Friday, January 29, 2016

Conditioning Methods I'm Using Right Now

If you're over on the ART Facebook page then you'll be receiving my daily updates on what I did for training that day. Right now I'm in the middle of my conditioning phase which consists of 2 blocks.

Block 1 was the preparation phase which was 9 sessions in 13 days that I have completed.

Block 2 is the main conditioning phase which will be 16 sessions that I aim to complete in no longer then 4 weeks. I'm almost at the end of week 1 today.

So what I want to do is talk a little about the methods I'm using for my conditioning of which you may never even knew existed.

For block 1 I used 3 different methods being High Resistance Intervals (HRI), Explosive Repeats (ER) and Aerobic Plyometrics (AP).

HRI improve the aerobic abilities of your fast twitch muscle fibers which are you fast an explosive fibers but they fatigue very quickly. This method can help extend the time to fatigue for these muscle fibers by supplying them with constant oxygen. You must use a mode of training that provides resistance such as hill sprints and cardio machines that allow for very heavy resistance to be used. I did manual treadmill, as high as it can go resisted cross trainer, heavy ropes and tall kneeling boxing. Do 15 - 20 x 10 - 12secs per session.

ER improves the fast twitch muscle fiber's aerobic repetitive power output by developing the slow twitch muscle fibers rate of oxidation meaning you fast fibers can recover faster between explosive bursts. You need to choose an explosive exercise, weighted or unweighted, and also be able to do 1 rep per second or thereabouts during these sets so look at plyometric push ups, bounds, low jumps, or even basic lifts done explosively with lighter resistance. I did band resisted feet elevated glute bridges and overspeed eccentric squats with my portable power jumper and push ups for 2 of the 3 days. You'll need to do 6 - 10 x 8 - 14secs x 2 series per exercise x 2 - 3 exercises per sessions, Rest 60 - 40secs between sets and 8 - 10mins between exercises too. So start with lower reps and higher rest and increase/decrease over time.

AP aims to improve the aerobic abilities of the fast twitch muscle fibres meaning higher power can be maintained for longer. Each rep should be of moderate intensity which means you need to choose your exercises carefully and do 5 - 15secs x 10 - 20mins with 30 - 10secs rest between exercises. I did a full on circuit for this consisting of line jumps, lateral line jumps, on spot sprints, low foot squat jumps, wideouts, skipping, ankle jumps, band assisted ankle jumps, rebound bench press, drop catch and throw bench press, plyometric push up, band assisted plyometric push up, rebound standing angle presses, alternate step toe taps, side to side step toe taps, step wideouts, on off step jumps, resisted sled bounds, square jumps, hops and jumps over low objects! Quite a list!!

You'll see that I didn't run at all during this preparation phase for a few reasons.

1 - Running bores the shit out of me

2 - My knee isn't quite 100% yet

3 - The lower back was stiff iffy as well

EDIT - Part 2 can be found here.

All these conditioning methods, and the one's I'll describe on part 2 of this series, all come from probably the greatest conditioning manual there is to date - Ultimate MMA Conditioning by Joel Jamieson. He specialises in training fighters which is why it's titles as such but the methods can be used to suit any goal for any sport. Almost the best $70 I ever spent.

This is light years ahead of repeat 100m sprints you still might be doing at your current footy training. This is actual science and I'd love to hear a coach give me their reasons for doing some of things they do for fitness. If it's not backed by some form of evidence then there's probably a better way to spend this time and get far better results from it too.

Remember I'm available for team and personal online strength and conditioning coaching whether you want to me to look over your personal or team's training program, set a program for a specific goal (speed, strength etc) or you just want some feedback on anything. Let me know via the Facebook page or PM from there.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Must Read for Coaches - How to Train January Flyers

It's the 3rd week of Jan which means your team training will be back in the swing of things with only 11 or so weeks until round 1 - that's 22 team sessions!

As a coach you'll no doubt have that core of senior blokes who showed up back in November and hasn't missed a session. They're right where you want them to be and ready for the final slog to peak in April.

But what about the blokes who didn't show up last year and are now trickling through for training now?

I've played enough football to know these blokes. There your 2nd tier players more then likely. They're the players who could cement a senior spot pretty much every week if they committed for the full 9 months. They'll be your bottom 6 - 8 senior players but also you're top 5 reserves players.

In a sense they can make or break your team's fortunes.

We've all heard the term "you're only good as your bottom 6" which is very true the higher the grade you play but not always true in lower grades but if you have 18 - 20 'senior trained" players then you'll start well, hopefully have less injuries, be able to off set injuries your players do actually get from greater depth and have a pretty successful season.

Getting back to our "January Flyers" - here's what you should do with them.

Do not train them entirely with the main group.

Hold up a minute, I said entirely.

Separate their fitness work is what I really mean.

The top group has more then likely done all the aerobic base work already. They've lowered their resting heart rates and thus their ability to recover quickly between bouts of intense efforts. They are now ready for some lactic type work, where if you've read this blog before, will know shouldn't really be trained until about 4 weeks pre-practice games.

The second group will need to go back to the first groups November training plan, you can't just have them skip the base training and expect them to make any fitness strides. It won't happen and they'll get injured - I guarantee that!

So a training session might look like this with 2 groups:

1 - Warm up for both groups focusing on the new players to the track but use shorter and slower running sets or the warm up becomes they're actual training session and the actual training session wrecks there entire week on and off the field.

2 - Speed work for both groups but where the first group might be doing acceleration and max velocity work, group 2 will only do the acceleration work with longer rest between sets but both groups will work speed for the same total amount of time. Alternatively the 2nd group can start on skill work while waiting for the first group finishes up sprint work.

3 - Skills drills performed by both groups but group 1 doing all short to medium skill drills and not the long drills. Nothing kills a skill drill like players that can;t keep up but you can pull them out now, unlike in-season, as you have more time to train and more energy resources to train with.

4 - Group 2 finishes with aerobic capacity work which should start at 15 - 20mins at 65% intensity or at a 3 - 4 out of 10 rate of perceived exertion. It's probably a slow jog for these blokes and if they can't keep a conversation while doing it then they're going to fast. or trying to go too fast. Aerobic capacity work is long but it's easy - make sure it's easy!

Have the group 2 players extra aerobic capacity work out in their own time buy slowly increasing the time to 60mins while maintaining the 3 - 4/10 rpe. They should complete at least 10 sessions of aerobic capacity work before doing any lactic work that isn't in a skill drill.

It might all look like this:

Week 1 - 3 aerobic capacity sessions x 15, 20 and 25mins = 60mins total doing 2 sessions at team training and 1 on their own.
Week 2 - 3 aerobic capacity sessions x 30, 35, 40mins - 80mins total doing 2 sessions at team training and 1 on their own.
Week 3 - 3 aerobic capacity sessions x 45, 50, 55mins = 170mins total doing 2 sessions at team training and 1 on their own.
Week 4 - 1 aerobic capacity sessions x 60mins = 210mins at team training.

For speed training, which is also vital at the start of training for any player in any sport, the 4 weeks will look like this:

Week 1 - 2 speed sessions at team training
Week 2 - 3 speed sessions doing 2 at team training and 1 on their own.
Week 3 - 3 speed sessions doing 2 at team training and 1 on their own.
Week 4 - 3 speed sessions doing 2 at team training and 1 on their own.

Stay away from any max velocity work that isn't performed in a skill drill until this 4 week block is completed.

Important - Let the players know what you plan for them. Let them know why they'll be doing this and how it will benefit them. This is not a punishment by any means, it';s about getting the most out of them in the time you have. Let them know they're still in contention for senior selection come round 1 but that you don't expect them to be at full fitness by then so they will still be a bit of work to complete to get to "senior fitness' during the early rounds of the season.

This all sounds like a lot of work so if you want the load taken off your hands then I'm available for some fitness coach consultancy if you don't have a strength and conditioning coach at your club so let me know if you need help.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Timeline of My Knee Rehab Part 2

So during part 1 we reached the end of November and here's where I had accomplished since August when I first did the knee:

- got my front squat strength back up to 100kgs in about 4 weeks
- worked front squat lockouts up to 130kgs in the next 4 weeks after front squats
- worked my pistol squat down to almost, if not, parallel on the injured right knee in about 6 weeks
- finally started medium sloped hill sprints after 106 not being able to run with some knee pain but nothing bad enough to stop me (I'm amazing)
- and I had just started romanian deadlifts triphasic training style for posterior chain strength and some reactive (hate the term agility ladder - it doesn't build actual agility people!!) to lower leg stiffness and to start putting some force into the ground on a frequent basis.

My next steps were to improve ground reactive force with high force using these principles:

 - High to Low Force

 - Low to High Velocity

 - Low to High Impact

I also planned not to start any other conditioning work until I've completed all my planned speed work.

So how have I ended up? Read on.

Days 1 to 8 - performed 3 sessions up the medium steep hill x 10, 15 then 20 sets of about 25m with the fastest set at 4.25secs. Triphasic romanian deadlifts up to 77.5kgs for 5 x 1 with 5sec eccentrics.

Days 10 to 15 - performed 3 sessions up the very steep hill x 7, 10 and 11 sets of about 27m with the fastest set being 5.50secs. Triphasic romanian deadlifts up to 82.5kgs for 4 x 1 with 5sec eccentric.

Days 17 to 23 - performed 3 sessions of sled resisted sprints with day 1 being 10m, day 2 being 10 and 20m and day 3 being 20m. Triphasic romanian deadlifts with 5sec eccentrics topped out at 4 x 1 2 85kgs then I shifted to 3sec isometrics stating back at 6 x 1 and finishing this week "block" at 85kgs as well for those.

Days 25 to 36 - performed various sprints over 10, 20 and 30m at bodyweight. Triphasic romanian deadlifts up to 97.5kgs for 4 x 1 by the end of this block. Had a somewhat testing day Christmas eve with a fair bit of fatigue built up from the previous 5 - 6 weeks and wasn't great but I time all my sprints and I hadn't been fast for weeks. Not a huge worry as I'm still in the "getting back to top speed" phase.

I had Christmas day and the next 2 days off to recover from the decent workload pre-Christmas and planned my next block which was aimed at improving ground force reaction again as well as reactiveness with depth vertical and long jumps.

During my third session of this I trained on a day that my HRV said to take off but alas I battled on and blew the back out! Didn't feel real bad when I did it but it hung around a bit longer then past blow ups and I didn't stand up straight for at least a good week after it! Still feel it a tad now actually.

So I had to alter my plan.

The depth jump blitz was to run for about 3 and a half weeks and then I had planned to start my aerobic conditioning block but as any form of impact was again out of the question (not cool) I shifted my aerobic block forward. Most of my conditioning stuff is 'off legs" stuff like cross trainer, boxing, manual treadmill, ropes etc so impact is minimal.

So my first block of aerobic conditioning I'm doing high resistance intervals x 3 sessions, explosive repeats x 3 sessions and aerobic plyometrics x 4 sessions. These are all methods taken from Joel Jamieson's book Ultimate MMA Conditioning which is THE go-to guide for conditioning these days.

I'll actually post what each of these are and how they improve your conditioning in a future post.

So right now my back is pretty good (finally), the knee is fine although I still feel and have some restriction there but I still haven't had it looked at but I have a MRI referral if I need it.

After my 10 "prep" conditioning sessions I then have another 12 conditioning sessions which is the main program followed by a 13 session speed block based on some of Chris Korfists's stuff. While I'm out of sprinting action I'm doing all the speed prep and warm up drills so I'm more then ready to go for the full sprints.

This will take me right up to April 5th which is the Tuesday before round 1 so without another hick-up (knock on wood), I'll be primed to kick a bag round 1!

This is my plan so what does yours look like? If you don't have one then try the one I made up for the Ultimate Aussie Rules Training Manual!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Best of from ART 2015

If you're a like-ee of the ART Facebook page (and why wouldn't you be?), then you might have seen that I just completed my Aussie Rules Training Best of 2015 list where I posted my best posts from last year.

To simply make it easier for navigation purposes I'm going to pop all the links in here and you can go at it!

I'll be back to new content in a few days time!!

Get Fit

In-Season Tools

Get Explosive

Peak for Finals Footy

Become the Full Package

Off / Pre-Season Training Planning

Team Training Session Planning


Get Faster

Training Planning

So you could read/watch all of these 14 posts, break them all down and try to make a plan out of all it (and a bloody good one it would be too!) or just outlay $100 dollarydoos for the Ultimate ART Manual that has a full 10 month training program in it with everything taken care of. You read it, then do it! I couldn't make it any easier for you really.