Friday, January 30, 2015

How I Rehabbed in 24 Hours...Must Read!

My training is pretty full-on at the moment. I'm currently doing 5 gym sessions and 5 track sessions per week.

Last Monday saw me in the gym warming up for a lower body sesh when on my last warm up squat set, my back went. Technique was fine, the load was easily doable but still being a warm up set, the back wasn't into it.

Once, maybe twice a year, my back will do this for no real reason but I have had some pretty bad back pain in the past which I've managed to starve off from proper training.

I suspect that this time it was my body telling me to ease up a bit and it was making me do it - you can't tell the nervous system what to do sometimes, it will make you do things you don't want to do!

If you've read any of the pain science stuff coming out these days, a great deal of chronic pain is from your brain. For example if you had a lower back issue for a couple of weeks and it clears up then the injury is gone and so it shouldn't hurt again for no reason now should it?

Except every now and then it does of which I'll explain in a future post, but the gist of it is that your experiences, beliefs and even culture can influence how you deal with pain.

I am of the thinking that I can bounce back from an injury which I always do, and that simple act alone helps immensely.

Anyway I hurt my back during squats which registered about a 6 or 7 out of 10 for pain/discomfort compared to some other back issues I've had. I could walk right after it which was a good sign - I had an episode where i was on my own in the gym for about 45mins and I literally couldn't move - that hurt!

Anyway I went straight home and had a nap for about 90 minutes, which is actually when you regenerate.

During the day I heat packed until I had to go back to work with not a lot of improvement.

I went in early to start some rehab and here's what I done:
  1. Supine Breathing x 10 breathes -
  2. Breathing Long Lever Deadbugs x 8/leg -
  3. Band Glute Bridge 5 x 10 second holds (just wrap a band around your knees and don't let it push your knees in during the set) -
  4. Prone Stability Hold x 5 breathes -
That little circuit worked pretty well for a 5 minute rehab session. I dd 2hrs worth of clients and repeated that before I went home.

I heated again before bed, applied heat cream of some sort and went to bed.

I could still feel the back in bed during the night but I could move a bit without aggravating it too much, so another good sign there.

The next morning rolls around it feels a lot better but the pain/stiffness is still there. It's really more stiffness then anything because when there is trauma somewhere in the body the body will protect the area by tensing all the muscles around it to stabilise the area, and also to stop you trying to move into a position that could cause further injury.

This is the number reason why immediate rehab can be your best cause of action, not ice/rest/ice for days on end.

Fun Fact - ice really only works on reducing swelling for 8 - 12 hours of which then you want to turn to heating and moving the injured area to promote blood flow and thus healing.

So I did my morning clients and repeated the rehab stuff again and was feeling alright enough to do the upper body session planned for the day. I will always train upper body if I have a lower body / lower back injury and it also helps greatly, ALWAYS, so do it!

I had a bunch of testing to do the day before on the track so feeling alright I thought I'd head down and see what I could do, if anything at all.

So I hobbled through my first 20 meter sprint, which definitely was not a sprint and certainly wouldn't have looked like it. I timed it and recorded a 3.28 second sprint. Not bad I thought considering my personal best was 2.94.

I did 2 more sprints and my times kept increasing but the pain and stiffness wasn't decreasing at the same rate. My right side felt very unstable initially but came along to the point that on my 7th or 8th sprint I managed to record a 2.82 second 20 meter sprint. I was happy enough with that and called it a day for those.

I did a 30 meter sprint that tied at 3.97 seconds against a personal best of 3.72 seconds and again I was happy so I just did 1 set of those.

The back was feeling fine so I continued on with a 30sec aerobic power test followed by a 6 x 30 meters every 30 seconds repeat speed test.

Back was near perfect by the end of it.

Whatever perceived threats there had been had totally been destroyed by continuing to find a way to train. The worse thing you can do is stay still as the brain has no reason to release the protective tension.

I even managed to follow that session up with a 12 minute run for distance with no problems at all pain wise, but it had taken a bit out of me and I didn't really get the result I was hoping for. I improved but not quite as much as I was gunning for but I'll test again in a few weeks in perfect health and see how I go.

In the end after that Monday morning where I hurt myself I managed 9 sessions in the 5 days following the initial injury.

UPDATE - I wasn't doing any HRV stuff at this time but I'd guarantee my life on it that the day I hurt myself, my reading would have indicated a rest day and my resting heart rate would have been elevated far above my baseline figure. One way to avoid injury is to assess your body's readiness everyday day as you'll rarely, if ever, get injured when you're at your peak fitness - only when you're a underdone in meeting the demands of a game from time off from the game, low training base etc.                                                

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Simple Look at Aussie Rules Footy Fitness

The last 12 or so months has seen a big shift in my researching focus in regards to increasing 'fitness". I quotation mark fitness because it could not be anymore a broader term really.

How fit you are is extremely relative. Being adequately fit for footy requires different training modalities then being adequately fit for long jumping. As a personal trainer the majority of people come in say that they want to "get fit and tone up".

As a bloody excellent PT (if I must say so myself) of course I follow that comment of theirs up with a "get fit for what?" question of my own.

If I don't ask that question then I might focus on fitness through the use of the rowing machine when they really intended to say 'I want to be able run 5kms non - stop' or something similar.

Sure I can train the same energy systems on the rower that I can at through running but you need to condition the muscles and specific action to really make the big gains in your specific fitness.

Aerobic fitness is a huge component of Aussie Rules Footy and along with max speed is one of the big 2 recruiters look at before drafting players. It;s all about fast you can sprint, how often you can repeat it and how far can you get through a beep test of dominate a time trial.

I don't think I'm breaking ground with this info but if you actually know how 'fitness' can be categorized for footy then it can help you set a plan of attack with a bit of science behind it.

So we start with the the 2 main energy systems:

 - Anaerobic Energy System
 - Aerobic Energy System

Anaerobic means "without oxygen" (short bursts of intense activity) and aerobic means 'with oxygen' (longer and less intensive bursts of activity) in regards to energy output.

Anaerobic can be broken up further into:

 - Alactic
 - Lactic

Alactic refers to "without lactate" (no fatigue build up) and lactic means means "with lactate" (fatigue build up) in regards to energy output.

Got It? OK let's move on...

So we now we have:

 - Alactic
 - Lactic
 - Aerobic

Now you can break each up again:

 - Alactic power and capacity
 - Lactic power and capacity
 - Aerobic power and capacity

Power refers to a single all out, 100% effort where capacity refers to the ability to replicate that all out effort repeatedly to as close as your 1 off effort as possible.

Still with me I hope...moving on.

Each of these 6 fitness qualities have a parameters in how they are best trained:

Alactic Power - up to 5secs of activity, full rest of 3 - 5mins...set a baseline for the days training and once it drops by 5 - 7% in the session that exercise is over

Alactic Capacity - up to 5sces of activity, incomplete rest...again set a baseline for the days training and use a drop off of about 7 - 10%.

Lactic Power - 10 to 30secs of activity, full rest of 4 - 10mins...perform 2 - 12 reps per session

Lactic Capacity - 10 to 30secs of activity, incomplete rest but start at a work:rest ratio of 1:6 - 8 and work down...I would still suggest using a drop off because there's no point continuing to train if your quality has dropped so much you're building far more fatigue then actual capacity.

Aerobic Power - 2mins or longer of activity, full rest with a work:rest ratio of 1:3 - 5 depending on how "naturally" aerobic you are

Aerobic Capacity - 2mins or longer of activity, incomplete rest with a work"rest ratio of 1:1 - 3 starting with 3 and working down to 1

As a general rule - work power before capacity because you can't build repeat efforts of something you don't already have.

Here's a little homework for you - take note of some of the training sessions you done on your own and/or with your team and see how many of these have been covered and let me know your results via the Aussie Rules Training Facebook page.

Also don't forget the Aussie Rules "Ultimate Footy Training Manual" that you can purchase via the Paypal link at the top of the page for your full 12 month footy training program.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Footy Off Season Training So Far

Last year finished with a house move immediately after Christmas hence my absence but now that the Internet is up and going I'm back!!

You might  remember my post from Sep/Oct last year detailing my goals for my off season training.

My immediate goal from way back in October, as always is to increase sprinting speed which I detailed my plan to do so in the post linked above.

My other immediate goal was to build a foundation to increase my aerobic capacity which will then move to aerobic power and some then lactic power from late Jan onwards until mid March for our first practice game.

As the plan dictated I had 3 blocks laid out:

Block 1 - High Force, Low Velocity (max strength) x 6 weeks

Block 2 - Moderate Force, Moderate Velocity (power) x 3 weeks

Block 3 - Low Force, High Velocity (max velocity) x 3 weeks

FYI, max strength is the highest load you can lift irrespective time. Power can be broken up into strength speed and speed strength referring to moving a sort of heavy load with a moderate amount of speed or moving a light load with pretty high velocity. Max Velocity is a light load, or unloaded in regards to bodyweight, moved as fast as you possibly can.

I trained each quality with the same exercise for 3 days in a row then rested for 4 days before changing exercises.

For the 6 week max strength block I used the following exercises:

Half Back Squat Lockout working up to 155kgs -

Half Front Squat Lockout working up to 135kgs

Front Squats working up to 90kgs -

Bottom Front Squat working up to 75kgs -

Front Squat with 3sec Isometric working up to 82.5kgs -

Timed Front Squats 5 reps in 5 secs working up to 40kgs -

I used a load drop off of 7% meaning once I hit my 1 rep max then I dropped the weight by 75 and continued to do singles until I rep quality dropped. For times squats I dropped 7% and continued with 5 reps in 5 secs.

If you look close enough the theory is to start with high force (meaning highest load) and work down so the load decreases and thus you're velocity increases slightly each week. You'll see one week I predicted my order wrong and slipped back and then going back up the next week but no biggie.

Block 2 moved to power where I did these exercises x 3 weeks:

Trap Bar Jump Squats with minimal knee bend -

Steep Hill Sprint with a best 30m sprint time of 5.84secs

Resisted Sled Sprint with my fastest time being with just the sled itself (obviously) over 15m for 2.69secs.

My drop off for this power phase was different for each week. For jump squats I gauged on jump height and absorption to output time, for hill sprints I seemed to get faster each day so once I hit the previous days best time then I called it quits. For sled sprints I had a load range I worked in and then did some back off sets each day.

Block 3 shifted to max velocity sprinting with my 3 exercises being:

Slight Hill Sprint over 30m for a best time of 5.03secs

Flat Ground 30m Sprint for a best time of 4.03secs

Slight Downhill Sprint over 30m for a best time of 3.01secs

I did upper body using the same principles on 3 of the 4 days I rested legs.

The theory behind the entire set up is that you over train max strength for 6 weeks, which should theoretically take 6 weeks to 'bounce back" but at a higher level.

Then you overtrain power x 3 weeks which takes 3 weeks to bounce back at a higher as well.

So once you hit the back end of the max velocity block, you're max strength and power levels are increased from where you started at the same time, essentially peaking your performance.

I have since moved straight to a conditioning block which I'll detail in a future post but 5 - 10 after my last max velocity session (Christmas Eve) I posted had these results:

40m Sprint in 5.00secs (personal best - did a 5.56sec last year and 6.22secs the year before).

30m Sprint in 3.72secs.

20m Sprint in 3.00secs (couldn't better my 2.94sec I did just after my 10,000 Swing program unfortunately).

I have nit yet been able to test in a definitive non-fatigued state yet and won't get the chance for a little while yet either.

My current conditioning program is 16 workouts usually done over 4 weeks that I'm squeezing into 24 days, which included 3 days while I moved house so really closer to 3 weeks.

Then I launch into more aerobic and lactic power stuff until March which I could condense a down a bit more as well I think which will hopefully give me the chance to do 1 last speed block before our first practice match.

Remember most of my pre-season training is taken from the Ultimate Footy Training Manual which has a full years training from off season to finals all covered in it - you just do the work minus the planning! Head to the Paypal link at the top of the page to order.

You shan't be disappointed!