Afl Training Program - Sports Science

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Australian Rules Football (AFL) is a sport based on kicking an oval ball through a set of goals set approximately 200m apart. Elite level players require a strong aerobic capacity as well as the ability to perform repeated sprints utilising the anaerobic glycolysis system. Along with strong energy systems there are other aspects of the body an AFL player must address in order to become elite. Muscular power in the lower limbs (quadriceps and hamstrings especially), core strength, muscular endurance of the lower limb and general flexibility of the entire body are essential if elite status is desired.

A 19 year old male athlete wishing to reach the professional level, would not typically meet the physical demands (body size, strength and power) of a matured body in the Australian Football League and as such require training to improve the physical aspects of the body to compete with the seasoned bodies of the AFL. Most of this ‘bulking up’ would be done during preseason/offseason.

SEAN’S ANALYSIS:
AFL players are tested to measure speed, agility, strength, power and vertical jump. This is to detect any weaknesses or instabilities that may hinder performance. Sean has already had testing sessions which provided the following results. These results aid us in specifically tailoring a training program for him.

Training Routine| Results| Analysis|
20m Sprint| 3.05 seconds (26.9 percentile)| Below Average| Agility Course Run| 8.53 seconds (61.4 percentile)| Slightly Above Average| Beep Test| 14.1 (77.8 percentile)| Above Average|

3km Time Trial| 10.20 mins (85.9 percentile)| Above Average| 4x20m Repeat Sprints| 25.73 seconds (54.3 percentile)| Average| Standing Vertical Jump| 55.00cm (24.7 percentile)| Below Average| Running Vertical Jump| 64.00cm (28.7 percentile)| Below Average|

Sean’s results from last year’s draft camp. Pool of ~100 players aged from 17 to 22 years of age. These results indicate that Sean excels at aerobic exercises but is lacking in burst power. Hence his weight training program should focus on power exercises to strengthen fast twitch fibres. Exercises focusing on the lower body are desirable to help improve vertical jumps and sprints. Sean’s body mass was also recorded and compared with the other participants as part of the draft camp testing. With his body mass of 76 kg being below average, a general increase in muscle mass will also be one of our training programs goals.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ AFL WEIGHT TRAINING PROGRAM:

- Weight training should be done on the opposite days to team training. Two sessions per week will be beneficial but three sessions are ideal. This will allow players to train on alternate nights to club training sessions and allow for recovery. This is important because weight training before or after football training sessions can fatigue your muscles and energy systems.

- Sean should focus on compound exercises, which are movements that involve more than one major muscle group and joint at a time. Specifically focusing on deadlifts, squats, bench press and bent over rows as the main exercises. Compound exercises is desirable because it is the only practical way to promote hypertrophy while weight lifting 3 times a week. And compound exercises emphasize practicality and strength rather than size.

- To track the progress of muscle development during the training program, it will be beneficial for Sean to keep a personal diary of the training sessions. The personal diary is an important tool as it will be used to record a log of weight and repetitions achieved in each session.

- Testing will only be required right at the start and at the very end of the program. This is because muscle growth takes a considerable amount of time and noticeable results should only be seen after 12 weeks. Also the personal diary will be a sufficient tool...
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