Friday, March 21, 2014

5 Things You Don't Know About In-Season Training

I assume most of us are getting the practice games on either currently or in the next couple of weeks which means the actual season is very close and with that comes the shift of your training from your pre-season model to your in-season model...although not too many teams have one!

Because of the requirement to be 100% every Saturday come game time, there are specific things that need to be taken into account.

1 - Goals of In-Season Training

The goals of in-season training is not only to get ready for Saturday game time but also to build on, or at least maintain the improvements gained from your off and pre-season training.

Above all, your main goal is to stay injury free. We can't predict or protect against collision injuries but you can and should be able to avoid non-contact and soft tissue injuries. A good idea is to measure your range of motion throughout your notorious tight joints/muscles prior to the season starting and then maintain that range of motion throughout the season. As soon as the range of motion starts decreasing then it's a big sign that you're overloading that area in some capacity which will ultimately lead to an overuse issue like OP.

On the track you should aim to maintain your acceleration, max velocity and both aerobic and anaerobic capacities.

In the gym you should aim to maintain strength and body weight.

At a bare minimum, stay within 10% of your off/pre-season personal bests.

2 - Auto Regulation

Auto regulation refers to regulating your training to fit your current neurological state. It's fair to say that you'll have greater training intensity potential on a Tuesday then a Sunday but fr those of us who like to train more then just Tuesday and Thursdays on the track, you can only build up so much stress before lack of recovery gets the better of you.

In the real world this means on a Monday you might head to the gym for your main workout of the week but you don't want to go so hard that it affects the other training sessions, and potentially the following game, later on in the week.

So if you have squats on the agenda for example then you want to set some form of baseline of when to call it quits. You don't want to do too much to hinder recovery but you don't want to do too little and under train either.

You'll have good and bad days during the season so you want to take full advantage of the good days but do the bare minimum on the bad days.

A few ways you can auto regulate is to work up to a certain rep number with progressive weight, work up to a certain weight and do a number reps stopping the set once you hit a certain point such as decreased velocity, a change in technique etc.

3 - Neural State Testing

On the back of auto regulation is neural state testing which you can use to break things down even better. It involves performing a neural test at various times during your training to auto regulate your session. So a sample exercise might be the low squat sprint exercise.

So you'd this exercise and over a period of time you'd find your average of reps you can perform in 10secs. Once you enter the gym then you'd do this before and after your warm up then also between sets of your main lift for that day. Once you drop below 90 - 95% of your reps average then stop the main lift right there as the decreased output tells you that nervous system fatigue has started to set in so you'd better cal it a day. Finish off with some low intensity accessory work and head home. You're much better off doing less and staying fresh then too much, especially during the season.

4 - Training Residuals

Even though this point 4, in my opinion this is the most important part of this post, and in-season training programming.

During the off and pre-season we have all the time and resources (energy) to train many qualities at once, the stress of a weekly game far greater then anything you'll do during this time so it leaves plenty of energy to cater to other qualities.

Training residuals is a refers to how long a specific strength and fitness quality stays with you and how frequently it needs to be trained to be maintained.

For example aerobic endurance will stay at certain level for 30 days with an over flow of 5 days either side of that (25 - 35 days). What this means is that for all you blokes who bang out 10km runs on a Monday can cut this to once a month and use that time to work on more glaring weaknesses.

By using these training residuals you can easily set up your in-season training program because you know when something will need to be trained and you just plug it in.

Remember it's the off/pre-season, you don't have the time or resources to train everything!

5 - Exercise Selection

This one is easy - try to limit the amount of new exercises you introduce to your training program. New exercises means you have a much lower tolerance to the movement meaning soreness. You get sore enough from a game let alone from your training which can affect your natural mechanics which could lead to injury.

You might have noticed my new paypal option just under the main banner...yeah I know you did! Well that's the link you need to click on if you want me to do all of your programming for you. I've already sent this out to my list and have had a pretty good response and with only 25 spots available right now, I expect these to fill up pretty quickly - my list is 10 full pages of email addresses I've complied since I started the blog.

If you're interested then drop me an email at

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What Have You Done to Dominate 2014 Part 2

Late last year I posted about the different training I've done in prep for 2014 which can be found here. I was just looking at it and realised I haven't updated it so here we go.

Block 4 - December 27 to January 12

Focus - Repeat Speed / Lactic Capacity

What I Did - 8 sessions over 15 days every 2nd day without fail as described in the link above.

Results - Building on my alactic power and aerobic capacity, the aim here was to do a power of work in a very short amount of time (so incomplete rest) then see how fast I can get my heart rate down to 60% of my max.

Most days I was hitting 100% of my heart rate at some point. Day 1 after doing 10 x 10m sprints every 10secs and my heart rates immediately post and every minute after that were 174, 150, 138, 126, 120, 120.

13 days later after doing 20 x 10m sprints every 10secs it read 174, 132, 114.

A definite improvement in recovery rate if there was ever one!

Upper body was very high volume chin and pull ups at bodyweight which ranges from 40 to 100 reps per session x 4 - 5/week and some pressing for strength but very low volume.

Takeaways - from now on I will do all my fitness work in blocks. My body loves short powerful bouts with plenty of rest so I don't take to this type of training very well these days (was a machine back in the day though!). But knowing that it will all be over in 2 short weeks makes it bearable and I'm more likely to stick with this then drawing it out.

Block 5 - January 13 to February 23

Focus - Big Toe Mobility / Foot Strength / Achilles Tendon Stiffness

What I Did - this took about a week to set up as it's something I hadn't done a lot of before and info on training for them it's only in bits and pieces so it took some brain action but I finally got it together. I trained 6 days a week but most of it was submaximal, low level stuff so it was easily done with minimal fatigue.

My daily template was 1 exercise for each group of these:

  1. Big Toe Mobility
  2. Isometric Foot Strength
  3. Concentric to Eccentric Foot Strength
  4. Achilles Tendon Stiffness Quick Response
  5. Achilles Tendon Stiffness Slow Response
  6. Sprinting Mechanics
  7. Acceleration or Max Velocity Sprints
  8. Glute Ham Raise Isometrics
For upper body I did more chin/pull up variations but now for strength. Again low volume pressing for strength too changing from bench to military pres in there somewhere as I hadn't done any overhead work since last year! Very poor indeed.

Results - for reasons I don not understand I did not time any of my sprints in this block? Dickhead.

Takeaways - This block was too long for even low level tendon work, my speed was failing m in the last week or 2 so in hindsite, probably 2 or 3 weeks max for this type of stuff but it was fine overall. Pull Ups tested at + 30kg x 1 rep so about 110 - 115 all up (I'm 77 - 78kgs most of the time) and equals my bench thereabouts which is good.

Block 6 - February 24 to March 10

Focus - Speed / Repeat Speed Combo

What I Did - not the best 2 things to focus on at the one time as one is capacity and the other power but it seemed to gel alright as I had complete control over my training as work prevents me from training with my footy team. Repeat speed was 6 workouts every 2nd day again but I did the progression over 6 sessions instead of 8 so it got harder quicker but the quick block again made bearable. 

Results - I didn't take many heart rates this time around as it was just more capacity work with praccy games coming up from mid March. I was till finishing at 100% of my heart rate max and I was recovering to 60% of my heart rate max in 3 - 4mins max so I at least maintained from the first repeat speed block.

Sprint speed wise I did some timing and recorded a flying 10m sprint time of 1.22secs. Usian Bolt hit .82secs in his 9.69sec world record 100m sprint back in 2008 for a terrible reference.

Takeaways - On a Friday night Eddie Maguire's son plays cricket at the oval I sprint at and I basically sprinted right in front of his seat for 45mins and he didn't say boo. He may be affiliated with Collingwood but he must not be all bad. James Hird also frequents the park with his kids yet I haven't received any contracts yet. And don't mix power and capacity in the same block. It's not that it didn't work but capacity generally means fatigue build up which impacts power.

Block 7 - March 10 to April 4 (round 1 Friday night!!)

Focus - Peaking Speed / Practice Games

Currently doing this and will update in a few weeks time.

Don't forget the Aussie Rules Training Consultancy and Training Program where you can have me do all your programming for whatever you need! Only 25 spots available and 6 days til I release to the public!

Stop guessing with your programming!

Online Consultancy and Training Available NOW!!

Over the couple of weeks I've mentioned the upcoming release of the Aussie Rules Training Online Consultancy and Training program that I'll be running through some software that I purchased late last year.

Well it's here!!

All programs are personally made up for YOU by ME, they are not automated programs - I don't roll like that.

I have only 25 spots available for right now so do not hesitate to jump on this as I don't expect these spots to last the week.

So if you are interested then email me at and well start the process ASAP.

I'll be back with a better training info update in a couple of days.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Turn Strength into Power

Last week I went in to detail on how to build strength without the use of weights or equipment so they type of stuff you could actually use in a team training setting.

This week we'll look at developing power, the ultimate expression of strength.

You can build strength in the gym but strength, max strength in particular, is a high load, low velocity movement meaning the weight might be bloody heavy but that means the actual movement is pretty slow.

This is great to build foundation strength that can be turned into what you want or need it to be but on it's own, its not optimal.

Enter medicine balls.

The best part of medicine balls is the release phase. Some of you might be familiar with dynamic effort weight training where you use 40 - 60% of your max and do 8 - 12 sets of 1 - 3 reps focusing on acceleration except there's 1 big problem.

For just about any free weight exercise you can think of, there's a deceleration phase which is actually protective tension of sorts from the brain so that you don't keep accelerating and snap your arm clean off. Quite dramatic I know!

But with medicine balls this deceleration phase doesn't exist because you accelerate and accelerate until you release the ball so it trains true power.

For the upper body your best options are chest throw variations either from a lying, sitting or standing position. To focus solely on the upper body muscles the lying or sitting against a wall variations are your go to variations.

For lower body you can use variations that train the lower body exclusively or you can use full body power options. For the lower body you can use scoop throwing variations and foe the full body power you can use push press or chest throw variations.

As for sets and reps it's all about power so your best served with doing single reps with about 15 - 30secs between them which you'll probably need to retrieve the medicine ball with anyway. Do these at the start of your sessions too because you want to be in a fresh state to get the full benefit from them.

So all up do 10 - 15 sets of 1 w/ 15 - 30secs reps between them doing 1 - 2 exercise variations.