Friday, November 21, 2014

The Comeback Requirements of an AFL Player

I knew had this information somewhere but could not locate it for ages but I came across it this week going through some old files.

When a rampaging Fremantle Dockers outfit destroyed my beloved Swans in the 2013 finals, Luke McPharlin had only just made his return after a 8 - 10 week lay off from a calf injury.

He came straight back into the senior side without any game time in the WAFL which was thought to be a huge risk to play someone who hasn't felt actual game time pressure for 10 weeks, especially for a cut throat final.

In the grand final I watched an interview with Ross Lyon who explained their reasons as to why they thought he was ready to go straight back into the senior team. Here are the points he made:

#1 - A really heavy pre-season training load is 30 - 38kms per week depending on your playing position.

#2 - McPharlin did 24kms per week for the last 2 weeks of his rehabilitation program to come straight back in after 10 weeks out.

#3 - The Saturday before he returned the senior side he did 10 - 12km training session with 2 of the kms being sprints.

#4 - Running backman will do 1.3kms of sprints per game

As a side note he also mentioned that everyday the players come into the club they are tested for power to see where their recovery is at (heart rate variability).

Don't think that as local footballers we need that sort of training load because we don't but it does provide a little insight into what returning to full fitness really looks like and that you really can't take a week or 2 off playing and training and expect to comeback in and be right to go.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Building Aerobic Capacity

I touched on aerobic capacity, and my lack thereof, in my previous post but i'll go little bit deeper in this post.

Capacity, in regards to any energy system, refers to the total amount of work you can do at a specific intensity and/or heart rate zone.

For aerobic development you're looking at an intensity of 60 - 70% as a general figure.

OK so few easy tests are needed here.

#1 - To find your heart rate maximum use this equation:

220 - Your Age

So for me I'm 36 so 220 - 36 = 184bpm for mt heart rate maximum. 60% of that number is 110bpm (184 x .6).

#2 - The easiest way test your current aerobic fitness is by doing a basic heart rate test by placing your index finger on the underside of your wrist or on your carotid artery just under ear. If you have a heart rate monitor or watch then use them by all means. Do this upon waking while you're still in bed everyday for a week and take an average.

So back to me - I already knew my aerobic base was terrible but I decided to do a 10min aerobic based session purposefully going slow (but still trying to jog), and seeing how low I could keep my heart rate.

I failed miserably as I my heart rate measured 174bpm (by the 5min mark and held there til the 10min mark even though I was barely raising a sweat.

I should have taken my heart rate every minute which I would have done if I knew I was going to do so badly!!

Joel Jamieson of (an MMA training website) always says "don't get stuck in the middle", meaning don't do too much work in the 70 - 90% heart rate zone.


Well it's too intensive for aerobic work as you'll cross into your anaerobic threshold at some point which builds up fatigue and performance drop (a future post). On the other end of the spectrum it's no where near intensive enough to be classed as anaerobic work.

The middle should be reserved exclusively for restoration work and game specific skill drills so you shouldn't really need to do any specific work for it - especially with limited training time us amateurs have!

So before you head off on a run you need to first decide what you're doing this run for and if it is for aerobic capacity (aerobic base in a lot of circles) then you'll need to work out what specific heart rate zones you need to stay in to make sure you get that exact training effect with your training.

This might actually result in you having to go a lot slower then you normally do but don't worry, the heart is getting the workout it requires. Look at me I'm doing treadmill walking for god's sake!

Even though it's boring as hell I am seeing progress with my 4-weekly 20min walks. I have increased the speed of the treadmill while still being able to keep my heart rate down (increased capacity right there) and my Sunday morning local walk is getting further and further watch week again while keeping my heart rate in the correct zone.

To get your head into this just remember that one of the primary functions of your aerobic system is to improve your recovery between bouts of intensive anaerobic bouts (50m chase down tackle for example) so that you can do that effort at the same intensity again very soon. That is what is getting me over line with this boring workout!

Remember the Ultimate Footy Training Manual is available for purchase via the Paypal link at the top of the page as well as online training programs set by me specifically for you. Email me if you need a hand going to the next level.