Strength and conditioning training blog

IN SEASON TRAINING: Why do we sprint and lift weights during the season?

Author: Matt Ross
weight lifting for strength and conditioning
A more recent question, put to me by a few athletes in 2019 who were in our under 18 NAB League squad for Gippsland Power. “What’s the point of sprinting and doing weights if we aren’t going to get fitter, or stronger?”. This is actually a good question, that comes up regularly from not just players, but coaches as well.

Simply put, the answer is to prepare our bodies for the demands of AFL footy and assist in reducing injury and maintaining strength, power and speed. The training done in-season needs to completed with consideration around training loads, fatigue and recovery, so obviously the weight sessions and speed work is based on quality rather than quantity.

Speed & Strength:
Our goal with speed work is to aim for athletes to reach their top speeds throughout the week (not every week), which is beneficial in multiple ways. Reaching >95% of max velocity assists in speed development and also exposes the body to high metabolic demands, which are often seen when competing on game day. If athletes are never exposed to these speeds, they can be seen to be at a greater risk of injury on game day, when these tempos are required. In saying this, it definitely does not bulletproof the body, and injuries can still occur.
Combining this speed work with appropriate strength training is crucial in order to properly balance training load and attempt to reduce the risk of injury. The hamstrings are a big topic in AFL footy, and a significant part of training programs are often designed to mitigate this risk.

The strength training, I normally prescribe in-season is based around quality of the lift, and making sure we aren’t lifting too much to inhibit significant DOMS. Doing this properly and targeting strength and power in various micro cycles in-season, has shown to help us not just reduce injuries, but also maintain our strength, speed and power.
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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Strength and conditioning coaching.
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