Tempo? Hypertrophy? Volume?
Common mistakes and myths around training
Volume of sets, load of rep and intensity of weight
Attempts to lift tempo is a common mistake made in preparing athletes, so too is not ensuring players, when partnered together, are adjusting the loads to suit their specific personal percentages. Be vigilant when coaching the gym floor.
How about hypertrophy? I get asked about that a lot. Keep it simple, lift something heavy, stress your muscles, eat, rest and then repeat!! Do this cycle with intensity and consistency. You'll grow big and strong. All rep ranges can produce hypertrophy. From 3 to 20+. Lots of volume which you know as sets, good intensity which you know as the percentage of your 1 to 3 rep max. Then the reps to produce the training load.
Rep sets for hypertrophy gains are based around volume and intensity. Six to 12 reps varied during sets with intense load. Strength and size... German formats rule! 8 x 8 at 75%, 6 x 6 at 80%, and/or 10 x 3 at 90%.
Rep ranges can be varied and their true relevance negated by well managed SETS. The sets are your volume, for example 8 x 3 is as effective as 8 X 8. You have to have a good range set, load, tension, you can add a high rep set on the end of any set for hypertrophy, but to gain both strength and size is ideally in the 6 to 8 set scheme with reps between 4 and 8. 12 to 20 is good to finish off with as a blast.
Shifting the weight and holding tension facilitates a hormonal response, it also puts demand and activates your Central Nervous System. The body is very adaptable and responsive, it responds to mechanical stress, internal metabolic stress, and muscle damage repair. It WANTS to work!!
Weight Loss and Body Shaping
When stripping men down bouts of intensive anaerobic threshold work are very effective, more so than long bouts of low-to-medium intensity work. High rep metabolic body weight, and varied weight training drills, are also effective. Outdoor drills skills and body-load will speed the process. Keep in mind if the joints and tendons are overloaded, for example from excess body fat, failure to manage the loads may compromise the entire process.
True failure only in preseason is very taxing, very metabolic and depletes all the major energy systems. It also leads to extensive soreness so yes to failures but not in season. Tempo is crucial for players, it's the way systems will be used in play and needs to be varied. It shunts blood and indeed selects appropriate energy source under duress, it is controlled by attitude and mental fortitude.
Don't forget the prehabilitation
Prehab before field sessions, might include targeted areas of shoulders, hips etc through physio and nature of lift, but... it's ALWAYS done fresh. Big, but specific and targeted! Functional screening at the start of every preseason and for juniors; this is to identify foundation and mechanical competence. Very important, so don't be tempted to avoid this crucial foundation marker.
Younger trainers are coached excessively in the area of lifting technique; load is not important, range and cadence is! Once control of descent, bottoming out and chain stabilization is achieved then small progressions can be introduced. In most cases we will use Olympic lifts, they're neither time consuming nor too technical.
Pre-season, keep it steady
Pre-season is generic until the last three weeks where very specific football drills are introduced. This enables drills to be executed at high speed and under fatigue. This is your "Hardwire Processing Phase", building the bank of neural pathways and loading the physiological fuel systems. For testing you can use VO2 treadmill gaseous exchange, Wingate power, light gates, yo yo and so on, twice in the preseason, while data GPs collection methods allow constant daily and live scrutiny.
Hills and sand are anaerobic lactic threshold drills and improve muscular endurance. Positive, very quick loading and easy to maintain intensity levels, though ensure you consider contraindications, with variable gradient and surface underfoot in mind. These drills provide more synergistic muscle involvement, while challenging large balance and postural chains, particularly under fatigue. Focus on what works for the athlete and group, you can use the hill for high intensity short duration sets, or use the sand for power explosive sets and reload. Think weight training protocol when designing drills.
Wellbeing; a critical component of performance
Daily well-being is crucial to a harmonious relationship between coaches and players, not only do red flags raise earlier, but we are committed to a duty of care!! We can identify and head off potential disruptions to the training sessions which improve specific game preparation. We'll also look for patterns in energy and bio rhythms in athletes.
The most important exercises for football players are outside! Muscle and power can be developed and sequentially placed through the season. The results with this type of specific target training is weekly based. The aerobic, anaerobic and phosphate systems are developed and physiologically ingrained over years. The older and longer the athlete is exposed to threshold training of these systems the more resilient and capable of fueling, depleting and refueling the body becomes. The metabolic loading of this type of training builds integrity of tendon, ligament and joint areas. Mental fortitude is an automatic development whether they like it or not!!
Most importantly, regardless of the aggressive look on my face in the charming photo below! I am a really friendly and warm person. Start a conversation with me in this blog and ask me about my well-being coaching modalities which I encourage for participants being coached by me in elite success in sport and in business.
And there you have this installment.
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Don Singe is the Director of Physical Performance with one of the NRLs most prestigious football clubs. Don began his career as a professional fitness instructor and personal trainer. He spent 13 seasons at the helm of The Manly Sea Eagles NRL Club as the Head of Strength and conditioning 2003 till 2015. Though he is positioned with the NRL and Competitive National Sporting bodies, his elite work history includes National and International sporting codes including, Australian Tennis, Australian Ice Hockey, K1 combat competitors and Rugby Union. He coaches a multitude of both professional and amateur athletes and fitness enthusiast and currently dedicates his expertise to the NRL and corporate leadership mentoring. Don is a proud Well-being Coach graduate of Cadence health.
We all have a role to play in community health, the only question is how do we play this role? Through intelligent, evidence-based inquiry we can understand how to health coach to support others in taking on positive behaviour change.