Strength and conditioning training blog


Author: Matt Ross
A "primer" session in athletic performance refers to a training session done  approximately 24-48 hours pre-match that is designed to prepare the body for performance. The goal of a primer session is to "prime" or activate the muscles and neural pathways that will be used during the match, helping to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.

During a primer session, athletes typically perform a series of exercises and/or drills that target the specific muscle groups and movement patterns that will be used during the subsequent match. For example, if competing in an AFL game, this will involve sprinting, jumping, changing of direction and vast amounts of running (plus a lot more), therefore, the priming session should include exercises to prepare for this. The volume and intensity of the exercises during a priming session should be moderate and individualized based on the athlete's needs and goals. The exercises should be challenging enough to activate the targeted muscle groups, but not so intense that they cause fatigue or soreness. The movements completed should also be done with intent to ensure adequate priming of the neural pathway.


As previously mentioned AFL involves sprinting, jumping, changing of direction and vast amounts of running, therefore it will be important to undertake exercises that will prime the glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings to ensure the body is the best shape to undertake these movements. SO what exercises will that be? Variations of the Deadlift, squats, jumps, plyometrics, as well as explosive upper body movements such as push ups, bench presses and pull ups (given these can be completed with speed and intensity). The volume and intensity of a priming session for AFL will typically be short, with moderate intensity with exercises being done with explosiveness and power.

A session may look something like this:
- Completed approximately 30-48hrs before the match to ensure no fatigue or soreness on match day.

A1 - Trap Bar Jump (4x4)
A2 - Fig 4 Switches (3x5 ES) (running technique drill)
B1 - KB/BB High Pull (4x4)
B2 - Drop Jump (4x3)
C1 - Banded DB Floor Press (3x6)
C2 - Lying Med Ball Throw (3x6)
D1 - Lateral Step to Jump (3x4 ES)

In addition to improving performance and reducing the risk of injury, a primer session can also help athletes mentally prepare for the training session to come. By focusing on the muscles and movements that they will be using during the subsequent session, athletes can enter the match with greater confidence and focus.
Matt Ross strength and conditioning coach

about the author

Matt is an experienced and qualified trainer who works with athletes of any age to achieve their sporting goals and improve athletic performance.

Matt develops custom, elite training programs that focus on strength and conditioning training and athletic performance.

To work with Matt, get in touch.

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