AFL fitness training methodsCategoriesPodcast Strength & Conditioning

#114 – AFL Best Fitness Training Methods & Exercises


Fitness is crucial in excelling at Australian Rules Football (AFL). Effective AFL fitness training methods, which focus on endurance, agility, strength, and speed, significantly enhance performance on the field. These methods are integrated into tailored training programs that target specific skills needed in the sport, such as cardiovascular fitness, plyometrics, and strength training. AFL fitness training methods also encompass recovery strategies like ice baths, massage therapy, and ample rest, which are emphasized to maintain peak physical condition throughout the AFL season. Overall, emphasizing AFL fitness training ensures players are prepared for the sport’s demands, leading to optimal results.

Analyzing AFL Performance

Research papers delve into the nuances of AFL, examining how players expend energy during different game phases. Utilizing data analysis from Champion Data provides insights into player performance metrics, aiding in optimizing training strategies.

Optimizing Training Methods

Effective training methods are essential for AFL players. Incorporating aerobic and anaerobic workouts, such as 25-30% ASR programming and aerobic intervals, helps in building endurance and explosive power.

Injury Prevention Strategies

Preventing injuries is crucial for maintaining peak performance. Targeted exercises for calves, quads, hamstrings, and ACL neurodevelopment contribute to overall player wellness and longevity on the field.

Strength and Power Training

Strength and power are cornerstones of AFL fitness. Implementing structured lifting routines, rotational power exercises, and loaded carries enhances players’ ability to perform at their best during intense game situations.

Highlights of the episode:

  • 3 research papers on different phases of playing AFL
  • Anaerobic Endurance Training for AFL
  • Aerobic Endurance Training for AFL
  • Strength and power drills for AFL
  • Contest drills for AFL
  • Plyometric Training for AFL


1. Physical and technical demands of offence, defence, and contested phases of play in Australian Football:

  • This study provides a detailed examination of the different phases of play in AFL, focusing on the specific physical and technical demands during offensive, defensive, and contested phases. It uses data from Champion Data to analyze performance metrics, helping to understand where and how players expend their energy during a game [oai_citation:1, Physical and technical demands of offence, defence, and contested phases of play in Australian Football | BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation | Full Text (

2. Physical and technical demands of Australian football: an analysis of maximum ball in play periods:

  • This research analyzes the demands during the maximum ball in play periods using microsensor data. It includes metrics like total running distance, high-speed running, and acceleration, offering insights into the intense physical requirements during continuous play phases [oai_citation:2, Physical and technical demands of Australian football: an analysis of maximum ball in play periods | BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation | Full Text](

3. Evaluating match running performance in elite Australian football: a narrative review:

  • This narrative review discusses the variations in running performances across different phases of a season and how these are impacted by training volumes and playing experience. It highlights the need for strategic planning of training loads to optimize performance during matches [oai_citation:3, Evaluating match running performance in elite Australian football: a narrative review | BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation | Full Text] (
  • These articles contribute valuable insights into the varying physical demands across different game scenarios and periods, useful for tailoring training programs for AFL athletes. They emphasize the importance of understanding specific game phases and the physical outputs required, which can help in designing more effective strength and conditioning programs for AFL players.

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Top AFL Conditioning StrategiesCategoriesAFL Players Podcast

#113 – Maximize Your Game: Dive into the Best Rated AFL Conditioning Tips!

Our guide on AFL conditioning covers preseason essentials, in-season fitness balance, movement efficiency, recovery strategies, and tailored training for rookies and veterans. Let’s dive in! Top AFL Conditioning Strategies are crucial for players aiming to reach peak performance. Understanding these strategies can make a significant difference in player endurance and overall game impact. Top AFL Conditioning Strategies also play a pivotal role in injury prevention and maintaining consistency throughout the demanding AFL season.

Maximize AFL Conditioning Tips

Preseason Preparation

Preseason training is the foundation for success in the AFL. It’s where players build their fitness base and work on skills crucial for the season ahead. This phase is essential for developing the strength, endurance, and agility needed to perform at peak levels during the season. Coaches emphasize the importance of consistency and dedication during preseason, as it sets the tone for the entire year. Players are encouraged to push their limits, both physically and mentally, to prepare themselves for the demands of competitive matches. Additionally, preseason is a time for team bonding and establishing a strong camaraderie among players, which can be invaluable during challenging games.

In-Season Fitness Management

During the season, managing fitness becomes a balancing act. Players need to maintain their fitness levels while ensuring they don’t overtrain or risk injury. One key strategy is incorporating speed work into training sessions to improve explosiveness and agility on the field. Monitoring maximum velocities using technology like GPS units helps track progress and adjust training accordingly. It’s also essential to focus on recovery between games, with structured rest days and active recovery sessions to keep players fresh and ready to perform at their best.

Movement Efficiency

Efficient movement is critical for AFL players to maximize performance and minimize the risk of injury. Coaches work on refining players’ techniques to ensure they move efficiently during games. This includes focusing on running mechanics, change of direction, and body positioning to optimize performance. By improving movement efficiency, players can conserve energy and maintain peak performance levels throughout matches, giving them a competitive edge over their opponents.

Fatigue and Recovery Strategies

Managing fatigue and recovery is crucial for AFL players to sustain their performance levels throughout the season. After a game, players focus on recovery strategies like ice baths, massage, and stretching to reduce muscle soreness and accelerate recovery. Active recovery sessions, such as light jogging or swimming, help flush out lactic acid and promote circulation to aid in recovery. Additionally, players pay attention to nutrition and hydration, ensuring they fuel their bodies with the right nutrients to support recovery and performance.

Training Approach for Different Players

The training approach varies for rookies and veterans in the AFL. Rookies require more structured training programs to develop their skills and fitness levels. Coaches focus on teaching fundamental techniques and gradually increasing intensity as rookies adapt to the demands of professional football. In contrast, veterans have more experience and autonomy in their training. They may have personalized programs tailored to their specific needs and goals, incorporating advanced techniques and strategies to maintain their performance levels. However, both rookies and veterans benefit from staying updated on the latest sports science trends to optimize their training and performance.

Highlights of the episode:

  • How to get fitter in season
  • How to get faster in season
  • Best conditioning prescriptions in the season to maximize fitness
  • How players can manage fatigue in the season
  • How does training change from rookies to veterans
  • Latest in sports science and trends in AFL

AFL Strength & Conditioning Tips to Make an Impact in Pro Sport

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Footballer DevelopmentCategoriesFooty Tips Strength & Conditioning

Unlocking Potential: Why AFL Strength & Conditioning is Critical for Developing Footballers

Meet Jack McLean, a leading AFL strength & conditioning coach with a Master’s in Applied Sport Science from Melbourne Football Club. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the sophisticated world of AFL training, tailored to propel both current and aspiring AFL athletes, coaches, and high-performance staff to the pinnacle of their capabilities. This article, crafted by an expert in the field, is your stepping stone to understanding the nuances of Footballer Development AFL strength & conditioning, Footballer Development conditioning, and sports science without any mention of competitive entities.

This guide delves into:

  1. Strength & Conditioning Fundamentals: A holistic approach to enhance physical prowess. Physical characteristics of players within the Australian Football League participation pathways: a systematic review
  2. Applied Sport Science in AFL: Integrating technology and research for optimized training. Evolution of Physical Demands of Australian Football League Matches from 2005 to 2017: A Systematic Review and Meta-regression
  3. Conditioning Drills Specific to AFL: Simulating game scenarios to improve player skills. Strength and Conditioning in Football: Driving Physical Performance through Research and Innovation
  4. Off-Season & Pre-Season Regimens: Building foundational strength and enhancing fitness. A systematic review on the effects of resistance and plyometric training on physical fitness in youth- What do comparative studies tell us?
  5. Nutrition & Recovery: Supporting intense physical demands with tailored plans.
  6. Leveraging Technology: Utilizing technology for tracking and analysis.
  7. Periodization: Planning training cycles for optimal performance.
  8. Success Stories: Real-life examples of successful training programs.


Jack McLean’s guide offers a blend of scientific insights and practical applications, essential for athletes, coaches, and high-performance staff in AFL.

Visit to explore further bespoke training solutions that align with cutting-edge sports science, ensuring that every step you take on the field is backed by professional expertise and a deep understanding of AFL demands.

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High-Performance Sports Careers InsightsCategoriesPodcast Strength & Conditioning

#112 – Elite Insights: Lessons from High-Performance Sports Pros

Unlocking Success in High-Performance Sports Careers: Elite Insights

In the realm of high-performance sports careers, success is both a culmination of hard work and strategic preparation. For many aspiring professionals, the journey to landing a full-time position with elite sports clubs can be arduous and competitive. However, understanding the key insights and lessons from those who have succeeded in this field can provide valuable guidance and inspiration. High-Performance Sports Careers Insights are crucial for navigating the challenges and opportunities inherent in this dynamic industry. High-Performance Sports Careers Insights offer valuable perspectives and strategies to help individuals achieve their goals and excel in the competitive world of professional sports.

Highlights of the episode:

  • Scorecard criteria to get your first fulltime job in elite sport
  • Years of experience requirement
  • First fulltime role
  • Academic qualifications
  • Mentorship/Support guidance
  • Advice to aspiring coaches

The Performance Scorecard: A Roadmap to Success

The performance scorecard is one crucial tool for navigating the path to a high-performance sports career. This scorecard serves as a roadmap, indicating readiness for elite positions within the sports industry. By assessing one’s score and understanding where they stand about benchmarks, individuals can identify areas for improvement and tailor their efforts accordingly.

Timeframe for Entry: Setting Realistic Expectations

Setting realistic expectations regarding the timeframe for entering the high-performance sports arena is essential. According to insights from professionals, those scoring between 400 and 500 points on the scorecard are around the mark for full-time positions. However, individuals scoring lower may need 1-2 years (200-399 points) or even 3 years (under 199 points) to reach readiness. Understanding these timelines can help manage expectations and plan accordingly.

Years of Experience: Building a Strong Foundation

Building experience in semipro sports is often a crucial stepping stone towards securing a full-time role in high-performance sports. Survey results reveal that most professionals spent 2-4 seasons in semipro sports before landing their first full-time contract. This underscores the importance of gaining practical experience and honing skills in a competitive environment before seeking elite positions.

First Full-Time Role: Paving the Way for Success

The first full-time role in high-performance sports sets the stage for an individual’s career trajectory. Among respondents, the most common entry position was as Head of Academy Strength and Conditioning, followed by roles such as a PhD Sports Scientist. Understanding the typical entry points and roles within the industry can help aspiring professionals tailor their experiences and qualifications accordingly.

Qualifications: The Pathway to Professionalism

Having the right qualifications is paramount in the pursuit of a high-performance sports career. Survey results indicate that a Bachelor of Sports Science is the most common qualification among professionals, followed by a Master of Sports Science. However, other qualifications such as a Bachelor of Physiotherapy also pave the way for success. Understanding the educational pathways and requirements is crucial for aspiring professionals to position themselves competitively in the industry.

Advice from the Pros: Pearls of Wisdom

Finally, advice from those who have walked the path to success in high-performance sports can provide invaluable guidance for aspiring professionals. Key pointers include taking risks, surrounding oneself with supportive individuals, and being patient while continuously learning and developing skills. Understanding the demands of the industry and staying committed to personal and professional growth are essential elements of success.


In conclusion, the journey to a successful career in high-performance sports is both challenging and rewarding. By leveraging tools like the performance scorecard, understanding realistic timeframes, building experience, acquiring relevant qualifications, and heeding advice from seasoned professionals, individuals can position themselves for success in this competitive field.



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AFL ConditioningCategoriesFooty Tips

Mastering Year-Round AFL Conditioning: Strategies for Peak Performance

The Competitive Edge

In the Australian Football League (AFL), conditioning goes beyond fitness; it sculpts athletes for year-round peak performance. Periodization in training sharpens their edge and prevents injuries, ensuring a consistent performance across seasons.

The Science of Periodization Explained

Periodization divides the athletic year into phases, each focusing on different aspects of an athlete’s abilities. It targets strength, endurance, and skills, ensuring athletes peak at the right times.

Laying the Foundation: The Preparatory Phase

During the off-season, the preparatory phase ramps up, focusing on General Physical Preparedness (GPP) through various training methods. As the season draws near, the emphasis transitions to Sport-Specific Preparations (SPP). This ensures that every sprint, jump, and tackle directly enhances in-game performance, setting the stage for a successful season ahead.

Bridging to Peak Performance: Transition Phases

Transition phases are the linchpins that connect the preparatory work to the demands of the competitive season. Initial transition phases focus on ramping up strength and power, tailoring training volumes and intensities to prime athletes for the rigors ahead without tipping them into the red zone of fatigue.

Maintaining Excellence: The Competition Phase

Once the season starts, the competition phase takes precedence. Here, the goal shifts to maintaining the high-performance levels achieved in the off-season, while balancing the demands of peak physical condition and the challenges of regular competition. This requires strategic adjustments to training intensity and volume in order to navigate smoothly through the competitive season.

Recovery and Reflection: Embracing the Second Transition

Post-season, the second transition phase offers a critical period for physical and mental recovery. It’s a time for athletes to recharge, reflect on the season’s performance, and identify areas for growth. Balancing recovery with maintaining a base level of fitness ensures athletes remain primed for the challenges of the upcoming season.

Youth Athlete Considerations: Building Future Champions

Youth athletes need a customized approach that sharpens their skills and builds a strong physical foundation to handle the demands of professional sport. By focusing on strength, flexibility, and motor control, along with injury prevention strategies, we pave the way for a lengthy and successful career in AFL.

A Year-Round Commitment to Excellence

Conditioning for AFL is a marathon, not a sprint. Adopting a year-round, periodized approach to training ensures athletes can consistently perform at their best, match after match, season after season. It’s a comprehensive strategy that balances intensity, recovery, and skill development, proving that in the realm of professional sports, preparation is just as critical as execution.

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AFL fitness testingCategoriesFooty Tips

Maximizing AFL Performance: A Guide to Fitness Testing and Tailored Training Programs

In the highly competitive realm of the Australian Football League (AFL), achieving peak physical fitness and performance isn’t just a goal—it’s a necessity. The journey from an aspiring player to a professional athlete is laden with rigorous training routines, comprehensive fitness testing, and an unyielding drive to excel. This blog post delves into the pivotal role of fitness testing in the AFL, the design of effective preseason training programs, and how individualized training regimens can transform the way players meet the sport’s demands.

Fitness Testing: The AFL Benchmark

The Importance of a Multifaceted Approach

Fitness testing in the AFL isn’t a mere formality; it’s a cornerstone of player development and team strategy. By assessing various aspects of physical fitness—such as endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, and flexibility—coaches can tailor training programs to address specific needs, enhance player performance, and minimize the risk of injuries.

Key Fitness Tests and Their Relevance

From the shuttle run (beep test) for endurance to the vertical jump test for power, each fitness test provides invaluable data that informs training decisions. The agility test, for instance, isn’t just about quick movements; it’s about simulating game situations where rapid direction changes can be the difference between winning and losing a contest.

Crafting an Effective AFL Preseason Training Program

Balancing Group and Individual Needs

A successful pre-season program is one that strikes a balance between group sessions that foster team synergy and individual sessions that focus on personal growth areas. Incorporating a mix of shuttle runs, boxing circuits, squats, lunges, and core strengthening exercises ensures players are well-prepared for the demands of the season.

The Science Behind Repeat Effort Running

Understanding the body’s energy systems—anaerobic, lactate, and aerobic—is crucial for designing training drills that improve in-game performance. Repeat effort running drills, which mimic the high-intensity bursts of activity followed by brief recovery periods seen in AFL matches, are particularly effective.

Tailoring Training to Meet Individual Goals

Setting Measurable Objectives

The foundation of any training program should be its alignment with the athlete’s goals. Whether it’s improving acceleration, enhancing the ability to change direction, or building endurance to maintain high performance throughout a match, clearly defined goals shape the training regimen’s direction.

Functional Training: Beyond Strength and Endurance

Training for AFL success transcends traditional strength and endurance workouts. It involves developing functional strength and movement patterns that translate directly to on-field performance. This includes exercises that enhance jumping ability, tackle strength, and the agility required for evading opponents.

Addressing Common Frustrations and Needs

Customization is Key

One of the primary frustrations among players—both amateur and professional—is the plateauing of fitness and strength gains despite diligent effort. The antidote? Customized training programs that consider the unique physiological and psychological needs of each athlete, ensuring continuous improvement and motivation.

Navigating the Path to Professionalism Without Direct Access to AFL Coaches

For many aspiring AFL players, direct access to AFL-qualified strength & conditioning coaches remains a significant barrier. Leveraging online resources, seeking mentorship from experienced players, and engaging with communities of practice can bridge this gap, providing valuable insights and guidance.

FAQ Section

  1. What is the importance of fitness testing in the AFL? Fitness testing is crucial in the AFL as it helps in assessing a player’s physical capabilities across various domains such as endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, and flexibility. This data aids coaches in designing tailored training programs to boost player performance and reduce injury risks.
  2. Which key fitness tests are used in the AFL, and why? Several fitness tests are pivotal, including the shuttle run (beep test) for endurance, vertical jump for power, and agility tests for simulating in-game situations. Each test offers specific insights that inform the creation of targeted training regimens.
  3. How does an AFL preseason training program differ from regular season training? Preseason training emphasizes a blend of group and individual sessions, focusing on building the physical foundation—endurance, strength, power, and agility—required for the season. It often includes high-intensity drills like shuttle runs, circuit training, and repeat effort runs to prepare players for game conditions.
  4. Why is repeat effort running important in AFL training? Repeat effort running drills are crucial because they replicate the game’s high-intensity activity bursts followed by short recovery periods. This type of training improves players’ anaerobic capacity, enabling them to sustain efforts and recover quickly during matches.
  5. How should AFL players set their training goals? Players should set measurable, specific goals aligned with their personal and professional aspirations. These objectives could range from improving acceleration and agility to enhancing endurance, with training programs tailored to these specific targets.
  6. What does functional training involve in the context of AFL? Functional training for AFL players focuses on exercises that develop strength, agility, and movements directly translatable to on-field performance. This includes drills that enhance jumping ability, tackle strength, and evasion skills.
  7. How can AFL players overcome plateaus in fitness and strength gains? Customized training programs that account for an athlete’s unique physiological and psychological needs are key to overcoming plateaus. Continuous assessment and adaptation of training routines ensure ongoing improvement and motivation.
  8. What options do aspiring AFL players have if they lack access to professional coaches? Aspiring players without direct access to AFL coaches can leverage online resources, seek mentorship from experienced athletes, and engage with communities of practice to gain insights and guidance on training and development.
  9. What role does injury prevention play in AFL training? Injury prevention is integral to AFL training, involving targeted exercises that strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance joint stability. Tailoring training to address specific vulnerabilities can significantly reduce the risk of common injuries.
  10. Can individualized training regimens make a difference for amateur AFL players? Yes, individualized training regimens can greatly benefit amateur players by addressing their specific needs, goals, and challenges. Personalized programs help in maximizing potential, improving performance, and ensuring that players continue to progress towards their professional aspirations.

Embarking on an AFL career is a challenging journey fraught with intense competition, rigorous training, and the constant pursuit of excellence. By embracing a holistic approach to fitness testing and training—one that is customized, evidence-based, and aligned with individual goals—players can maximize their potential, overcome common frustrations, and inch closer to their dream of becoming professional athletes.


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Strength Conditioning Young FootballersCategoriesPodcast Strength & Conditioning Weekly Updates

#110 – Why Strength & Conditioning is critical for developing footballers

Introduction to Strength & Conditioning for Young Footballers

In the dynamic world of football, strength, and conditioning emerge as fundamental components in cultivating the next generation of talent. Beyond mere physical training, it’s a comprehensive approach to developing essential athletic skills, ensuring young athletes grow into well-rounded, resilient competitors. This post delves into why and how incorporating strength and conditioning from an early age is pivotal for developing footballers, guided by five key principles extracted from expert discussions.

Highlights of the episode:

  • Teach fundamental movement patterns
  • Teach them how to sprint and the importance of stiffness
  • How to develop their skills, movement competency
  • Things to avoid and steer away from
  • Do Regular strength testing

Mastering Fundamental Movements Without Load

Before young athletes start lifting weights, they must master the basic movements: squatting, hinging, lunging, pressing, and pulling. This approach, emphasizing control and stability, lays the groundwork for more complex exercises. It’s akin to building a strong foundation for a house, ensuring the structure’s integrity before adding weight.

Progressive Overloading and Movement Competency

Once the athletes have mastered control over their body weight, the focus shifts to progressive overloading. This methodical increase in resistance ensures continuous improvement while minimizing the risk of injury. The transition from double-leg exercises, like box squats, to more challenging single-leg variations exemplifies this principle, meticulously enhancing their movement competency.

Optimizing On-Field Sprinting Techniques

Footballers spend significant time sprinting, making efficient running mechanics critical. Training focuses on upright front-side mechanics, avoiding overstriding, and maintaining optimal foot-ground contact. This not only improves speed but also efficiency, likening well-trained ankles to well-inflated tires on a car, essential for energy conservation and performance.

Incorporating Gymnastics and Olympic Weightlifting

Diverse training modalities, such as gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting, offer unique benefits in developing neuromuscular coordination, strength, and stability. Gymnastics challenges athletes with varied movements, enhancing flexibility and body control, while Olympic weightlifting introduces them to power generation techniques vital for football.

Monitoring Progress and Adapting Training

For young athletes, regularly tracking progress through strength testing and maintaining a training diary can be incredibly beneficial. It encourages a focus on continuous improvement and technique refinement rather than maximum weight lifts. This adaptive approach ensures training remains effective and safe, tailored to the athlete’s developmental stage.

Conclusion: Building Future Champions Through Strength & Conditioning

The role of strength and conditioning in developing young footballers cannot be overstated. It’s about more than just physical training; it’s about laying a robust foundation for athletic development, refining movement patterns, and fostering a mindset geared towards continuous improvement. As these athletes grow, so too will their capabilities, sculpted by the principles of effective strength and conditioning.

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Strengthen Muscles, Load Patterns and Move through Planes (1)CategoriesFooty Tips

Strengthen Muscles, Load Patterns and Move through Planes

In the high-intensity world of the Australian Football League (AFL), strength and conditioning stand as pivotal elements for success on the field. Beyond the basic requirements of stamina and agility, the intricate play of muscles, load patterns, and movement through various planes plays a crucial role in elevating an athlete’s performance while minimizing the risk of injury. This blog post delves into these foundational components of AFL strength and conditioning, offering insights into how players can fortify their physical prowess and achieve peak performance through strategic training.

Understanding Muscles in AFL

AFL is a sport that demands versatility and resilience, relying on a wide array of muscle groups for different facets of the game such as sprinting, jumping, tackling, and kicking. Central to an AFL athlete’s performance are the leg muscles—including quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves—responsible for explosive speed and powerful jumps. Similarly, core strength, encompassing the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, and hips, is essential for stability, balance, and the generation of force during gameplay.

However, muscle strength in AFL goes beyond the mere ability to perform. It’s also about injury prevention. A well-conditioned athlete is less likely to succumb to the common injuries plaguing the sport, such as hamstring strains or ACL tears. Therefore, understanding the specific needs of these muscle groups and tailoring strength training accordingly is vital for longevity in the sport.

The Science of Load Patterns

At the core of any strength and conditioning program is the concept of load patterns. This refers to the different ways in which muscles are challenged during training—be it through lifting weights, resistance training, or bodyweight exercises. In AFL, varying these load patterns is critical not just for muscle growth, but for enhancing muscle resilience and adaptability to the unpredictable demands of the game.

Load patterns can be categorized broadly into isotonic (movement of the muscle under load), isometric (muscle under load without movement), and plyometric (explosive movements) exercises. Each has its place in an AFL athlete’s regimen. Isotonic exercises, for example, build muscle mass and strength through typical lifting motions. Isometric exercises enhance muscle endurance and stability, critical for maintaining tackles or holding positions. Plyometric training, on the other hand, develops explosive power, a requisite for sudden sprints or leaps.

Understanding and implementing these various load patterns in training ensures a comprehensive development of muscle strength and function, preparing athletes not just for the physical demands of AFL, but for the rigors of competition at the highest levels.


Movement Through Planes for AFL Athletes

To fully harness their physical capabilities, AFL players must train in three-dimensional space, moving through the sagittal (divides the body into left and right), frontal (divides the body into front and back), and transverse (divides the body into top and bottom) planes. This comprehensive approach ensures athletes can handle the game’s dynamic demands, from straightforward sprints to lateral dodges and rotational kicks.

  • Sagittal Plane: Movements in this plane, such as forward runs and vertical jumps, are critical for charging towards the goal or contesting marks. Training might focus on lunges, squats, and deadlifts, emphasizing forward and backward movements that replicate on-field actions.
  • Frontal Plane: Sideways movements occur in the frontal plane, essential for side-stepping opponents or taking side catches. Exercises like lateral lunges and side planks can improve stability and agility in this plane.
  • Transverse Plane: The transverse plane is all about rotation, pivotal for powerful kicks and handballs across the body. Training in this plane often involves rotational exercises, such as medicine ball throws and twist jumps, to enhance core strength and rotational power.

By training across these planes, AFL players can develop a versatile skill set, enabling them to maneuver more effectively and unpredictably on the field.

Integrating Strength, Load, and Movement in Training

Creating a balanced and comprehensive training program involves merging principles of muscle strengthening, varied load patterns, and multi-plane movements. Such an approach not only elevates overall athleticism but also tailors physical development to the unique demands of AFL. Coaches and players should aim to:

  • Diversify Training Stimuli: Incorporate a mix of isotonic, isometric, and plyometric exercises to challenge muscles in different ways, ensuring all-round development and reducing the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Emphasize Functional Movement: Focus on exercises that mimic game-specific movements, enhancing the transfer of gym-based gains to on-field performance.
  • Periodize Training: Structure training cycles throughout the season to focus on building strength, power, and endurance at different times, aligning with the competitive calendar to peak at the right moments.

Case Studies and Success Stories

The effectiveness of a well-rounded AFL strength and conditioning program is best illustrated through the achievements of top athletes and teams. Consider the transformation of players like Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield, whose commitment to comprehensive physical conditioning has contributed to their explosive performance on the field. Their training regimes, focusing on a blend of strength, agility, and functional movement, underscore the importance of a holistic approach to physical preparation.

Actionable Tips

Strengthening muscles, mastering load patterns, and moving through various planes form the cornerstone of AFL strength and conditioning. These elements, when integrated into a thoughtful training program, can significantly elevate an athlete’s performance and resilience. As we conclude, here are some practical tips for players and coaches:

  • Start with the Basics: Ensure a solid foundation of strength and conditioning before specializing in more complex load patterns and movements.
  • Prioritize Movement Quality: Focus on executing movements with proper form to maximize benefits and minimize injury risk.
  • Incorporate Recovery: Adequate rest and recovery are just as important as the training itself. Implement strategies such as sleep optimization, nutrition, and active recovery sessions.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Partner with experienced strength and conditioning coaches who can tailor programs to individual needs and goals.


Whether you’re an aspiring AFL player, a seasoned athlete looking to refine your physical capabilities, or a coach aiming to enhance your team’s performance, “Prepare Like a Pro” offers personalized training programs designed to meet your specific needs. Join us to unlock your full potential and prepare like a pro for your next AFL season. Reach out today to start your journey towards peak performance.

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Why Strength & Conditioning is critical for developing footballersCategoriesFooty Tips

Don’t Get Left Behind: The Transformative Power of Strength Training for Footballers

In the realm of football, strength training is not just an add-on; it’s a fundamental pillar that supports the very essence of an athlete’s performance. Have you ever considered how strength training shapes a footballer’s career? In an upcoming podcast episode, Jack McLean, the visionary behind Prepare Like a Pro, delves into the critical role of strength training for developing footballers. This blog post explores the transformative power of strength training, from enhancing on-field performance to building mental and physical resilience.

Section 1: The Foundation of Football Fitness

Physical Fitness in Football

Football demands more than just skill with the ball; it requires a comprehensive physical fitness that encompasses strength, agility, endurance, and speed. Physical fitness acts as the backbone, enabling players to perform at their peak throughout the 90 minutes of the game.

Complementing Football Training with Strength Work

Integrating strength training into a footballer’s routine doesn’t take away from their sport-specific training; instead, it enhances it. Strength training complements on-field practice by improving muscle power, which is crucial for sprinting, jumping, and tackling.

  • Diving Deeper into Physical Fitness for Footballers: Explore the biomechanics of football, discussing how different types of strength (e.g., explosive strength, endurance strength) contribute to a player’s overall performance on the field.
  • Synergy Between Strength Training and Football Skills: Offer insights into how strength training enhances technical skills, such as ball control and shooting power, through real-life examples and scientific studies.


Section 2: The Benefits of Strength Training for Footballers

  • Advanced Performance Metrics: Introduce advanced metrics used by sports scientists to measure the impact of strength training on footballers’ performance, including VO2 max improvements, muscle hypertrophy, and fatigue resistance.
  • Injury Mitigation and Rehabilitation: Detail the role of strength training in rehabilitation from injuries, showcasing case studies of players who have successfully returned to peak performance levels following strength-focused rehab programs.
  • Psychological Empowerment Through Strength Training: Delve into the psychological aspects, discussing how overcoming challenges in the gym can lead to greater mental toughness on the pitch.

Section 3: Key Strength Exercises for Footballers

Core Workouts

A strong core is vital for footballers. It enhances stability, agility, and power, which are crucial for effective play. Exercises like planks, Russian twists, and leg raises are foundational for building core strength.

Lower Body Strength

Powerful legs are non-negotiable in football. Squats, lunges, and deadlifts build the leg strength necessary for explosive sprints and powerful kicks.

Upper Body Workouts

Upper body strength is essential for winning physical duels and maintaining balance. Push-ups, pull-ups, and bench presses should be staples in a footballer’s strength training routine.

Section 4: Integrating Strength Training Into Your Routine

Starting Strength Training

For footballers new to strength training, starting can seem daunting. Begin with basics and progressively increase intensity to prevent overtraining and injuries.

Personalized Training Plans

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in strength training. Each footballer should have a personalized plan that considers their current fitness level, goals, and footballing demands.

Expert Insights from Jack McLean

In the upcoming podcast episode, Jack McLean shares his expert insights on strength training for footballers. McLean emphasizes the importance of a tailored approach, recognizing the unique needs of each athlete.

Strength training holds the key to unlocking a footballer’s full potential. From enhancing performance and preventing injuries to building resilience, the benefits are clear. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and register for the live podcast event with Jack McLean to dive deeper into the world of strength training for footballers.

Section 5: Nutrition and Strength Training for Footballers

  • Fueling for Strength: Cover the importance of nutrition in supporting strength gains and recovery, highlighting optimal foods, supplements, and meal timing for footballers.
  • Hydration Strategies: Emphasize the role of hydration in performance and recovery, providing guidelines for fluid intake before, during, and after strength training sessions.

Section 6: Recovery Strategies for Optimal Performance

  • Rest and Recovery Techniques: Explore various recovery methods, including active recovery, sleep optimization, and recovery technologies, that support muscle repair and growth.
  • Incorporating Rest Days: Stress the importance of rest days in a strength training regimen, discussing the physiological benefits of allowing muscles to recover.

Section 7: Technology and Innovation in Strength Training

  • Wearable Tech in Training: Examine how wearable technology is used to monitor performance and progress in strength training, offering examples of devices and their benefits.
  • Virtual Training Programs and Apps: Highlight the role of apps and online platforms in providing accessible, personalized strength training programs for footballers.

Section 8: Psychological Aspects of Strength Training

  • Building a Growth Mindset: Discuss how strength training challenges can foster a growth mindset among footballers, leading to improved resilience and adaptability.
  • The Role of Coaching in Mental Preparation: Highlight how coaches can support athletes mentally through strength training, including setting realistic goals and creating a positive training environment.

Section 9: Forward-Looking: The Future of Strength Training in Football

  • Emerging Trends and Practices: Speculate on future trends in strength training for footballers, such as the integration of AI and machine learning for personalized training plans.
  • The Holistic Athlete: Conclude with a vision of the future where strength training is part of a holistic approach to footballer development, emphasizing balance, wellness, and long-term career planning.

Call to Action

Don’t miss out on more content on football training and expert advice. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and register for the upcoming live podcast episode with Jack McLean for an in-depth discussion on strength training for footballers.


Click the link below to book a FREE footballer discovery call with Jack.


Pro Sports Contract JourneyCategoriesPodcast Strength & Conditioning Weekly Updates

#108 – From Intern To Your First Pro Contract

Unlocking Your Path to a Pro Sports Contract

Finding Your Way: Exploring Career Paths in Sports

Embarking on a journey towards a professional sports contract can be both thrilling and daunting. Whether you’re currently interning at a sports club or contemplating the next step after completing your academic qualifications, it’s crucial to understand the various career paths available to you. The Pro Sports Contract Journey is a complex yet rewarding process that requires dedication, perseverance, and strategic planning. As you navigate through the competitive landscape of professional sports, having a clear vision of your goals and leveraging opportunities can significantly impact your trajectory within the industry. From honing your skills on the field to building a robust network of contacts, each step along the Pro Sports Contract Journey contributes to your overall growth and success. Whether you aspire to be a player, coach, agent, or part of the management team, embracing the challenges and learning experiences inherent in this journey will ultimately shape your career in the sports industry.

Highlights of the episode:

  • How to create valuable relationships during your internship
  • Fastest route to get a fulltime contract in pro sport
  • How many years in the semi-professional level before going to pro sport roles
  • What academic qualifications are needed
  • Advice for coaches starting in high-performance sport

Internship Insights: Making the Most of Your Opportunity

Internships serve as invaluable stepping stones in the sports industry. During your internship, prioritize assisting team members and making their lives easier. This not only builds trust and respect but also fosters essential relationships that can open doors to future opportunities.

Academic Qualifications: The Gateway to Full-Time Contracts

To secure a full-time contract in the sports field, having the right academic qualifications is key. A Bachelor of Sports Science or its equivalent is often the minimum requirement. However, pursuing higher education, such as a PhD, can fast-track your journey to gaining full-time experience.

Personal Growth: Nurturing Diverse Experiences

Personal growth and experience play a pivotal role in your journey to a pro sports contract. Explore diverse opportunities, from working with injured athletes to gaining experience in personal training and community-level sports. Building expertise across various training environments enhances your marketability and career prospects.

Networking and Relationship Building: Cultivating Connections

Networking and building strong relationships are essential components of career advancement in sports. Leveraging your internship to connect with industry professionals and mentors can significantly impact your future trajectory. Remember, it’s not just about what you know but also who you know.

Insights and Advice: Navigating the Sports Industry

As you navigate the competitive landscape of the sports industry, seek insights and advice from seasoned professionals. Understand what coaches look for in candidates and gather valuable tips for starting your career journey in sports.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

Are you ready to enhance your coaching? Uncover the strategies to build a thriving online platform, liberating yourself from the time-for-money constraints while pursuing a career as an AFL S&C coach.

Book a FREE coaches discovery call