Just some training musings

In among all the discussion and thought and planning around training principles and approaches: bilateral or unilateral, velocity based training, where do I include isometrics, what % of MAS should I train at in this week blah blah blah, it is so easy to get caught up and forget basic principles. So here I just go over few real keys – based on various quotes (which I like to collect refer back to), that if you can stick to, your training and progress will be good.


‘The best rep scheme out there is 3 x 52. Show up 3 times per week for 52 weeks. See what happens. Master the art of showing up.’

Charlie Reid


An often-heard comment in physical preparation is ‘the best ability is availability’ – and this ties in pretty closely with that. Consistency is everything. Just show up!

Don’t get too caught up with what something looks like on paper (especially if you have someone else doing the planning for you) – it’s all about the delivery of it – and showing up. Yes is what you are doing is off the mark, the result won’t be as effective as a more specific and managed approach. But showing up consistently is always the majority of the battle. A poor program performed consistently is still always better than an brilliant program performed inconsistently.


‘There is no such thing as over-training, only under-recovery.’

Brandon Marcello PhD


Nice and simple, and most certainly not sexy. But training (the stimulus) is only half the equation. It is with appropriate recovery that the response occurs, and allows for continual improvement to occur layer upon layer. Ignore recovery at your peril. And it doesn’t need to be too fancy either – once again, it’s the big rocks that count the most – eat properly consistently and sleep well consistently.


Context is everything’

Infinite number of coaches over the years


-Is ‘X’ a ‘good’ exercise? Individual exercises mean a lot less without their place in an overall program. In addition, what are the goals, what is the persons ability, what is the stage of the season?

-Full range of motion or partial? Depends on personal ability, goals, stage of the preparation, etc

-Is isolation training pointless? No – generally speaking compound-based work is what we look for – but isolation work is very valuable in the right context (weaknesses or limitations, early-stage re-hab, etc) before integrating it.


-Unilateral or bilateral?

-Squat or split squat?

-Olympic lift or plyometric?

-And on it goes…..


All dependent on the context. The problem is, we like short and simple and concise responses and information for everything to be black and white. The reality is that physical preparation doesn’t work that way (neither do a lot of other things really, despite the way they are often portrayed in popular culture).


Just one final quick thought – the worst reason to not train for a number of weeks is ‘I’m injured.’

Once again context is key here – this doesn’t mean a hamstring strain shouldn’t hold you back from going to footy training. But that same hamstring strain shouldn’t be an issue when working on upper body, or even properly coached lower body work – in actual fact, it will speed up the recovery process if done properly. Actually now that I think about it, I will expand on this last point next time – it’s a big one.

Strength Coach

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