Friday, May 15, 2015

In-Season Training Musings

If you remember back to earlier this year I had a what I thought was minor blow out of my lower back. As it turned out it got progressively worse and resulted in me not being able to run, sprint and jump, as well as pretty much next to zero leg work in the gym, for around 6 weeks.

It only came good for practice match number 1 in mid March so I've spent the last 10 or so weeks trying to get myself back to the strength level I was at pre-back blow out.

So from that I have needed to alter my training to fit where I'm at physically. We're 5 games in with the 6th tomorrow and the back has been fine for the most part in each game but it can pull up a bit stiff in the days following games. Oh, and I'm almost 37 and not the spring chicken I used to be!

So my aim is now to be as fully rested for game days as I can be so my training is sub maximal at best and even when my HRV app says I can train intensely, I will only train with "intensity" on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

With all of that in mind, here's what I've been up to:

Rehab - for my lower back rehab I started using a technique that I'd been reading about for a while now but had never actually performed called Be Activated which is a muscle activation technique made popular by a South African physio Doug Heel. I'll probably do a long winded post on this very soon but you can read a bit about here. He's just come to Australia for the 1st tome this past April so it's very new to Australia but of course Jonny-on-the-spot (me) had his dvd's prior to that as I couldn't attend any of his courses. Anyway they're pretty fantastic and now serves as much warm up for training and games.

Lower Body Strength - so even though my lower back came "running/sprinting good", it has taken a lot longer to become "gym good", especially in regards to deadlifts and squats. The back just wasn't feeling spinal loading that well  so I had to find some alternatives. So to train the deadlift pattern I opted for romanian deadlifts after working up to those with 1 dumbbell deadlifts off a step - an exercise I use with 1st session beginner clients in the studio - that's how little loading I could use initially. I worked these up pretty slowly and have just "maxed out' this week on those. The 2nd alteration I had to make was to get rid of back or front squats and use a modified landmine / belt squat which worked sensationally up to a point.

It's a bitch to set up and to be honest you probably couldn't get it happening in a public gym but I own my studio so I can do what I want!! I think this set is with 105kgs which I could do no worries but when I tried to amp it up to 125 it was too hard to load up and move the step away on my own - with a partner it would be fine though. No spinal loading, no worries.

Lower Body Explosiveness - there is a huge correlation between standing long jump and acceleration sprinting speed.

So as my pulling up from games ability has somehow left me in the last year and a bit (upsetting), I need to find alternative ways to train speed. I'm playing deep full forward out of the square this year so all my running is pretty much 90 - 95% sprints during a game so I only need to supplement that with something to assist with speed development. So I have just come off a 3 week cycle of sub maximal standing long jumps which I will retest next week. Training sub maximally means you train at around 70 - 90% and the focus is on practicing the lift but with limited fatigue build up. I did 8 x 3 at 75% of pre tested distance, 8 x 2 at 80% then 8 x 2 at 85%.

Program Design - now that I have built my strength back up I can now program for strength maintenance through speed strength and strength speed methods but also with some auto regulation thrown in to manage fatigue and to make sure that only quality work is being performed to again minimise fatigue. I've made up 3 parameters that I'll use in my training:

Speed - more reps then secs time per set (5 reps in 3secs for example)

Power - same reps in same secs time per set (5 reps in 5secs for example)

Force - less reps then secs time per set (2 reps in 5secs for example)

I haven't quite worked this out yet but I have a fair idea of what my max numbers are so I can gauge what training effect I'm after for that day (speed, power or strength) then use the recommendation from above for whatever I choose to train.

Schedule - just a quick bit on my schedule you must be aware by now that I don't train with my team because of work commitments so I can set my own schedule which so far this year has been upper body Tuesday, lower body Wednesday and Upper body again Thursday which seems to be working well as far as being fresh for game day is concerned. I can't train everything I want to train though but that can be a good thing as then I'm only including the absolute necessities and seeing as though 80% of your results will come from 20% of the things you do, making that 20% is critical.