Monday, October 23, 2017

My Off-Season Training Part 1 - Function and Contraction

Our last game for season 2017 was all the way back on August 27th.

I can't do too many days off without training of some sort so I was pretty much straight back into it 3 or 4 days later.

Looking ahead with my off-season plan I broke my training up into FUNCTION and CONTRACTIONS.

Function refers to the specific actions or movements I wanted to work on and contractions refers to the speed and/or tempo at which I train at.

FYI, my focus is 805 lower body and 20% upper body and the following info refers mostly to my lower body training. To be honest, I only have upper days to do something on my training days where the lower body needs to rest.

My function list is:

 - Big Toe
 - Hip lock Position
 - Ankle Rocker
 - Foot/Ankle/Lower Leg Stiffness

Big Toe

Being able to mobile the big toe, as in lift it off the floor in isolation, provides the vital link to connecting your feet (that are the first point of gathering force from the ground), to the hamstrings and glutes so the less force your feet can absorb, the less force you'll get through to the middle of the body, and the slower and more injury prone you'll be. This is barely training as you simply need to raise your toes up and hold for designated time so there's really no excuses for not doing this.

Hip Lock Position

The hip lock position is a single leg stance with the opposite leg in hip flexion with a slightly elevated pelvis on the hip flexion side. It trains the muscles in and around the hip and pelvis to automatically co-contract and decreasing muscle slack, improving the time it takes you to apply force to the ground.

Ankle Rocker

This refers to how far you can rock your lower leg back and forth over the foot and ankle when it is on the ground. For years PT's have been rolling with a "no toes past the knees' mantra which robs you of horizontal displacement, which is what running, a pretty big part of football, is all about. Ankle rocker can be limited by strength, mobility, flexibility and past injuries meaning we could all do with training this.

Foot/Ankle/Lower Leg Stiffness

What rally sets the elite sprinters apart from even Olympic long jumpers (who are often not quite fast enough sprinters), is the ability ti stiffen the lower leg just prior to ground contact. This results in your foot holding it's shape with limited deformity and therefore less time on the ground, equaling more time moving forwards. Think of a half flat footy bouncing off the ground, slow and low, versus a fully pumped up footy bouncing off the ground, fast and high.

My contraction list is:

 - Isometric Push
 - Isometric Pull
 - Isometric Switch
 - Isometric Catch
 - Eccentric
 - Isometric Hold
 - Reactive

I'll detail these in another blog in the next few days.

For September, I put together a little regeneration + GPP block to recover from season 2017 but to keep training going, albeit light and low intensity, while I get my home gym set up.

I put together 3 training days for this training period:

Day 1 - Full Body Gym using isometric holds x 60 - 120secs per exercise where I alternated between different days
Day 2 - 1 exercise each for my function list + some extensive medicine ball work for the upper body + some abs work
Day 3 - Sprints
Day 4 - Off
Day 5 - Repeat but start with 2nd full body gym isometric day

After 2 - 3 weeks I altered the full body gym days to isometric holds x 20 - 60secs + 10 - 20 reps per exercise.

In my next post I'll run through the what's, why's and how's of my testing week.

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