Friday, October 31, 2014

Off Season Training - How I'm Doing It

Most teams are about 4 weeks away from pre Christmas team training so hopefully you've out in some 4 weeks of solid training on your biggest weakness already in preparation for season 2015.

Once the season finishes, goal setting is your first step.

My off season goal setting looked like this:

Goal #1 - Aerobic Capacity

I'm a born repeated sprinter and even my younger days when I was nicknamed "the greyhound", I was probably the best of the "b grade" long distance runners. My big thing was being able to win every sprint drill we had and I literally pushed myself to do so. As the years have gone by I've relied and focused so much on maintaining and max speed and repeated sprint that I've pretty much done away any sort of aerobic capacity conditioning which affects the amount of contests I can make during a game. But not this year. 

We'll have an excellent reserves team this year (which I play) so although we are aiming for the big one, I'm also gunning for some personal awards this year, or at least try my best to achieve behind team success.

Goal #2 - Improve Max Strength / Power

This is the time of year where you have the time and energy resources to get your max strength levels back up to scratch. In season training can be unpredictable (weather conditions, soreness, injuries etc) and can make it hard to pan exactly what you're gonna do and when so if you can get a fair base behind you during the summer months, then the longer you take to build it, the more you'll build and the longer you can keep it without having to dedicate a lot of time to it.

Last season I was sometimes playing Saturdays and Sundays on the same weekend which didn't leave a lot of petrol tickets to set pb's in the gym and my gym strength levels did decrease during the season by a fair margin. I;m usually golden at maintaining strength but last season may have been the one where I start to go downhill in regards to being able to recover as quick as I could in my younger days (36 now!!). 

Goal # 3 - Improve Sprinting Speed

I'll say it again - SPEED IS KING!!

At 36 I'm still one of the fastest on the ground in any game I play so that's ultra important as probably the shortest bloke too (168cms). Without a lot of aerobic fitness this is basically what I've been living off as well being a strong body and able to break tackles and lay them too.

Only getting hard and contested balls can be hard on this old body so I'm hoping with maintaining or improving my max speed, combined with my new found aerobic capacity will get me a lot more outside ball where I can use my 60m accurate left foot more often!

So now that I have my goals in place, the next step is to build a plan to reach them.

I am unable to train with my team because of work so I must ensure I do everything on my own which takes a fair bit of discipline but I'm good with that. The biggest thing is to the things you aren't good at, which usually doubles as things you don't like which for me is aerobic training.

A good measure of aerobic capacity that everyone can utilise the old school resting heart rate. Every morning for 7 days in a row immediately upon waking, take your resting heart rate x 10secs, multiply that by 6 to get your per minute resting heart rate. Add those 7 numbers together and divide it by 7 (days) to get your average.

You're aiming for 60 beats per minute or less at complete rest with low 50's being the ultimate aim.

Mike Robertson wrote an article on the "aerobic window" which is the distance between your resting heart rate and anaerobic threshold which is basically where you start to work pretty hard and use up fuel tickets. With a higher resting heart rate this window is far more narrow then it would be someone with the same threshold point but lower resting heart rate. In the end they work far less to the same amount of work you're doing meaning they'll go for longer while you blow up in no time at all!

Aerobic capacity is also crucial for recovery between bouts of high intensity sprinting so the sooner you can recover, the sooner you can sprint at (near) top speed again.

I'm using a starting point of training at 120 beats per minute which sounds easy but I was surprised when I tried to do it the way I thought I could do it.

I thought a slow jog would be fine for this so off I went to the oval and just slowly jogged up and down the oval throwing in some side steps and backwards action for variety for 10mins straight - remember I'm a sprint for 3 -5secs and rest man!! It was more boring then hard, I wasn't puffed at all and literally had to be mindful of not running too fast.

Just quickly your max heart rate is determined by subtracting your age from 220 so at 36 my heart rate maximum is 184 beats per minute.

Taking my heart rate at the end of the 10mins I was blown away when I registered a heart rate of 174 which is 95% of my heart rate max. Last off season when I was doing a repeated sprint program I was at 95 - 105% of my heart rate max at the end of the workout (flat out on my back!).

I'd strongly suggest you take your heart rate at various times of your runs to see how you're tracking heart rate wise and get an idea of how hard you;re actually working. You don't want to purposefully train "in the middle" as it's neither aerobic or anaerobic (70 - 90%). It's too intense to get aerobic benefits and not intense enough for anaerobic/speed benefits.

So I work as hard as I do at low intensity during high intensity efforts - that's not good!

My aerobic window is pretty much non existent so that's goal #1 with a bullet.

Getting back to my 120bpm workouts, I now have to do them on a treadmill in the studio to ensure I can set the speed and incline to where I need it to be to hit that number. So for 20mins x 5 days a week that's what I'm doing. Over time the aim is to be able to increase the speed and or incline, so increase the intensity, but still remain at 120bpm thus opening my aerobic window a little further each week.

For strength I'm again using block training as I really like to train a quality really hard and fast then let it rest a little and repeat. I'm using a set up like this from 12 weeks of which I'm 4 weeks into right now:

Weeks 1 - 6: Max Strength x 3 days in a row then 4 days rest doing squats Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday then bench press and back (pull/chin ups or rows) Thursday, Friday Saturday. So I train legs hard 3 days in a row while the upper body recovers and and then I train upper body hard 3 days in a row while the legs recover. On day 1 I set a maximum baseline for a 1 rep max then drop the weight to 93% and do singles until I can't then repeat that for another 2 days. I do the same thing with bench press with a different exercise each week for both. I am also working from high to moderate force on the force-velocity curve at this point.

Weeks 7 - 9: Power again x 3 days for lower body then 3 days for upper body then 1 day of rest focusing on moderate to light force on force-velocity curve.

Weeks 10 - 12: Max Velocity x 3 days in a row for lower body followed 3 days for upper body followed by 1 day of rest.

Now the purpose of this set up is to overreach (a far better term then overtraining) a little on strength, then overreach a little on power, then overreach a little on max velocity. 

When using a block of training, you need to wait the same length of the block to see the benefits so a 6 week strength block mine will take 6 weeks to occur - so week 12.

The 3 week power block will see results 3 weeks later so again week 12.

So during my "peak" block (max velocity) both power and strength will be peaking at the same time ans hopefully allowing to put out some crazy sprinting times.

So right now my week looks like this:

Monday - Lower Body Max Effort + Singles @ 93% + Swings*
Tuesday - Lower Body Max Effort + Singles @ 93% + Swings
Wednesday - Lower Body Max Effort + Singles @ 93% + Low Volume Sprints (3 x 10/20m + 2 x Flying 10m)* + 20min Walk
Thursday - Upper Body Max Effort + Singles @ 93% + 20min Walk
Friday - Upper Body Max Effort + Singles @ 93% + 20min Walk
Saturday - Upper Body Max Effort + Singles @ 93% + 20min Walk
Sunday - 20min Walk

* if you remember in my 1st training block I did 10'000 swings in 2 weeks and then set a personal record in the 20m sprint. Even though fatigue is building up through this strength block I felt that max velocity was lacking a little so I've popped 3 sets of 50 of these in on Monday and Tuesday.

Sprints are performed just to make some use of the weeks training in a performance sense and if you time them then you can see how much fatigue you might be inducing with your other training if you look at the drop offs in speed from week to week. I've managed only a slight drop off from which hopefully means I'm getting faster but presenting as a maintenance of speed as fatigue gets higher.

This is a real work example of how the Ultimate Footy Training Manual works and should be used. If you're not a pre-Christmas trainer then there's still time to build some meaningful improvements before January team training so head to the link and have a look at what's inside it. Even better purchase it from the paypal link at the top of the page.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Ultimate Footy Manual - Available Now!!

The Aussie Rules Training Manual that puts all my other one's to shame is finally here!
After 5 re-writes lay out changes it's now ready for YOU!

This a full 12 month training manual with 11 individual manuals with accompanying programs.

Here's what's in it:

  1. Off Season Training - self assessment, interpreting your assessment results, goal setting, competing demands of training, rehabilitation, RESET program, off season template, alactic power and aerobic capacity
  2. Pre Season Training - pre season template, training block 1, training block 2, training block 3, training block 4
  3. In Season Training - training residuals, auto regulation of training, training around injuries, in season training template and monthly training block
  4. Speed Development - acceleration, acceleration mechanics, max velocity, max velocity mechanics, speed assessment, strength training for acceleration, training acceleration mechanics, strength for max velocity, training max velocity mechanics, foot/ankle stiffness, big toe mobility, Achilles tendon stiffness, muscle relaxation, bounding and knee lift
  5. Aerobic and Anaerobic Conditioning - aerobic capacity, aerobic power, alactic power, alactic capacity and lactic power
  6. Strength Training - programs for high frequency training, variable exercise selection training, 3/week strength, 2/week strength, force-velocity relationship, chin up strength and reps, mass for back, chest, traps, shoulders, exercise progression tables for single leg, rowing, push up, deadlifts, posterior chain, glute activation, core and arms
  7. Agility - agility mechanics, strength training for agility and pre + in season training recommendations
  8. Other Conditioning Methods - combination fitness, deceleration + acceleration drill, grids, tempo running, malcolm drill, threshold training, distance variation sprints,  square sprints, pyramid runs, fartlek running, 300m drill, coat hangers and 25m shuttle test
  9. Nutrition - body composition, body composition nutrition, fat loss nutrition, weight gain nutrition, weight maintenance nutrition
If you need it to hit your performance peak, then it's in this manual.

With easy to read information and program tables, this manual is ideal for anyone involved with footy from players to coaches to strength and conditioning staff!

Implementing the idea's presented in this manual will result in your best season yet, no doubt!

Purchase before October 25th at the special price of $75 before it reaches it's full price.

Hit the Paypal link at the top of the page.

Payable to through Paypal. Once notification hits my email I will email it out to you within 24 hours.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Training Block 1 Finished!

In my previous post I talked about my first training block in preparation for season 2015.

I finished it up today and not a moment too soon!

Being the dickhead I am I decided to squash a 4 week program, with already great volume in it, into under 2 weeks.

It was the 10,000 Swings program by Dan John which has you doing 500 swings per session x 4 - 5 sessions for 4 - 5 weeks, depending on your training frequency.

I have my training perfectly timed (as you'll soon see) up to Christmas so I only had a 2 week block to use thanks to my late season finish and the fact that my now 36 year old body needed some time off.

The shoulder injury I had which meant I couldn't really squat or bench forced me into the swings program but I wanted to do it anyway, I just would have liked more then 2 weeks to do it in!

Anyway here's how my 2 weeks looked:

Day 1 - 720 reps
Day 2 - 820 reps
Day 3 - 1000 reps
Day 4 - 1000 reps
Day 5 - 1220 reps
Day 6 - 820 reps
Day 7 and 8 off - AFL Grand Final Day
Day 9 - 710 reps
Day 10 - 830 reps
Day 11 - 990 reps
Day 12 - 1160 reps
Day 13 - 730 reps

Total 10,000 ON THE DOT!!

The first 3 days left me with some pretty solid soreness through the glutes and hams but then that all magically evaporated come day 4 and I was left with some solid tiredness - capacity type work is not my forte - where I pretty much napped every training day, including today (2 -1/2hrs on the couch - good times when Archie's at daycare!

My weight and reps per set increased as I went through as conditioning plus the wanting to just get this shit finished as soon as I could took hold.

On day 1 I did sets of 30 - 50 reps at 80 - 90pds on the cable machine but in the last few days I was doing 200 rep sets at 150pds, 170 rep sets at 170pds and sets of 80 at 220pds.

What will this do for me you ask?

Well it provides me with crucial aerobic capacity work which I need probably more then anything else and if I don't have to run endless and boring km;s to do so then that's a win. My resting heart rate is about mid 60's (tested 66 on Thursday morning) so I'll retest that over the weekend as my slight training overreaching dies off. If I can get that to 60 or less I'll be in good shape going forwards.

The end range contractions for hamstrings should improve my max velocity potential once I start sprinting again (next training block). Again improving this without the stress of sprinting (even though I find max velocity sprinting way easier then anything metabolic related), then that's a bonus.

At 36 years old, if I can get improvement sin speed and endurance with minimal joint stress and impact wear and tear, not that I can't really handle it, the better I'll be.

It's the little things like that can make a huge impact on your training and keeping healthy for the entire year - I haven't missed a game of footy since I came back from layoff in 2009.

This makes my new manual must have as this literally walks you through whatever it is you need to do to go to the next level and get better each year rather then come back as same player you were the season prior. It's a full 12 month training manual so all your training stuff can be taken care of and you just have to show up, do it and go home! There is nothing, absolutely nothing, available like this.

I'll hopefully finish that up this weekend and release later next week so keep an eye out.