In-Season Training For Local Footballers

This is a little look at how the majority of our footballers have trained in the last 4 weeks.

Remember the goal of in-season training is to perform at our best on game day. We do that by taking care of current injuries/niggles, maintaining or improving fitness/athletic qualities like strength, speed and endurance, and work to prevent (minimise the risk of) injuries in the future.

Before you go through the training week below, keep these principles in mind...

1- Maintain or increase load and intensity. Even though you're fatigued from competing on a weekly basis, keep the intensity high (that means move fast and move heavy).

2- Reduce range of motion to prevent unnecessary soreness.

3- Reduce volume. Volume is basically the number of reps you do for a given exercise. Notice how many reps we do per main lift (mostly 2's and 3's each set).

4- Minimise variety. Variety (changing exercises from week to week, month to month) leads to soreness. We don't want that. Pick 6 key lifts, get really efficient at them, lift heavy, lift fast, rinse and repeat.

5- Use active recovery methods to flush out game day soreness.

6- Focus on current niggles, previous injuries and potential future injuries. You'll have sore spots and small injuries pop up in-season, fix them first. Then put time into spots you've had issues with in the past. Then, look at your sport and current weaknesses, and work on that.

7- Auto-regulate. Have a plan but be flexible with that plan - especially early in the week. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday have a lot of wiggle room depending on how you pull up from the game. You may have to use dumbbells instead of a barbell. Or reduce range. Or skip strength entirely and do conditioning instead. Don't be afraid to stray from the "program" - the program outlined in the slides went for 4 weeks, I don't think any week went exactly as planned.

8- Get in extra "off-leg" conditioning if possible. It'll give you a leg up come finals time.

afl strength and conditioning and weight training

Here's exactly what we have done the last few weeks.



Notes - Sunday's change from week to week depending on how we pulled up and what we did the night before (we're just local footballers after all). A non-negotiable is a cold water plunge for 10-15mins at the beach or pool.

Ideally, we'd get in 15-20 mins of light recovery work on a stationary bike, rower, ski erg or air bike, maybe some basic bodyweight movements like push-ups, rows, air squats and lunges. Followed by a sauna and cold water contrast for 30-60min. The most important thing we can do Saturday night and Sunday is focus on our sleep and nutrition.

Note - our strength warm-up stays the same every day. Instead of writing it for each day, here it is: 2x10 ab wheel + inverted rows and 2x5 KB swings and glute-ham raise.


Strength -

1- TB deadlifts 3 x 2-3

2- Front or back squat 3 x 2-3

3- BB overhead press 3 x 3-5

4a- Reverse hyper 2-3 x 15

4b- Adductor plank 2-3 x 30 sec L/R

4c- Slant board step downs 2-3 x 10-15

Optional (but recommended) conditioning -

3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute on 5 ergo's (c2 bike, assault bike, echo bike, rower, ski erg) = 30-ish mins. Nasal only.

Goal - We're pretty sore on Monday's so we adjust as much as we need to - some days we'll feel shit and squat to a high box or deadlift from blocks. Other days we'll feel good and go for a bit more range. Some days will be lighter, some days will be heavier. Some days we'll drop the reps and/or the volume. The goal of the cardio is to flush out as much soreness as we can.

TUESDAY: Strength + skills

Strength -

1- Bench press 3 x 3

2- Bench pull 3 x 4

3- Dead hang pull-ups 3 x 6

4a- Tibialis./toe raises 3 x 25

4b- DB shrugs 3 x 20

4c- Banded external rotations 3 x 15

Skills training at the oval

Goal - As Monday was lower body-focused, and we will be training after this session, today is upper body-focused. Our goal is to hit some heavy numbers, hit our accessories and then perform well at training.

Notice that Monday and Wednesday's sessions are basically the same with minor changes to movement range (and therefore intensity) and volume. Same goes for Tuesday and Thursday.


Strength -

1- TB deadlifts 2 x 2 (from 2 blocks)

2- Front or back box squat 2 x 2 (to high box)

3- BB overhead press 3 x 2-3

4a- Reverse hyper 2-3 x 15

4b- Adductor plank 2-3 x 30 sec L/R

4c- Slant board step downs 2-3 x 10-15

5- Bear carry 3 x 30 sec with heavy d-ball

Optional (but recommended) conditioning -

10:50 or 15:45 x 20 any erg (preferably an air bike)


10 x 500m row or ski (rest 1:1 or 1:2)

Goal - Wednesday = biggest session of the week. The halfway point. Should be recovered from the game and looking to get a really solid session in before we taper down a little for the weekends game. Conditioning is higher intensity to improve our ability to repeatedly perform high-intensity efforts.

THURSDAY: Strength + skills

Strength -

1- Foam roller press 2 x 2

2- Weighted pull-ups 3 x 2

3- Incline DB row 3 x 6-8

4a- Tibialis./toe raises 3 x 25

4b- DB shrugs 3 x 20

4c- Banded external rotations 3 x 15

Skills training at the oval

Goal - This is our last heavy session of the week and is predominantly upper-body focused to give the legs an extra rest before the weekend. We stick to 2's and 3's most of the week to keep the volume a little lower and allow us to hit some heavier weights.



Basically just a pump or "guns and buns" session. It's not necessary but it's enjoyable and certainly doesn't take away from our performance tomorrow. It's also good to move around the day before a game and minimise time spent on the couch.


Notice how the lifts during the week are all basically the same - horizontal push twice a week. Overhead press twice a week. Squat twice a week. Deadlift twice a week. Accessories for commonly injured areas twice a week.

If you minimise variety in your training you can load up these lifts, move them fast and handle more volume without getting sore. Training this way allows you to actually get stronger/more explosive during the season and this pays off come finals time, when most other teams are limping to the finish line.



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