AFL Fitness Tips from Richmond’s Strength and Conditioning Coach

This weekend is undeniably a big one for footy fans. Rugby League-wise we’ve got the first NRL grand final since the scrapping of the McIntyre finals system, with the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs facing Melbourne Storm, in their first grand final since the salary cap controversy. Saturday, of course, is the AFL’s Grand Final – Hawthorn facing the Sydney Swans for the first time in the history of the league. Two exciting matches, one perfect weekend of sport.

No matter how it’s played, it requires enormous amounts of discipline, raw strength, endurance and commitment to play at professional level. Harvey Norman has shared with us a Q&A on AFL regimes with Adam Douglas, the strength and conditioning coach and team runner at Richmond FC. Read on for the tips and tricks followed by Coleman Medal winner Jack Riewoldt:

What sort of training do the players have to go through to get match fit?

The players do regular sessions of cross training. This can range from completing sessions in the pool, bikes, rowing, boxing and circuit training. It is a great way of challenging them physically while at the same time unloading their legs.

How important is nutrition in relation to this training and their performance on the field?

Good nutritional practices play a major role in allowing the players to perform at their optimal levels. We have a strong education program based on improving nutritional habits for each player when training; in competition and for recovery.

Does training change at all when you have a big match coming up?

We certainly alter the training loads throughout the week depending on the individuals’ requirements and the amount of days break between games.

What kind of equipment is needed when monitoring a fitness regime at this level?

Garmin Forerunner 610 watches are used to track a lot of our training on-field and also for the off-season programming. We also use Catapult GPS units on the squad for monitoring player load in training and on match day.

What sort of distances do the players cover in a typical game?

The players can cover distances of anywhere between 12-16kms throughout a match.

Can you share any fitness tips or nutrition advice with our readers that could help them to achieve their fitness goals?

Train early! Set goals: tell people about them and train with a partner. Nutrition is of major importance; expend more than you are putting in.

One last question: inside or outside the AFL, who is your sporting hero?

The average weekend warrior. They are out there pushing the boundaries; training and competing purely for the love of it!

If this weekend of sport manages to get you fired up for meeting your own fitness goals, you might want to check out the home gym equipment selection over at Harvey Norman. Don’t throw yourself into a full 16 kilometre run straight away though – the road to fitness is as long as the road to the Grand Final.

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