Carve Footy Muscle WIth Training Tips From An AFL Strength Coach

Cameron Falloon is an elite strength and conditioning coach for over 30 years. Following an extensive career as head S&C coach for elite sporting teams including the Geelong Cats, Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide Power, Falloon travelled the world training elite international soccer teams. Oh, and he was also Princess Diana’s trainer back in the day. To say he knows a thing or two about training would be an understatement.

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Falloon has since founded award-winning group training franchise Body Fit Training which takes the same principles he applies to training elite athletes, and makes them available to everyone. With 200 studios due to be open around the world by the end of 2021, his training style will be widely available.

As we head to the pointy end of the AFL season, we asked the big man himself for his top tips on how you too can train like a pro. 

Train In Blocks

I am a big fan of training both my clients and my teams in 4-6 week blocks. This strategy allows us to keep increasing capacity and capability over those weeks which allows for better long term results. 

Block training is where we focus on a few target abilities during the training cycle. The reason for doing this is because athletes with a long background in training need great stimuluses to further improve their performance. Therefore blocks of heavy training can provide them with a better stimulus to help them avoid plateau than a single heavy session that they keep repeating.

Throughout the training block, the athlete is over extending themselves momentarily, but after the block is finished, they rest and recover before coming back to a new training block.

A progression-based program enables faster, better and more consistent results. It also gives you a period of time to focus on before you recover and then you come back stronger than before.

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Track Your Performance

This one should come as no surprise these days as we are tracking everything from steps to sleep to what we are eating. If you aren’t tracking your workouts, you have no gauge on how you are performing, improving or plateauing. We use heart-rate monitors at Body Fit Training to that members can track how hard they are working, but also when they should be resting. Members can also log their results to keep an eye on their progress over time.

Mix Up Your Training Styles 

To train like an AFL player, you need to consider all the elements of the game. AFL players need endurance to run for the whole match. They need to be able to sprint, kick, jump so they need to be powerful. Like any good training program, it needs to be a well-rounded approach. Some of the key focuses would be:

  • Endurance training 
    • Working higher reps with minimal rest will help to improve an athlete’s endurance as well as their muscular strength
  • Sprint training
    • AFL players need to be able to sprint, therefore working on their ATP-PC energy system is important. To work on this we do sprint training and HIIT training 
  • Strength
    • Working on building the athlete’s strength and posture is important to prevent injury and be able to take the physicality of the game on
  • Plyometrics: 
    • AFL players do a lot of jumping, therefore jump lunges, burpees, and jump squats are always included in our programs
  • Single leg exercises 
    • When you run, you are on one leg at a time. To get both legs equally strong, and to avoid your ‘strong’ leg taking over, single leg exercises are key. Walking lunges, running lunges, TRX pistol squats are all great exercises to help to strengthen up your legs
  • Deload/rest days 
    • These are just as important as all the other elements, but to be able to play to the best of their ability on game day, it’s so important to have rest days and deload days to reset and recharge the body
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Make The Time 

It’s one thing to have a plan to do the work, it’s another thing to actually execute it. Make sure you make the time to do your training sessions and commit to them. Put the hour you are available to train into your diary and keep it like you would any other appointment.

Additionally, make sure you do the right things to help you recover. Strength, roll out on a foam roller, eat a protein rich meal, get a good amount of sleep. All of these factors will help you achieve your goals.