Friday, September 27, 2013

Block 2 Down, 1 To Go and Setting Up Training Blocks

Today marks 2/3rds of the way through my 42 day program.

The last 2 weeks have a bit of a battle with a bout of full body shutdown a week ago and grand final day tomorrow resulting in having to have to cram a lot more training into not many days. This week I've actually crammed 7 or 8 days into 5 so everyday I've lifted and sprinted without a drop in volume but some slight decreases in intensity where needed.

Week 3 I felt pretty quick during my sprints with week 4 not being as good but that's probably because of the higher training load and no rest days in week 4 as well as still recovering from sickness and a big night out late last week and weekend.

In the last 2 weeks there is a scattered ending to the various qualities I'm training. Hip thrusts are only a 30 day program so they'll finish early next week. I might cut the back squats program back to 35 days so I can retest late in the program during days 39 - 42.

The main focus is sprinting speed so all these directly related to sprinting will continue to be trained everyday such as foot/ankle complex, relaxation/stiffness, bounding and obviously sprinting.

Thinking about it in the car before, I've read up a fair bit of block training in the last 12 months or so. 1 article I read that I can't remember where it was from (I cut and paste stuff then read it weeks sometimes later!) prescribed blocks to last for 2 - 3 weeks max then you move to something else before swinging back again.

After the feeling of "peaking" during week 3 I will just about put this in stone going forward.

So it might look like this:

Block 1 x 2 Weeks

Performance Goal - Speed
Maintenance Goal - Strength

Training Frequency - 4 times a week

Session 1 - Speed
Session 2 - Speed
Session 3 - Strength
Session 4 - Speed

Block 2 x 2 weeks

Performance Goal 1 - Strength
Maintenance Goal - Speed

Training Frequency - 4 times a week

Session 1 - Strength
Session 2 - Strength
Session 3 - Speed
Session 4 - Strength

Repeat Block 1 and so on.

This is a very general look at block training but if go this route at some stage during the pre-season I'll definitely post it up.

And the Dockers by 9 points tomorrow.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

1st 2 Week Block Down, 2 To Go

In my previous post I went into a little detail of my off season program that I put together and started 2 weeks ago.

The program is running for 42 days where I'm doing something everyday. I posted a list of what I'm covering in my previous post too but here's a refresher with a little detail of what I'm doing for each.

Increasing sprinting speed is the focus for this program. I might not increase speed dramatically during this time but more so building a great deal of sprinting work capacity while I get my strength levels back up to off season levels. I would guess that I'll hit "peak" speed just before Christmas.

So for sprinting I'm doing acceleration, max velocity and basic 40 meter sprinting days. Each day is low volume where I'm just doing enough to get a training effect then going home with minimal fatigue because I gotta go back out there the next day. This is the focus of the whole program actually, to do a lot of high quality work rather then a lot of fatigue work. I'm sprinting everyday that I can weather and soreness permitting (I actually sprinted in the rain twice this week!!).

Bounding variations are probably the best sprinting technique exercises you can do so I'm using them as a warm up on each sprinting day alternating low and high volume days with different bounding variations that alternate high and low eccentric stress.

An overlooked part of athletic perfection is the foot and ankle complex which I have gone into detail about herehere and here. I have separated them into foot/ankle complex exercises and stiffness/relaxation exercises which are also done in the warm up during my sprint session. I actually do sprints in the am and then gym in the pm and most days are 2-a-days. These are done everyday regardless of what I'm doing.

In the gym I'm doing 30 day hip thrust program developed by glute specialist Bret Contreras. I have actually neglected glute activation stuff a little bit since last September but I did a short cycle of hip thrusts where I managed to reach 115kgs x 5. I do feel these in my back a fair bit at times though so I've really downsized the load a bit for this and am going strictly on feel for these. The biggest reason though is that if you read enough of his research stuff, hip thrusts have a greater carryover to sprinting then almost any exercise including squats and deadlifts.

I do these first in the gym and follow them up with some basic Olympic stuff for low volume on each squatting day so 5 times a week. I'll keep these in up until Christmas so I'm in no hurry to load them up maximally at the moment. I'll just continue to do what I'm doing and work up slowly. These are used for a combination of rate of force development, upper back and posteriour development, force absorption and even a bit of foot / ankle complex and stiffness / relaxation stuff too.

The squat program is the 40 day program developed by Dan John where you do a lot of sub maximal squat work in a short period of time. Really if want to improve something would you do it once a week or everyday?

For a bit more posteriour chain development which can never have too much of where on every squat day I alternate through romanian deadlifts, swings and nordic hamstring curls. These can cause a little bit of soreness so again volume is low as the hamstrings can get plastered by the max velocity and 40 meter sprint days.

On my off days from lower body gym work I throw in some upper body stuff where I'm doing a high volume, sub maximal bench press cycle. If you're aware of Sheiko then you'll know it can be hell, if not then read here. I'm doing the bench press workouts from that article but only 2/week as it's not really a focus of mine anymore but I'd still like to improve it a little as it waves up and down a bit for me for reasons I don't know.

On these upper body days I'm also alternating through bent rows, chin ups and db chest supported rows matching up with the volume of bench presses on that day.

So that's what I'm doing.

Tomorrow is the last day of block 1 then I've reorganised things a bit for block 2 but it's basically still the same.

I'm endeavouring to update daily on Facebook too so like the page so you can get them and be amazed.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Off Season 2014 is Now!!

For those fortunate to be playing finals I'm a little envy of you. There's nothing like finals footy in any grade. I'm even a little more envious when we didn't even win a game this year so we're relegated a division but we'll regroup and launch our assault in 2014.

And for me, season 2014 starts TODAY!!

For the last month or so I've been tentatively putting together my first block of training to ready me for season 2014.

The first thing I've done is to sit down and have an honest assessment of where I'm at and here's what I come up with:

Speed - initially I gave myself a 7/10 but then I re-tested 10 and 40 meters 2 weeks ago while we were still playing I am slower then I have been in the past 2 years. Now in-season is no time to be testing anything but I trained maybe 10 times for the entire in-season this year with no extra running on my own part (shit I know). Speed is developed the slowest and lost the quickest.

Endurance - always shit but in my heyday (late 90's!!) I was actually nicknamed the "greyhound". I still wasn't s great long distance runner but I would always finish top 5 in our weekly 3km runs but my repeat speed was easily my strong suit. Nowadays both are beyond terrible with the aforementioned lack of training not helping at all. This year I WILL do some concentrated running leading up to pre-season because my training availability can be dicey at times with work and family.

Strength - again I have tested this in the last 2 - 3 weeks for bench press, back squats and deadlifts. Deadlifts were an almost all-time high even with minimal pulls for the last 12 months so that's fine. Squats are down 10 - 15% from the start of the season which is also fine so I just need to get that back to the 135 - 140kg mark. Bench press doesn't really phase me but it has stalled for the last year or 2 so I might concentrate on it for s short time between now and Christmas.

So what am I doing now.



I have developed a 42 day program where I will train EVERYDAY (bar emergencies).

The focus is speed and anything to do with it. It might not get me to Rio in 2016 but I just need to sprint, and sprint a lot more often then under fatigue on a Saturday. You CANNOT, I repeat, CANNOT get fast training in a fatigued state. It's definitely something a lot more footy teams should look at because there's reserves players who have the same skill set as senior players but don;t play because they are too slow. Simple as that. I still play seniors because I am still fast-ish and believe me if I was slow with my poor endurance, I wouldn't even make our 3rds team (the booming left helps though!!)

So during my 42 day speed program I'll be training everyday covering the following performance qualities, movements and muscles, some of which I covered in my "Training Methods You've Never Heard Of" Series:

 - Foot / Ankle Complex
 - Stiffness / Relaxation
 - Bounding
 - Acceleration
 - Max Velocity
 - Hip Thrusts
 - Olympic Lifts
 - Back Squats
 - Romanian Deadlifts
 - Swings
 - Nordic Hamstring Curls

There's also a little bit of upper body and core stuff in there too.

Be sure I'm not training everything everyday, but some things I am.

I will do some form of foot/ankle, stiffness.relaxation, bounding, sprinting and hip thrusting everyday with the posterior chain exercises being alternated through but still trained everyday.

The program I have made up is based on the 40 Day Program by Dan John for which I'll be doing with Back Squats as they will have the most carryover with sprinting in the gym which has 1 - 2 days off a week from squatting for memory.

So there's a quick rundown of what I'm about to embark on.

Post 42 days I'll see where my speed is at where i'm sure I'll still need to work on but then I intend on doing a quick block of Triphasic Training then ramp up some aerobic work pre Christmas. Endurance comes pretty quickly so you only need to actually train it for a month or so before moving to repeat speed and more sport specific running patterns. I also hope to be able to drop 3 - 5kgs because 35 year old legs don't get any younger!

What are you doing?