussie Rules Football has different requirements then long distance running but they go unnoticed in 99% of the programs I see players do.

The running requirement of football  involve 2 main components:

  • Time
  • Distance

In Aussie Rules terms, time refers how quick you need to get to the ball, contest or player. Sometimes you have 10secs to get there and sometimes you have 2secs to get there.

Regardless of the time you have to do it in, you have to get there FIRST. Whoever gets there first, gets the ball.

Whoever gets there 2nd is chasing tail.

In Aussie Rules terms, distance is how far you have to run to get where you need to the ball, contest or player. Sometimes you only need to run 100m to get into an attacking position and sometimes you need to only run 5m to get to an attacking position.

Getting back to long distance running, the time is not a big concern so long as you get to the end of the 10km run or whatever you distance you're running.  

Looking at distance, the actual time it takes to cover the distance is usually ignored so long as you again, cover the distance.

Neither of these are anywhere near relevant to football.

So what should you do?

Footy is made up of a lot of sprints over various distances and when I mean sprints, I mean having to get somewhere first which means most of these sprints are performed at at least 90% of your top speed.

So a better idea is to do repeated sprints covering various distances for your off season training, replacing those outdated and joint killing long distance road runs. The AFL doesn't do them anymore so why do you?

Add an element of speed to your running because you need to get quicker. AFL clubs draft players purely because of their speed and it is the reason why interchange bench rotations have gone through the roof, to maintain the speed at which players can run at.

So here's what to do:

1 - Determine what running patterns you use in your games. Do you just run the wings? Do you need to do multiple leads? Do you need to lead and run back towards goal?

2 - The next step is to determine what sort of distances you cover during these running patterns. Yes they will vary but if you break them down into 2 or 3 general distances then that will be more then enough for programming reasons.

Once you have the distances and running patterns determined then you simply need to test your speed for them which will then enable you to set a time range to complete each set in. So if you need to lead up to center half forward then run back towards goals it might be a 150m run with a turn in the middle of it. This would be your set run.

When testing it if you can complete it 30secs then set yourself a range of 32 - 33secs to complete it in and once you can't complete it in that time frame, then the session is over.

Why should I finish the session I hear you ask?

Because you've slowed down to the point where you are no longer going to be first for the ball and any additional training will just be inducing fatigue resulting in greater recovery before you can train again. All it will do is make you better at getting to the ball slowly which you can do in the reserves with no training at all.

So choose 2 or 3 running patterns and train them once each week. Don't set yourself a goal of how many you'll do, just run them as fast as you can and when you can't do them in your time frame, start your warm down.

It's time that amateur footy players started training smarter, not just try and train more or for longer.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Football Specific Exercises

I contribute a fair bit the forum in the health and fitness area where today a post went up in regards to footy specific so I thought I'd have a go at what my list would consist of.

There's general strength and there's specific strength and for the most part, you'll need general strength before specific strength but the exercises can overlap which you'll soon see.


Exercise - Hip Mobility, especially hip extension

Why - Kicking relies mostly on your hip range of motion for 2 reasons. The first one is if you have full hip extension range of motion then it tells me that you have working glutes and adequate joint integrity of all the various muscles that pass through the hip. The second one is that a tight joint is usually a weak joint so if you have good hip mobility, then your strength potential will be greater.

What To Do - Of course you'll need to do some hip flexor stretching but here's a little secret way to do it. In front of a mirror do a hip flexor stretch and note the angle of your thigh in relation to the floor. Next just take a little 'off" the stretch and with the arm of the leg that is in front, perform 5 very slow circles with your arm locked out in each direction then retest and now look at the angle of your thigh which should have decreased (closer to the ground).


Exercise - Thoracic Spine Extension

Why - If you can think back to the turn of the century there was a bloke called Wayne Carey running around who won games off his own boots and brought a team from close to extinction to perennial finals contenders.   In some circles he is regarded as the greatest player ever and for half of his career he couldn't even really lift his arms above his head. For us mere mortals we need to be able to reach up as high as we can to take contested marks and if you're lacking thoracic spine mobility, especially in extension, then this will not be possible.

What To Do - thoracic spine extensions is easily the best option here placing them in your warm up on each training day and also just do them on your off days.


Exercise - Resisted Sprinting

Why - Most players are tight in the wrong area's and weak in the wrong area's which can make sprinting technique and mechanics sub optimal. Resisted sprinting with a sled, prowler or even hill runs actually trains the muscles responsible for sprinting during the actual sprinting action. You can't get more specific then that.

What To Do - If you have a sled or prowler then attach it to your good self and sprint with it. If not, then the old school hill runs will work just as well. Only perform the sled and prowler sprints x 20 meters maximum as you basically want to improve your hip extension range of motion during acceleration.


Exercise - Squats

Why - Squats simulate jumping although it's not quite as specific as resisted sprinting for sprinting speed. For someone that can squat 100kgs, they'll have 100kgs in reserve to jump with during game time so if you can get this to at least 1.5 x your own bodyweight then you should be on your way. Yes plyometrics might be better, but without strength, plyometrics are mostly wasted as you simply won't possess the engine room to optimally benefit from them.

What To Do - Squat in the 1 - 5 rep range bracket @ 80 - 95% intensity and do so with as much explosive intent as you can, even if the actual effort doesn't look explosive.


Exercise - Full Contact Twist / Cable Push Pulls

Why - If you can absorb and resist forces when you tackle, they will stick. When you can't do that then the player with the ball will be able to fend you off or simply run through you as your stability is lost once they run into you or you run into them. There are also times when you will be tackled by 2 or more opponents from different angles so you need to absorb multiple forces from anywhere, anytime.

What To Do - For the full contact twists progress from a standing position using the anti rotation principle and progress to using some hip rotation where you start to produce some strong rotational forces once you can stabilise them. For the cable push pulls progress from the standing and push pull action to anchoring a band to something heavy and then wrapping the band around your waist.

Standing Up in Tackles

Why - Easy, once your on the ground you're useless.

What To Do - Deadlift in the 1 - 5 rep range bracket at 80 - 95% intensity and do so with as much explosive intent as you can, even if it doesn't look intensive.

Force Absorption

Why - The more force you can absorb and transfer through the body, the greater output you'll have the potential to produce. The greatest jumpers and sprinters can exert ridiculous amounts of force into the ground with each step and planting action, and coupled with their equally ridiculous force output abilities, result in Usain Bolt like sprint times and Lebron James like leaps. Think of a rubber band, the further you pull it back, the further it goes upon release.

What To Do - Swings with either a dumbbell or kettelbell progressing to assisted eccentric swings where a partner pushes down on the weight at the top just before going into the eccentric contraction.


Exercise - Single Leg Variations

Why - Soft tissue injuries are a result of the overuse of secondary muscles for under performing prime movers. Single leg exercises trains all of the leg muscles from toe to hip as now your base of support is smaller and more stabilising muscles are required, a ,ot more then a squat. Also if you can't get to at least parallel during a squat for whatever reason, then single leg exercises should be your go to exercise for legs along with deadlifts.

What To Do - Step Ups, Reverse Lunges, Split Squats, Walking Luinges, Dynamic Lunges, Bulgarian Split Squats, Single Leg Deadlifts and Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts in the 5 - 8 rep range bracket as heavy as you can. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Off Season Starts Monday

The title says it all really.

After sitting on this program since July and getting it all organised via a lot of help from co author Ben Peterson, I'm ready to go.

I posted about the program I'm doing earlier in the year here and I can't wait to see how it goes.

For the last month I have been getting back into squats after not doing even 1 rep of a squat since a Smolov cycle I did just over a year ago. Over 2 to 3 weeks I worked up in weight and tested at 125kgs x 1 rep.

Today I did some performance testing with the following results:

I was also anticipating doing a 20 and 40m sprint but the weather was shitty today so I might just leave that out because if my 10m time improves then so will my 20 and 40m time.

So my question to you is how is your off season training going to make you better in 2013?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Why Do I Train The Way I Do?

After a week where I only trained ONCE (haven't done that for as long as I can remember), my off season training starts this week. I just purchased a squat rack from a mate of one of my trainers which we'll assemble tomorrow and then I'll be off and running.

This appeared on the Herald Sun website this week:

The focus of my training is not what really everyone focuses on. While 90% of other footy players are just worried about how far they can run, my focus is more on the explosive side of things. 

Not that being able to run all day isn't a requirement of the game but it's 1 small part of the game, not the entire thing.

My focus this off season will primarily be increasing speed, both linear and lateral. As a by product of this I also envision an increase in vertical leap also.

The focus of speed / explosive training is either completely missed or most player's programs or not trained anywhere like it is supposed to be.

Speed training usually looks like a repeated sprint session like10 x 100m with incomplete for example which is not a program geared towards increasing actual speed - as in decreasing your time over a specific distance.

So why is speed and explosiveness so important in Aussie Rules Football?

The main reason is that there are points in the game where you need to be quicker or where you need to be able to jump higher then your opposition. I would place this of great importance, even more so then being able to run all day because you don't need to be everywhere all the time. We have 18 players that each play a position on the ground.

When you need to jump in the ruck or run for a loose ball on the wing it's just you and the opposition - and you need to win. You'll never win the tap if you can;t jump as high and you'll never get to the loose ball first if you can't run as fast.

By increasing speed and explosiveness you give your self a better chance of being a factor at the end of the game then the player who does not. Providing we can all run out a game of footy because we do pre season training and continue to train during the in season then speed and explosiveness is what can set players apart from everyone else.

Lets look at it this way:

Player A can run 40m in 5secs, player B can run 40m in 5.5secs.

Over the course of a game fatigue builds up so each quarter might look like this for a 40m sprint:

1st Quarter: Player A - 5secs / Player B - 5.5secs
2nd Quarter: Player A - 5.25secs / Player B - 5.75secs
3rd Quarter: Player A - 5.5secs / Player B - 6secs
4th Quarter: Player A - 5.75secs / Player B - 6.25secs

By simply being faster, player A is going to win a loose ball contest in all 4 quarters of footy versus his slower opponent, and this is if they both drop off in speed at the same rate. 

The same works for ruckman or tall forwards and backman with vertical leap, whoever has the highest leap at the start of the game will have the higher leap at the end of the game.

You can run all day which is great, but can you run FAST all day?

This is what I program my training to do and it's exactly what it will do for the blokes who have already signed up for the off season training camp starting next week.

Get on it or be literally be left behind.