Australian rules football is a physical sport. To compete at the elite level, you need to have a high level of physicality. One of the best methods to improve your physicality is through strength training. Strength training will help you increase your muscle mass, improve your power output and reduce your risk of injury. So, if you want to become a better Australian rules footballer, start strength training today!
What is strength training, and how can it improve Australian rules footballers’ physicality on the field?
Strength training is a type of exercise that focuses on increasing your ability to generate a high amount of force. There are many different types of strength training, but most of them involve lifting weights or doing resistance exercises. The key to improving physicality by strength training is performing heavy compound movements. Compound movements are multi-joint exercises that increase muscle groups more than isolation exercises. For example, a bicep curl is an isolation exercise that only works your biceps. In contrast, a barbell back squat is a compound movement that works several muscle groups, including your quadriceps, trunk, and glutes.
To perform well in Australian rules football and improve AFL upper body strength, it’s crucial to have a high power output level. Power output has three components: strength, speed, and endurance. Strength for a developing athlete is the most important of the three because it increases your maximum output which ultimately increases your speed endurance and overall power output. As you are physically mature you will need to focus on power training to improve your ability to generate force faster!
To make sure you are maximising your efforts and time it’s important to become stronger and train with an experienced strength and conditioning coach. If you want to become a better Australian rules footballer, consider training with heavier weights because that will help you gain more lean muscle, which will help bolster your AFL physicality.
Australian rules footballers need to be strong in their lower body as well. Any time you’re on the ground during a game, your legs are providing stability and power to help you stay upright or dominate your opponent. This is why players with good lower body strength tend to excel at AFL tackling. To improve lower body strength, you need to do trapbar deadlifts, barbell hip thrusts, and barbell box squats because those exercises increase lower body strength while minimising the risk for injury. The best way to build power output in your legs is by doing explosive movements like jump squats or depth jumps.
Check out our recent podcast on this topic:
Australian rules footballers that want to improve AFL power should also focus on their posterior chain (lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves). You need to do Romanian deadlifts, glute bridges, back extensions, and reverse hypers to improve your posterior chain. Australian rules football players that perform heavy compound movements combined with explosive lower body exercises have the best chance of developing the physical attributes to be assertive in contested situations when playing Footy.
How often should AFL players strength train to see optimal results on the field during matches and tournaments throughout the year?
Australian rules footballers need to train with weights 3-5 times per week for optimal results. Too many training sessions can lead to overtraining the nervous system, decreasing performance. During the season, footy players should train with weights 2-3 times per week and perform either total body sessions or split body parts i.e. upper body one day and lower body on the other day. Australian rules footballers need to avoid only performing isolation exercises while training with weights because they’re not as effective at developing strength and power.
For optimal results on the field, AFL players need to train with heavier weights for fewer repetitions. For example, six sets of 3 reps are better than 4 sets of 10 reps. It’s more important to do the exercises correctly with the guidance of experienced football strength and conditioning coach than to perform more sets or reps.
Training Australian rules footballers is not different from training any other athlete. To see success on the field, athletes need to train with heavy weights for fewer repetitions to play stronger and faster during matches throughout the year. The off-season is the best time for athletes to work on strength and power because they can do extra work with no game load to recover from. The closer an athlete gets to game day, the closer they need to be working on speed and power with explosive movements like the ones listed in our YouTube playlist:
What are some tips for ensuring that AFL players get the most out of their strength-training sessions?
Australian rules football players need to have a strong mind-muscle connection with all their exercises. If an AFL player can move heavier weights with proper technique, they’ll become more confident on the field, and that will help them be successful in performing tackling drills or being tackled by another player. As a result, strength training sessions aren’t just about lifting heavyweights. The main goal of strength training sessions is to build confidence in AFL players through quality movement and understanding the purpose of each exercise in the weight room.
Prepare Like A Pro offers premier training programs for footy players. We have face-to-face training that caters to the individual needs of athletes.