Fighting Series – Getting Ready to Get Fit to Fight

So I want to talk generally about training for martial arts but before getting into specifics I want to outline and qualify a few things. Firstly, I am not going to get into the physiology and science of training…I am happy to do that after if people would like me to but I don’t think it’s the best use of my time. The best way to do that if you are interested though is for me to point you in the right direction to get after it yourself because most of it is a matter of just reading up. Personally I have never stopped reading and never stopped studying either. I did yet another unit of advanced exercise physiology and neuroscience last semester and I was bored beyond believe talking about it and writing about it ‘academically’…it is boring as hell and I would much rather write and talk with you about the practical and real life implications of the material in question. I figure that we can define some terms and talk about the components of strength and conditioning along with some of the ‘traditional’ ways in which people approach there physical preparedness for martial arts.

One of the problems that some people have when they are considering the topic of strength and conditioning is that they don’t really know what they are looking at when they are looking at displays of what they think of as ‘fitness’. When some people say a particular athlete is ‘fit’ some people are talking about the appearance of their physique…and even then some people are saying they are ‘fit’ because they are super lean and yet others because the athlete in question is jakt. Some people think of fitness as speed and power and yet others as endurance. So we need to ensure that we are properly defining the terms. I always get people asking me ‘How can I improve my fitness?’ and what they are after is always some attribute on the athletic spectrum with power on one end and endurance on the other and with things like speed, anaerobic power and repeatability along with strength in between. Sometimes what they are after is improvements in EVERYTHING which is fine as well.

To save some time and so people can bail on this post now if I’ve already bored the hell out of them…I will get to the ‘take home’ points right up front:

1. You can’t improve everything at once.

2. You need to ensure you are focussing and prioritising the attributes that are going to give you the greatest returns with regards performance in your chosen martial art.

More on these take home points later.

So where to start….that’s simple.

Fitness Assessment

“If you are not assessing you are guessing.” – Someone awesome (Years Ago)

Put simply if you aren’t testing and measuring then you have no way of monitoring the effects of any intervention (training or training alterations) you put in place. Winning fights is not a way to measure the ‘effectiveness’ of your training…winning fights is how you measure the effectiveness of your fighting. You can be a bad athlete and a great fighter and vice versa.

So what comes first with regards fitness assessment.

Mobility and Stability

This is always where I start because it has by far the biggest impact on your overall performance.

I am planning to delve into all this area as with the others I outline here in detail but to start this series I just really want to give you an overview of where I am coming from.

If your mobility and stability is appropriate (again…I will define this in detail in later posts) then your chances of acquiring a chronic injury are almost non existent. Your chances of acquiring an acute injury are also greatly reduced…for sure freak accidents are unavoidable in contact sports but having appropriate mobility and stability will pretty much reduce your chance of injury to just that…freak accidents.

Here’s a really simple and easily repeatable test of functional mobility.

You can do it regularly and video it and monitor your progress.

Speed, Agility and Fitness Testing

This is what I think comes next because when it comes to martial arts…strength and power is great but if you are unprepared to ‘go the distance’ then your chances of being able to use your strength and power are severely limited. The spider test has always been my ‘go to’ test in this regard. I think for martial arts it’s hard to find a more economical test…in that you can test lots of attributes individually but this is a test that stresses all your attributes simultaneously. The spider test is 6 x 30 seconds efforts with 30 seconds recovery between efforts…the fastest and most agile get the furthest on the first effort and the fittest athletes get the biggest total. This test gives you both fantastic objective and subjective data.

This is a video of me discussing fitness testing

Here is a video of a GAA player doing a modified spider test…probably the most appropriate fitness test for martial arts.

Here is a video of some Camogie players doing a traditional spider test

Here is a full description of the test….this is a pretty exciting video…you might want to get some popcorn

Strength, Power and Muscular Endurance

Here is a video description of basic testing.

Then below you will find a video outlining my thoughts and rationales for testing and testing methodologies.

Lower Body

Standing Broad Jump – I think this test is easier to administer and more reliable than a vertical jump.

Bodyweight Squat – Your body weight rounded up to the nearest 5kg and done to a depth below parallel for repetitions.

1RM or 3RM – Squat, Deadlift or TrapBar Deadlift – I’ve traditionally done 2 different tests. A 1RM trapbar deadlift at the beginning and end of each training cycle and a 3RM squat test mid cycle.

Upper Body

Push Ups – Repetitions in 60 seconds.

Inverted Rows – Repetitions in 60 seconds.

Bench Press –  Your body weight rounded up to the nearest 5kg and done for repetitions.

Pull Ups – Done for repetitions.

1RM Bench Press – Everyone wants to know….how much do you bench.

3RM Pull Ups – Weighted pull ups.

Conclusion

So that’s Fitness Assessment outlined. Firstly, you need to assess your mobility and stability and look for any areas of weakness or imbalance. Secondly, I think you need to assess your speed, agility and endurance and a modified 30/30 test is a great way to do that. Thirdly, you need to assess your power, strength and muscular endurance and again look for areas of weakness and imbalance.

 

 

Conditioning – On the rower

This post is basically just for you Darragh….because I know you need all the help you can get.

I am going to talk about ‘conditioning’ in its broader context at some stage but here I want to talk about the ways that I look to use the Concept II rower in particular…I am going to do so very briefly and will look to edit and expand this post if and when I get any questions about it…so this post will just be quick and to the point hopefully.

Firstly, like all aspects of strength and conditioning it is important to understand the continuum that you are looking at…in this case with the rower this continuum has sprint work at one end…something like max effort work over 100-200 metres….an effort of…just for the sake of discussion…of say 15-30 seconds at one end and a more endurance based effort at the other….typically and again for the sake of discussion 2000+ metres or more….now…before people start picking this to pieces…there is a difference between doing a ‘training’ 2000 metre effort and a ‘competition’ or ‘race pace’  2000 metre effort…a race pace 2k that I might do in 6min and 45 seconds puts very different demands on my body than a training 2k that I might do in 8+ minutes…what we are essentially talking about here with this continuum we are looking at is a max effort sustainable for 15-30 seconds at one end and an effort sustainable for an extended period of time at the other….with everything else in between. This everything else includes a multitude of various interval sessions and efforts placing a variety of differing demands on the body.

So with that in mind….if you are looking at improving your rowing you first have to decide what elements of your rowing you are looking to develop….are you looking to improve your sprint capacity or your endurance capacity….are you looking to improve your power or are you looking to improve you aerobic work capacity?

The important thing to understand is that you can’t ignore one while focusing on the other….this is the mistake that people make in all forms of training. People fail to understand that all elements and aspects of training have their own continuum on which they fall.

This is why you read countless articles about powerlifters who suddenly reach another level after doing something outside the element of the strength continuum on which they are focussed….all the focus on is pure strength work…working at the lower end of say the 1-5 rep range for example who then start introducing some prowler work….or start going for a walk….start doing some strongman training….it doesn’t matter what it is….they get an improvement because they start making gains in some other element of the continuum and as a result of this their general performance improves. Do you follow?

It is the same with work on the rower….if you want to improve your sprint capacity then the principle of specificity holds true and the bulk of your training should be focused on this area but it shouldn’t exclude everything else. You want to get better at pure power work….you should do plenty of that…BUT if you really want to get good…you should also do some sprint intervals….do some long intervals…..and do some endurance work….because they all feed into each other. Naturally the inverse is also true….if you want to improve your aerobic capacity…your endurance than that should make up the bulk of the work you do…but you also need to include some long intervals….some sprint intervals and some pure power work.

As with all elements of training…it is about getting the balance right.

Now to Darragh’s question specifically and again in brief…if I was rowing for fat loss….what I would do is this:

Do 1km…get off the rower…have a bit of a stretch and loosen up. I’d get back on the rower and do 10x150m with 30 seconds recovery between efforts…I’d bury myself on these…then I would advise you fall off the rower…if you are still alive a few minutes later I would get back on and row and easy 2-5km depending on how much time you had and how fat you are.

The long arms of the law…don’t make benching easy

Since I mentioned that template yesterday I thought I would give you a look at the results of someone that has been following it.

Detective X tested today you can find the previous post regarding his training and testing here.

I thought I would put up all his results…he’s been training with me for 2 months so he tested 3 times.

Testing Session 1
Weight: 105.3kg
Skinfolds:
Bicep – 9
Tricep – 13
Subscapular – 19
Suprailliac – 18
Mid Axilla – 18
Abdomen – 31
Thigh – 17
Calf – 14
Total = 139mm

Bench – 80kg
Pull Ups – 4 reps
Push Ups – 35 reps
Inverted Rows – 8 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – Not done

6×30/30 Rowing Test:
Row 1 – 173
Row 2 – 161
Row 3 – 152
Row 4 – 143
Row 5 – 130
Row 6 – 127
Total = 886m

Testing Session 2
Weight: 104.9kg
Skinfolds:
Bicep – 7 down 2mm
Tricep – 12 down 1mm
Subscapular – 17 down 2mm
Suprailliac -13 down 5mm
Mid Axilla – 16 down 2mm
Abdomen – 23 down 8mm
Thigh – 13 down 4mm
Calf – 12 down 2mm
Total = 113mm down 26mm

Really pleased with this…anyone who has seen Detective X training will know why he’s improved so much…he has gone at it hard every session…this is what happens when you clean up your diet and work your arse off.

Bench – 95kg up 15kg
Pull Ups – 6 reps up 2 reps
Push Ups – 43 reps up 8 reps
Inverted Rows – 19 reps up 11 reps
Trap Bar Deadlift – 120kg (he has had a knee issue…we are just nursing this back to full power.)

6×30/30 Rowing Test:
Row 1 – 181 up 8m
Row 2 – 171 up 10m
Row 3 – 159 up 7m
Row 4 – 154 up 11m
Row 5 – 154 up 24m
Row 6 – 154 up 27m
Total = 973m up 87m

Testing Session 3 – This was this afternoon.

Today's Testing Results

Weight: 103.1kg
Skinfolds:
Bicep – 6
Tricep – 8
Subscapular – 15
Suprailliac -12
Mid Axilla – 13
Abdomen – 18
Thigh – 12
Calf – 11
Total = 95mm

So he’s down 44mm in total in 2 months. I am really happy with that…not as happy as he is…and certainly no where near as happy as the tailor that has been altering all his clothes is.

Bench – 100kg up 20kg on his first test.
Pull Ups – 8 reps up 4 reps on his first test.
Push Ups – 45 reps up 10 reps on his first test.
Inverted Rows – 26 reps up 18 reps on his first test.
Trap Bar Deadlift – 140kg he pulled this easy…we are still working on sorting his knees out…this was no where near max.

6×30/30 Rowing Test:
Row 1 – 186 up 13m
Row 2 – 175 up 14m
Row 3 – 171 up 19m
Row 4 – 163 up 20m
Row 5 – 163 up 33m
Row 6 – 161 up 34m
Total = 1019m up 133m

This is a massive improvement…if you want to know how big an improvement it is go and have a try yourself and see how you do…scoring over 185m on your 1st effort and totalling over 1000m for your total takes a bit of doing.

You’ll be amazed what happens when you come in and do what your told. Detective X is not a novice trainer….he’s been going to the gym regularly for a long, long time doing what most people do….a bit of this and a bit of that. I would like to see anyone argue that he hasn’t got a good return on his €210 investment in some proper coaching?

Testing for Rugby

I was asked a couple of questions regarding testing for rugby today. The questions regarded testing generally as well as testing for kids. Hopefully I answered those questions here:

Speed, Agility and Fitness Testing

That’s simple…the spider test. 6 30 seconds efforts with 30 seconds recovery between efforts…the fastest and most agile get the furthest on the first effort and the fitness get the biggest total. This test gives you both fantastic objective and subjective data. 

Strength, Power and Muscular Endurance

Lower Body

Standing Broad Jump – I think this test is easier to administer and more reliable than a vertical jump.

Bodyweight Squat – Your body weight rounded up to the nearest 5kg and done to a depth below parallel for repetitions.

1RM or 3RM – Squat, Deadlift or TrapBar Deadlift – We do 2 different tests. We do a 1RM trapbar deadlift at the beginning and end of each training cycle and a 3RM squat test mid cycle. 

Upper Body

Push Ups – Repetitions in 60 seconds.

Inverted Rows – Repetitions in 60 seconds.

Bench Press –  Your body weight rounded up to the nearest 5kg and done for repetitions.

Pull Ups – Your body weight rounded up to the nearest 5kg and done for repetitions.

1RM Bench Press – Everyone wants to know….how much do you bench.

3RM Pull Ups – Weighted pull ups.

If people have anymore questions or are looking for specifics…then let me know and we’ll keep it all here?

Just to put things in perspective

I got the following mail from Colm this evening and although it might not be of interest to everyone I know it will be of interest to everyone that trains with me. I’d be interested in know what the lads think?

Colm said
hi Will

heres the links to the aussie league

Sydney Morning Herald Article

League HQ Article

 

what you reckon?

This is the first article from the Sydney Morning Herald

CHRIS Beattie is on the wrong side of 30 and hasn’t played a game in Australia for two years but can now claim to be the strongest man in the NRL.
With the first match of the season just 43 days away, The Sun-Herald contacted all 16 clubs to determine the strongest, fastest and fittest men in the game.

Nine clubs tested the maximum bench press of their players during the pre-season, and veteran prop Beattie came out on top with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.

The stunning effort puts him above Melbourne forward Antonio Kaufusi, Manly premier league forward Sione Finefeuiaki and Eels trio Fuifui Moimoi, Richard Fa’aoso and Weller Hauraki, who can all bench 170kg.

New Zealand Warriors back-rower Sonny Fai registered a bench press of 185kg but is yet to make his debut in the NRL.

Their numbers are impressive, but they are well short of the mark set last season by former Manly colossus Kylie Leuluai, who benched 220kg – and did three repetitions.

Former Queensland prop Beattie, who returns to the NRL with the Sydney Roosters after a two-year stint with French Super League team Catalans Dragons, credited “good habits” and an injury-free run for his superb physical condition.

“From a weights point of view, as an older player you just program yourself ,” he said.

“After you’ve been doing it for a number of years you reach a certain strength. I believe I have got stronger at the end of my career.”

The 31-year-old, when told his lift was the highest in the league, played down the result.

“We primed ourselves for that lift,” he said. “It’s not a weight I throw around every week.

“It’s only one lift – I’m sure there are a lot of guys who do more chin-ups or push-ups.

“I don’t get too carried away with that sort of stuff.”

While Beattie’s lift is the heaviest, Sea Eagles halfback Matt Orford is, pound for pound, the strongest man in the league. Aptly nicknamed Ox, Orford can bench 160kg – twice his body weight.

Rather than measuring a one-repetition maximum (1rm) lift, several clubs tested how many times a player could bench his body weight.

St George Illawarra’s 101kg back-rower Sam Isemonger can do it 25 times, ahead of Kangaroos centre Matt Cooper (21).

Utility Luke MacDougall has also impressed teammates since joining from South Sydney, particularly after squatting his body weight 85 times on a one-legged press machine.

Several Dragons have added size to their frames in the off-season while decreasing their skinfold readings, most notably outside back Josh Morris (6kg), Cooper (4.5kg) and former Shark Beau Scott (4kg).

At the Roosters, 85 per cent of the squad are benching more this season than at any other time of their career.

Craig Wing and Anthony Minichiello are pressing 145kg and 150kg respectively.

Former Dragons hooker George Ndaira can squat 250kg and has been clocked at under five seconds during 40-metre sprints on grass.

Halfback Josh Lewis, the quickest man at the club, completed 31 chin-ups at a recent session.

Emerging forward Frank-Paul Nuuausala has trimmed from 125kg to 108kg and Willie Brown is 110kg, a far cry from the 130kg he weighed a couple of years ago.

Penrith winger Luke Rooney has knuckled down in the pre-season in an attempt to return to representative football and strength and conditioning coach Carl Jennings has rated him the club’s “best all-round athlete”.

The former Kangaroo’s figures are impressive. He can bench his own weight of 100kg 15 times, squat three times his body weight 65 times and shoulder press half his weight an amazing 49 times.

In an endurance assessment – in which Jennings tested how far the Panthers can run in one minute – Rooney recorded the best distance of 440m.

Those figures are expected to improve when the Panthers complete a round of testing this weekend.

In all, the Panthers’ skinfold levels have come down 30 per cent as part of new coach Matt Elliott’s focus on fitness and mobility.

“We’re a lot leaner and people will recognise that when we start playing,” Jennings said. “There’s no point looking like Tarzan if you play like Jane.”

Manly have gone through protein supplements worth $12,500 in the past three months in an attempt to bulk up their squad. The investment has paid off, with the players adding an average of 2.5kg of muscle during that period.

Tongan powerhouse Finefeuiaki won the Sea Eagles “strongman” contest although he does weights only once a week.

The real surprise packet has been Chris Hicks. The underrated outside back can bench his bodyweight of 90kg 27 times. He holds the club record for backs, benching 110kg 18 times and still being able to post sub-five-second 40m times.

At only 80kg, pint-sized half Travis Burns also trains above his weight – squeezing out a 150kg press.

Parramatta strength and conditioning coach Hayden Knowles believes he has one of league’s strongest men in former Rooster Richard Fa’aoso.

The Tongan international is also just behind Eric Grothe in 40m sprint testing.

“He’s the most powerful thing I’ve come across … and the quickest I’ve seen in a big guy,” Knowles said.

Benji Marshall has posted promising results in a series of “related power” assessments. Wests Tigers’ Kiwi playmaker averaged a vertical jump of 49.67cm over five jumps, pipping John Morris.

In Canberra, the average player weight has increased to 98.9kg, with 3.5kg less fat.

Leading the way in the strength department is prop Jason Williams, who benches 160kg and is able to squat 180kg for three repetitions.

Raiders strength and conditioning coach Sean Edwards, who worked with Wallabies stars during his time in rugby, described Williams as one of the strongest athletes he’s seen.

Only Souths, Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Bulldogs – who have not yet completed strength and speed testing – did not provide results or player rankings, but Brisbane’s performance director Dean Benton said the premiers were physically a month ahead of where they were at this stage last season.

This is the second article from League HQ
The men of league aren’t robots, but they train like machines – with this youngster showing he has horsepower to spare, writes Adrian Proszenko.

When Tim Mannah runs out to make his NRL debut, opponents will have plenty of ammunition.

The Parramatta prop is a former milkman who is abstaining from sex until he gets married.

In rugby league, that combination is tantamount to putting a dartboard on your head and begging to be sledged. However, his opponents might not want to get too cheeky, as Mannah can claim to be one of the strongest men in rugby league.

With the first match of the season just 25 days away, The Sun-Herald contacted all 16 clubs to determine the strongest, fastest and fittest men in the game.

Most of the clubs tested the maximum bench press of their players during the pre-season, and Mannah shares top spot with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.

The feat was equalled only by promising Penrith prop Sam McKendry and Bulldogs counterpart Sione “John” Kite.

The Eels copped a flogging on the field last year and they have been flogged mercilessly in pre-season to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Under the watchful eye of new coach Daniel Anderson, the Eels have been pushed to their limits.

Mannah, who turns 21 today, has responded to the challenge.

“He’s a machine when it comes to throwing weights around, he’s training the house down,” said Parramatta strength and conditioning coach Hayden Knowles.

Mannah is fit, too. No one had ever cracked the 400-metre barrier since the club measured the distance a player could travel on their rowing machine in 60 seconds.

Mannah jumped on the ergometer and clocked 401m. Meanwhile, Bulldogs skipper Andrew Ryan also excelled with 380m.

To put the figures in perspective, rugby sensation Ratu Nasiganiyavi had Waratahs trainers in a lather when he pulled 713m in two minutes.

Australian Schoolboys star Mannah, a candidate for a front row spot after Junior Paulo suffered a pectoral injury, hopes the hard work translates into an NRL debut.

“With the new coach coming in, everyone’s on a level playing field and we’re all trying to impress,” Mannah said. “Ando [Anderson] has really pushed us. Compared to last year, we’re that much tougher. Physical preparation won’t be an issue this year, that won’t be an excuse.”

Eric Grothe jnr is also thriving under the new regime. The Eels winger generates the most power on a non-motorised treadmill, which simulates game-day exertions, and can complete 28 chin-ups.

Bulldogs tyro Ben Barba notched 30, followed by teammate Brett Kimmorley with 27. But the king of the “chins” is Wests Tigers winger Peni Tagive with 36. After a seven-minute break, the Fijian youngster can also manage 49 dips.

McKendry also boasts impressive figures. The 20-year-old deadlifts 230kg and back squats 220kg to go with his impressive bench press. He is one of several Panthers to impress strength and conditioning coach Carl Jennings. Another is diminutive half Jarrod Sammut, who has added 7kg of muscle to his frame during the off-season.

Trent Waterhouse is up 5kg and Frank Pritchard 4kg. The latter runs an average of 26km during a typical week of training, consisting of four field sessions, a kilometre more than the club average.

Hooker Paul Aiton is the big improver and is considered the club’s best athlete, pound for pound. Last year he was ranked 10th in that category.

“With Luke Priddis not being around, he’s decided ‘this is my year’,” Carl Jennings said.

“He’s been sensational.”

The Bulldogs have a new team and a new attitude in 2009 if training results are any indication.

Kiwi international Matt Utai completed a 5km bike ride in just seven minutes and 24 seconds. Kite lost 10kg while maintaining his strength, while Yileen Gordon has shed 8kg. Several players are benching more than 150kg.

At the Titans, former Australian prop Luke Bailey has added 6kg to his frame and Ben Jeffries 5kg. However, the Titans still have some of the leanest bodies, with dual international Mat Rogers (43ml of body fat) leading ahead of hooker Nathan Friend (44ml), William Zillman and Mark Minichiello (both 45).

The trend is the same at Manly, although not everyone has bulked up. Giant prop George Rose has lost 8kg, reducing skinfold readings at the same time. Jason King is considered the strongest man in the club, although his bench pressing pales in comparison to Kylie Leuluai. The former Sea Eagle used to bench 220kg – and regularly pushed out three repetitions.

Matt Orford, aptly nicknamed Ox, is rated the club’s strongest, pound for pound. The Sea Eagles were one of the first clubs to use GPS technology to track player exertions.

“The Ox runs and moves so hard that his change of direction comes up as a G-force,” said strength and conditioning coach Don Singe.

Testing results are generally a closely guarded secret among NRL clubs. While some were generous with the amount of information they provided, others were more cautious, fearing they could tip off rivals to their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, Singe revealed that hooker Matt Balin, a qualified personal trainer, is fittest man at Brookvale Oval, but did not want to reveal specifics.

“I’ll just say his [aerobic capacity] is well above a normal human being,” he said. “Instead of lungs, he has two hot-air balloons.”

One of the most revered – and feared – trainers in the NRL is Billy Johnstone. The intensity of his workouts are legendary and little has changed after returning to North Queensland, even if wet weather prevented him from completing his full raft of tests.

One man to impress the fitness guru is Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston, who has won a series of club challenges.

“He’s a freak, Johnny,” Johnstone said. “He had an operation and was away for two months. He came back and won everything.”

But an NRL off-season can’t be quantified simply by numbers, says Eels trainer Knowles. “The one thing which can’t be measured on any test is a massive adjustment in attitude from the boys. They look ready for a big year.”

My Impressions

I’m just going to go through the articles, pick out excerpts and tell you what I think:

Nine clubs tested the maximum bench press of their players during the pre-season, and veteran prop Beattie came out on top with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.

I’ve benched more than that…so there’s no way that can be any good…in all seriousness…as I’ve said before…I think a 1.5 time bodyweight bench is a good athletic standard and I’d say that is probably what this was…probably a little more than that in fairness. I’d take a guess that as a prop in rugby league he’s most likely weighing in at 100-110kg.

The stunning effort puts him above Melbourne forward Antonio Kaufusi, Manly premier league forward Sione Finefeuiaki and Eels trio Fuifui Moimoi, Richard Fa’aoso and Weller Hauraki, who can all bench 170kg.

Here’s Jonny Molloy at 20 year old prop banging out 4 easy reps at 150kg in the middle of a training session…he’s also done 170kg in testing plenty of times now.

Sea Eagles halfback Matt Orford is, pound for pound, the strongest man in the league. Aptly nicknamed Ox, Orford can bench 160kg – twice his body weight.

This on the other hand is just all kinds of awesome.

Rather than measuring a one-repetition maximum (1rm) lift, several clubs tested how many times a player could bench his body weight. St George Illawarra’s 101kg back-rower Sam Isemonger can do it 25 times, ahead of Kangaroos centre Matt Cooper (21).

This is a test that we do as well. This is me at the end of a bench session doing 20 reps at 100kgs just for a laugh. I was weighing in at 110kgs at this time though.

Former Dragons hooker George Ndaira can squat 250kg and has been clocked at under five seconds during 40-metre sprints on grass.

Conor McPhillips is technically a borderline midget and there are videos up of him box squatting 200kg in the middle of a session. I’ve also seen 250kg done for more than a single rep in the gym.

The 40 metre on grass under 5 seconds is something that I want to see…I’d also want to see it timed with gates. I’m not saying it didn’t happen…just saying I’d love to see it.

Halfback Josh Lewis, the quickest man at the club, completed 31 chin-ups at a recent session.

 

This reinforces my point. The reason I think pull ups and chin ups are so important is that it tells you a lot about an athlete. If you can’t do a decent number of pull ups or chin ups it’s usually because you are too bloody fat. In shape…as seldom as that is…I’ve gotten 18 in testing…fat as a whale…as I am most of the time…I get about 8. Pull Ups and Chin Ups give you an indication of an athletes mastery of their body weight. Athletes with the best number of pull ups and chin ups will be your fastest and those with the worst scores will be your slowest generally. I also love to see the technique and form used for Josh Lewis’s 31 reps…was it like Traps here doing 24 reps…

…or was it like this…

Mannah is fit, too. No one had ever cracked the 400-metre barrier since the club measured the distance a player could travel on their rowing machine in 60 seconds. Mannah jumped on the ergometer and clocked 401m. Meanwhile, Bulldogs skipper Andrew Ryan also excelled with 380m. To put the figures in perspective, rugby sensation Ratu Nasiganiyavi had Waratahs trainers in a lather when he pulled 713m in two minutes.

I have a good few guys that I think would have a good crack at this…even having not trained on a rower for a couple of months I think I could throw down a comparable time. We might have to have a bit of a go at this in the next month or so an see how we get on. Fanj pulled 211m or 217m in a single 30 second effort a while back. He’s not a player that rows regularly at all either. I know for sure that Damian will want to have a crack at this test.

Now I am not having a go at the Rugby League guys because as I’ve said before I actually think that these guys on the whole a probably the best all round athletes on the planet. Combining power, strength, muscular endurance, speed and conditioning. I’ve argued their case before with US citizens who are so ignorant that they can’t comprehend any other country producing athletes comparable to their own. I’m just trying to provide some perspective. I can bench 180kg but if you gave me 10 minutes I probably still couldn’t run out of site. These guys manage to post great testing scores in ALL areas of strength and conditioning and post them all at the same time. That’s what is most impressive.

I’ve been as busy as a beaver…

…hence the lack of blog updates. So what have I been doing I hear at least one of you ask. Well I don’t even know where to start.

New Gym

I still occasionally see stuff on the internet regarding me being a fraud…some of the best stuff has been along the lines of me stealing the videos that you see on this blog from YouTube or other training websites…these are videos that I apparently steal that for some reason have me in them…now you have to admit that is pretty funny?

Anyway…I’ve been so successful at being unsuccessful that I’m considering being a fraud on a much larger scale…about 10,000 square feet larger in fact. So I was checking out a possible venue last week and working on a plan for world domination…well maybe not world domination…I’ll settle for dominating the local area. It is still very much in the planning stages but I’ll let you know what comes of it either way.

Friday Night Lights

We were supposed to play a friendly on Friday night but the opposition pulled the pin at the last moment so instead we had to play with ourselves. It was a great laugh. I included this next clip because it basically has everything…

From Friday nights game…we won by the way!

You really need to watch it a few times…you’ll see Rhonda put in 2 seconds of effort to make a covering tackle then spend forever laying on ground trying to get his breath. Sextoy moaning and giving out like a big baby…even after he realises that he’s completely in the wrong. I also love it when Flaps threw some shapes at Sextoy but couldn’t even take himself seriously. There’s some other good videos up on YouTube…in just about every single one you’ll hear Flaps giving out to Daz and Gus…don’t be surprised because it was all he did for the entire match.

The Spider Test

Michael asked for a description of the ‘spider test’. Well here is a video of a test in full:

Spider Test – 6x30sec/30sec

I like this test for a lot of reasons. Mainly because whoever is the fastest and most agile gets the furthest in the first effort and whoever is the fittest gets the biggest total. It’ll tell me who are the most well rounded athletes. Who are the explosive athletes with no staying power, who are the athletes that have a great engine but who just aren’t dynamic enough along with telling me what athletes are better built for chess. This was the first time that these girls have done this test. The best single effort was 125m and the worst was 80m. The best total was 660m and the lowest 555m. One of my favourite things about the test is that the better you are and the fitter you get the more the test hurts. Nothing like that taste of blood in your mouth at the end of the test. The girls will be testing again in 6 weeks. We’ll see how they get on then.

Best laid plans…

Over the last couple of weeks I’d been putting a lot of work into getting things in place to follow an athlete through their strength and fitness testing along with detail their program construction. I was going to give a weekly video update and video some of their training so people could better see the process. The attendees at the seminar were there to question this athlete and see him through his testing which was all videoed…so in short I had done a huge amount of work getting things organised only for him to get dropped in a lineout yesterday and for this to happen….

 

Ouch...the picture actually makes it look better than it is

Ouch...the picture actually makes it look better than it is

So…in short…I will have to select another volunteer and make them promise not to let themselves get injured in anyway shape or form for a couple of months.

 

This was Garrets 1st Work Set

This was Garrets 2nd Work Set

Now Garret was pretty broken when he found me. We are slowly putting him back together again. He is one of a large number of athletes that I see only from time to time. Comes in for a chat…gets a new program and then heads off into the wilderness and makes a mess of it. He injured his back recently and is currently doing a months training with me so we can kick him back into shape. We have been doing a lot of work trying to sort out a lot of little issues that all rolled up together make for one major pain in the arse. This was just something that we were looking at tonight. You can see the issue with his right knee in the first video and in the second the correction that we made. His issue is a pretty common compensation. The reason that I am putting it up is because I’ve been making all the videos for the seminar notes over the last week. I’ve been videoing the screening of a number of different athletes….some tall, some short, some with ankle and others with knee or hip issues…all sorts of different issues. I’ve also been explaining my views on Functional Movement Screening versus Critical Observation…I don’t screen unless I need to….I rarely need to because I am watching athletes train all the time…I’m a coach…so I figure while I am in the gym I might as well do some coaching. Functional Movement Screening has it’s place….but it’s a limited place.


So what do you do once you’ve tested them?

Actually that wasn’t a question…I was only pretending like I cared what you thought to suck you in and keep you reading the blog…especially since I’m going to make you change your bookmarks again in the not to distant future.

I want to go through some testing results from the other night.

This is their first test and this is prior to these guys kicking off their pre season so all these results are pretty much from a standing start. That’s not to say they haven’t been tipping away in the gym just that some of them wouldn’t be doing anything too structured at the moment. All these guys are playing Gaelic Football at a senior level and what I want to do is to look at a few players in particular from what was a pretty big group.

Firstly, PC is 186cm tall or 6ft 1in and 80kg or 176lbs he benched 90kg (1.13xBW) he did 14 pull ups, 44 push ups in 60 seconds and 26 inverted rows and deadlifted 170kg (2.13xBW) and a 2.45m landed standing broad-jump. For PC I think his targets should be as follows bench 100-120kg, 12+ pull ups, 50+ push ups, 30+ inverted rows and a 160kg trap bar deadlift. So in summary…he missed his bench by 10kg..now I think I could get him there in 3 weeks because his technique wasn’t great so I’d be confident that there was 5-10kg right there. He got 14 pull ups which is 2 more than target so no problems with that. His push ups and inverted rows were a little off his target but importantly they were off in pretty much the right ratio…that same few weeks and I think he’ll get these as well. He beat his deadlift target by 10kg so as far as lower body strength is concerned I think he has got that covered. He also did his rowing test but I want to talk about these results first. Essentially PC is a pretty balanced athlete and he is probably only a month or so away from pretty much having all the ‘strength’ that he needs for Gaelic Football. So what does he do then…once again…I don’t really care what you think…I’m going to tell you. He’ll shift the focus of his training towards power development. He’ll need to do more work on improving his rate of force development. He can spend more time improving his mobility, doing trunk work and his individual prehabilitation work because all these things will have a far greater impact on his on field performance from a gym perspective than any pursuit of further strength gains ever would. The thing is….chasing further strength improvements could actually hinder performance for a couple of reasons…1. He is well up the curve and well past the point of diminishing returns with regard to his stength and muscular endurance and 2. Chasing those strength and muscular endurance improvements comes as all training does…at a risk. The best thing any player or athlete can do to improve their performance is to stay on the field, court, pitch and play and you can’t do that if you’re injured. If there’s anything worse than getting injured playing…well we all know there is…but I can hardly think of anything dumber than injuring yourself in the gym and not being able to play as a result.

Now PC also did his rowing test and he scored the following 169m, 155m, 144m, 134m, 136m, 134m = 873m in total. Now in my opinion I’d rate that somewhere roughly between shit and suck…and probably closer to shit than to suck unfortunately for him. Now he’s a footballer and is expected to run around like a mad man. How’s he going to do that when he has  barely got the anaerobic capacity to blow up a balloon without having to go and lay down for a minute to catch his breath. Just to give you an example heres the results of a rugby player around the same weight 182m, 179m, 165m, 156m, 161m, 158m for a 1001m total. I’m not picking out the best rugby player either…that’s just someone around the same weight. John who is another Gaelic Footballer but 10kg heavier than PC pulled a total of 1016m in his test the other week and that’s in the middle of some tough dieting…his actual scores were as follows…188m, 176m, 171m, 166m, 163m, 163m….he was displeased with his results at the time and has done better previously. I’m not trying to run PC down…I’m just saying…his strength is pretty close to where he needs it to be…but his aerobic and more importantly anaerobic power is no where near where it needs to be. I’d be only too happy to see PC ditch a weight session a week and do some intervals instead. Being a great player is about getting your athletic balance right…PC is not balanced athletically for gaelic football.

I posted some other lads results last night…lets have a look at those again.

The lads testing results..their scores and their guesstimates in brackets.

The lads testing results..their scores and their guesstimates in brackets.

Now Paul is 85kg and Peter is 75kg. You can see that Paul like PC isn’t far off his targets but in comparrison to PC you can see that his Inverted Rows look a little weak relative to his other scores. Peter on the other hand has a lot of strength work that he still needs to do in comparison to the other two lads. If you look at Peter’s scores though you’ll see that he’s quite balanced…just too weak. So while PC needs to work on his power and conditioning and Paul needs to look at his back issues and bring his results up to par Peter needs to work on his general upper body strength and muscular endurance generally.

A lot of players and athletes get carried away with their gym work to the point that it actually hinders more than helps their performance. You can’t be a powerful and explosive athlete and hence the player that you want to be without a decent level of maximal strength. Too many players and athletes try to do too much strength endurance type work in the gym…it’s not the place for it. Get ‘strong enough’ in the gym…then go out and get fit to play on the pitch.

What I’ll do when I get time later is to come back and discuss the differing program approach I’d take with these three lads because I think the thing that you might find interesting is the fact that they’ll all be using exactly the same weight training template.