Setting Up a Training Plan for Aus Football

I’m 19 years old, 181cm, 72kg been playing footy since I was 11. I play as utlity, so I don’t really have a set position. I’ve been weight training for 2-3 years, speed training for about 1-1.5 years - so I’m still very young in terms of training age. Not genetically athletic (speed, strength or endurance). Used to be really skinny, but am now around average/slightly above. Strength is average and needs work (Deads=140kg, Front Squat=70kg, Bench =70kg, 5 WG Pull ups, 70kg BB Row). No idea what my times are for sprinting.

I’ve read Training For Speed by CF and read the forums fairly regularly and to me his training methods make the most sense - rather than doing a whole heap of middle distance, speed/special endurance/intensive tempo every day that most other footy players are doing.

As for overall planning it’s very rough for me ATM. I’m not a sports science academic so I don’t know all the terminology well, but I have 3 phases (mesocycles?):

Phase 1 (October to Feb): Off-season (no games). General Fitness emphasis (speed, strength, endurance – good improvements). Skills start in January.

A typical off season week of training for me:

M – Speed/Hills + Weights
Tu – Tempo
W – Speed/Hills + Weights (maybe another tempo depending on how I feel)
Th - Tempo
F – Speed/Hills + Weights
Sa - Tempo

Phase 2 (Feb to March): Pre-Season (practice/friendly/intraclub games etc.). Skills emphasis, medium emphasis on general fitness (slight improvements).

A typical pre-season week of training for me

M – Speed/Hills + Weights
Tu –Team training (skills and fitness) (maybe+tempo – depends on team training)
W – Speed/Hills + Weights
Th – Team training (skills and fitness) (maybe+tempo – depends on team training)
F – Tempo
Sa – Game day
Su – REST/LV tempo

Phase 3 (March to late September): In-season (league games and finals). High emphasis on being fresh for games and skills, low emphasis on general fitness (maintain/very slight improvements if possible)

Typical in season week of training for me:

M – Speed/Hills + Weights
Tu –Skills (team training)
W – Weights (+HV tempo if I’m lacking conditioning)
Th – Skills (team training)
F – Rest/LV tempo
Sa – Game day
Su – Rest/LV tempo

Typical Weights =
Squat/Deadlift variation – 3 sets x <5 reps
Upper Pulling Lift (e.g. chin/pull-ups, rows) – 3 sets x 4-8 reps
Upper Pressing Lift (e.g. bench press, push-ups, military press) – 3 sets x 4-8 reps
Hip Extension Dominant Lift (only for squatting days) e.g. RDL/SLDL, Reverse Hypers – 2 sets x 5-8 reps

Similar for all phases.

Typical Weights progression = try and increase weights/reps on each lift every session (gradual incretements). Change exercise variations every 2-3 weeks.

Typical speed session = nothing longer than 40m (mostly 5-25m), some flying sprints occasionally – mostly accels. Full recovery b/w reps. Total volume would start off at around 100m per session and reach maximum at 250m per session. Various starts (push-up,mountain climber,3pt,backpedalling,standing etc.), relax/don’t think about it too much. I will stop if I feel quality is decreasing/I feel tired/slower. During season I keep it low volume - I won’t go over 150m total volume.

Typical Speed progression = I gradually increase volume starting off at around 100m total volume and once I reach 250m total volume I keep it constant.

Typical hills session and progression = 3 x 10 x 20m (4min rest b/w sets). No real progression (keep it constant - unless I’m very deconditioned).

Typical Tempo Session= 3 x ? x 75/100m @ 70% (1:2-2.5 work to rest ratio – I either time rest or walk ½ the distance I sprinted). Occasionally (every 2-3 weeks) I do cross training to deload muscles/joints from running (e.g. rowing, swimming, boxing, BW circuit training etc.). During season I’ll use lower volume tempo (less than or = to 2000m total volume) i.e. more for active recovery rather than endurance.

Typical Tempo progression = Aim to be doing more than 3000m total volume by the end of pre-season. Hard to explain, how I progress, so I’ll give an example:


Tu – 3 x 7 x 100m (2100m total)
Th – same as above
Sa – 1 x 8 x 100m, 2 x 7 x100m (2200m total)


Tu – same as last Sa
Th – 2 x 8 x 100m, 1 x 7 x100m (2300m total)
Sa – same as above


Tu – 3 x 8 x 100m (2400m total)

My questions are, how do you rate my current planning and how could I possibly improve it? (if I can provide any more info let me know)…

P.S. For those that aren’t familiar with the sport here are some links: (explanation of rules) (dying moments from the 2006 AFL GF – most other youtube clips just show flashy highlights)

Easiest comparison to another sport = Gaelic football (sorry if I’ve confused you more!)

I’m not a AFL guy (Gaelic, though I know a little about AFL) but here’s a few pointers mate …

Phase 1 -
Probably too many hill sessions in there.
Incoroporate some skill work in there too.
Use 2 rest days from time to time also - it’s a long year.
What kind of regeneration work you doing?

Phase 2 & 3 - I would do something like this …
SU - Light Tempo (& perhaps light Upper Body Weights)
M - Rest Day
Tu - Weights/Speed/Hills & Team work
W - tempo (or off if needed)
Th - Weights/Speed/Hills & Team work
F - Tempo (or off if needed)
S - Game

Inlcude a little more unilateral strength work in phase 1 if you like.

Thanks for your response, no23.

I do hills in a ABA format with flat speed so 1-2 sessions per week (/ = or). Is that still too much?

I do start skills earlier than when team sessions start (Jan), but not enough to constitute a session (normally include some easy kicking, handballing and ball handling drills as part of the warm-up).

I skip sessions if I don’t feel physically and mentally ready for them.

Regeneration, I foam/hockey ball roll lower limbs + T-spine region and self massage upper limbs - 4 nights/week on average (also foam roll as part of warm-up). Sports massage once per month. Contrast showers after hard sessions (although they don’t seem to work to well in the middle of summer!). I probably have a lot of room for improvement in this area.

Should’ve mentioned, I include unilateral exercises (bulgarian split sq, stepups or reverse lunges) in place of the squat/deadlift variation every 3rd session.

Ok that seems pretty good then

I didn’t see this thread until just now but jgb at your height and weight it’s pretty likely you’re going to be a running type, unless you’re a forward pocket specialist. Charlie has recommended around 12,000m of tempo per week for soccer in the off/pre-season. The running requirements for soccer and footy are pretty similar so you might want to consider upping your tempo volume a bit.

Hey dicko6,

I remember reading your journal a while back. When you say around 12,000m of tempo volume per week how would you divide it i.e. 4 sessions/week of ~3000m volume, 3 sessions/week of ~4000m volume (how long should reps be for >4000m total volume?)?

Keep it at 3 session a week. In the soccer thread Charlie suggested 2 big circuits back to back. The big circuit is
The +'s are 50m walks and walk 100m at the end of each set. 2 lots of this gives you 4200m for the day so you could lop a couple of 100’s off if you wanted. I wish I’d done this a couple of years ago, my fitness has improved considerably from these sessions.

Tah mate. I’ll give it a go at my next tempo session. Do you the tempo session on an aths track, or do you do the 200s straight i.e. at a park?

Keep on the grass for tempo and guage the speed by being able to do the last rep at the same speed as the first- you can always increase the pace part way through- but you can’t take it back!

After running 3 x 10 x 100m @ ~70% last week, I gave the big circuit a try (a couple of days ago) and I got slaughtered by the 150s (massive LA build up) - couldn’t even complete the big circuit one time through, let alone 2. So I’m currently just working on running 150m tempo repeats to get used to the longer distance.

As I mentioned, I set it up like differently (did “150+150” instead of “200+100” - as the grass straight at the field I run at only goes just over 150m):


Is this fine to do? Should I make any further adjustments to the circuit to better accomodate the changes I made?

Looks fine to me mate.
Tempo always looks easy on paper but it’s certainly tough once you try it. Remember to keep the same pace for each run. Start as slow as you like and you can build from there. If you can’t make through just work on adding to the sets each time.