Every sport we compete in requires some sort of routine to fire up the necessary muscles. The more physical the sport, the more important it is to pay attention t those specifics.
Aussie Rules is one of the most physical codes around. Just running alone you need speed, endurance and agility. Add in jumping, sometimes alone tho most likely against an opponent, tackling, being tackled from any angle and the full-bodied bumps. Yep, all the things we love is why we play. And to make sure we continue playing, its important to prep our bodies right, at every session and game.
A regular routine, covering some key components will ensure reduced chance of soft tissue injuries and perfect opportunity to incorporate some strength work around the lower limbs.
Start with slow, no impact exercises:
Sumo Squats, Lunges, Floor Sweeps (for hamstrings), RDL’s (Russian dead lifts), side hops with a hold.
Then slowly add more movement:
Open/Close gates, A skips, Waist high kicks, Hip twists (or karaokes), Ground touches, Backwards Shuffles, Forward/Vertical Jumps.
As the Legs get Warmer:
B Skips (higher leaps, arms), Single hamstring flicks, Side steps, Higher kicks, and run throughs increase running to 80-90%.
You should not get to 100% efforts inside that first 20 mins of warming up. Always add in plenty of touches of the footy, both in hand-passing and kicking, building speed and distance into that too. It is very important to add deceleration, one legged and two legged, as this builds strength around the muscles to reduce chances of ACL’s and also develops good stopping techniques. With plenty of focus on your hip area you will ensure good mobility, as this reduces significantly as we age.
Post each match or training session, make sure you spend some time doing static stretches. This is the first part of the recovery process, and important way to continue good flexibility through our joints and muscles. Our hamstrings take a battering during the kicking and sprinting phases so spend good time stretching that area. For anyone, most especially females, it is important to stretch through your IT band, or hip flexor area. As we age, or become less flexible, or during that time of the month, this can shorten and tighten up, and contributes to those dreaded ACL’s.
The beauty of masters is having people who have been in the game a long time. No doubt, with plenty of knowledge of the game and a ton of stories to tell, though some may not have kept up with the developments of sports science, and may be of the old ‘two laps of the oval’ type warmup.
If your coach fits into that category, consider hiring an expert for a couple of sessions to teach and setup a good routine for your club. All accredited coaches will have access to the Prep to Play videos, specific for females (and with a cameo from Darebin star forward Jane Lange), so check if they have watched that yet.
And let’s face it, no one wants to pull a hammy during the warmup, or miss that vital snap at goal due to hip mobility challenges. So be good to yourselves, warmup well, stretch good and I will see you at the bar for a story after the game.