Cricket is a popular sport within Australia and shows strong participation rates across the community. The sport is associated with injury with pace bowlers the most injured group followed by batters and then fielders. Majority of injuries are non-contact with the lower back, shoulder, and lower limbs the most commonly damaged areas. To counteract the chance of injury and improve your performance on the field, completing strength training is a proven method. Consistently completing strength training improves muscular strength, power and neuromuscular control. Improving these factors will assist you in staying injury free and allow you to perform better on the field. Training should focus on increasing trunk anti-flexion, rotational, lower limb and upper limb strength & power. Below are 5 exercises that can be completed to best prepare yourself for the upcoming Cricket Season.
- Side Plank – 3 sets x 30 second hold each side
Regression: Side Lay Hold – 3 sets x 30 second hold each side
Progression: GHD Trunk Anti-Flexion Isometric Hold – 3 sets x 15- 30 second hold each side
- Lat Pulldown – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps
Goal: Increase upper body strength. Specifically focussed on improving shoulder strength and scapula control. Due to the high use of the rotator cuff muscles when bowling and throwing it is important, that we train the area to increase strength and power. This will allow for greater force production during bowling and throwing.
Regression: Scap Pull Ups – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps
Progression: Pull Ups – 3-4 sets x AMRAP
- Single Leg RDL to Hip Lock – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps each side
Goal: Strengthen the hip extensor muscles (hamstrings and glutes) through full range at the hip. The movement mimics the running gait which is vital for the bowling run-up. Speed into the crease has been shown to increase bowling speed for pace bowlers. Being able to produce greater force throughout the gait will allow the athlete to reach greater running speed during the bowling run-up.
Regression: Single Leg RDL – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
Progression: Single Leg RDL to Step Up – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
- Cable Rotation – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps each side
Goal: Improve trunk rotational strength and power in a standing position setup similar to the batting stance setup. Focussing on this area will help the athlete produce force throughout a rotational pattern similar to a stroke played during cricket. Focus on staying strong through your lower body and core to ensure you maintain an upright position that allows for power to be produced.
Regression: Medicine ball Russian Twists – 3-4 sets x 8-15 reps on each side
Progression: Medicine Ball Hip Toss – 3-4 sets x 4-8 reps on each side
- Barbell Step-Up into Knee Drive – 3-4 sets x 4-8 reps each side
Goal: Improve the athlete’s ability to absorb force at foot contact and then produce powerful concentric force during the step-up. It is beneficial for pace bowlers as they need to be able to absorb large amounts of force through the front leg during the landing phase in the bowling action.
Regression: Barbell Split Squat – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps each side
Progression: Waterbag Step-Up into Knee Drive – 3-4 sets x 4-8 reps each side
Hopefully this gives Cricket athletes and coaches some good ideas of where to start with their strength training.
If you have any questions or you are interested in starting strength training to improve your Cricket performance get in touch with the team at the Radcentre.
Netball is a sport played at high intensities with many accelerations, decelerations, changes of direction, jumping and landings performed by players throughout the game. No matter what position you play on the court you need to be able to jump, catch the ball and often land on one leg before passing it off again – but do you have a solid strength base to be able to perform this over and over again in a game?
If we look at the most common injuries in Netball, it is evident that a very high percentage occur to the knee and ankle as a result of a poor landing – whether that be because of contact or not. Completing a structured strength training program can help to reduce the risk of the injuries from occurring.
In addition to the normal skills training, physical preparation for netball should contain elements of:
• Balance and proprioception
• Total body strength but most notably the lower body and core
To help decrease your risk of injury but also improve your performance on the court we have come up with a list of our top 5 exercises for netball. We have also made it so the exercises can all be performed at the court with minimal equipment.
Top 5 exercises for Netball:
1. Single leg Landing
• Start with two feet together, stand up tall on your tip toes, arms reaching for the sky.
• Quick drop and stick on one leg
• Nail the landing, “attack the ground”
• Keep the knee in line with the foot – don’t let the knee drop inwards
• 3 sets of 6 landings each leg
• Step off a box or step then stick the landing on one leg
2. Single leg squat
• Best performed balancing off the edge of step or ledge, looking for ¼ squat depth.
• Keep knee tracking in line with your foot, do not let your knee drop inwards
• Control movement down until opposite leg touches the ground
• 3 sets of 15 reps each leg
3. Single leg RDL/Arabesque
• Starting one on leg
• Extend one leg backwards, and both arms forward or out to the side to help balance
• Bending from the hips, keeping your back straight and hips level
• At the top position we want a straight line from head to heel.
• Then control the return back to the start position – try and stay balanced for all 6 reps
• 3 sets of 6 reps each leg
4. Glute Bridge
• Lying on your back, feet shoulder width apart, heels close to your finger tips
• Drive through your heels, lifting your hips towards the sky
• At the top position, after a straight line from knees to shoulders – squeeze your bottom at the top position and hold for 2 seconds
• 3 sets of 15 reps
5. Side plank
• Lying on your side with legs out straight, forearm/elbow placed directly under your shoulder
• Lift your body up off the ground, pressing through the forearm and feet
• Maintain a straight line from head to heel, try and keep your hips high
• 3 x 30 secs each side
By performing this batch of top 5 exercises for netball twice per week it will play a role in decreasing your risk on injury and increasing on court performance. Improving your ability to land and balance on leg, as well as increasing your strength in the contest.
Completing a structured strength training program is essential to your development as a netballer, especially if you are looking to take your game to the next level.
Supermarket roast chicken is an easy protein source if you’re traveling, or haven’t got a lot of time or resources to cook. Of course you can have it as is, with some veggies, but why not mix it up or use the left overs for something a little bit different? Pasta, rice paper rolls or rice noodle salad, burrito bowls, chicken wraps…
Here’s our chicken and veggie pasta recipe to get you started. This is a great option for a pre competition meal (~4 hours pre event, or the night before), or recovery meal. Stay tuned for more recipe ideas!
- Cooked pasta
- Shredded chicken
- 2 tins of tomatoes
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- Olive oil
- Diced celery, carrot and onion.
- Spinach leaves
- Fresh or dried herbs, and or chilli
- Basil pesto
- Extra veggies.
- *Zucchini, eggplant, capsicum and mushroom go well in this dish. But you can use anything you have on hand, even frozen vegetables will work. If you’d like to add broccoli, add it to the pasta water to soften, then stir through your sauce towards the end.
- Cook diced onion, celery and carrot in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil until they soften (don’t let them get too crispy and brown). If you like bacon, you can add some chopped bacon at this point too.
- Add a couple of tins of tomatoes, some tomato paste and any extra chopped veggies to the pan.
- Rinse one of the cans with water and tip a little bit into the pan. Let it all simmer.
- Once veggies are soft and sauce has thickened up a bit, stir through some spinach leaves and your shredded chicken.
- If sauce looks like it’s getting too thick, add some water. If it’s too watery, keep cooking it.
- You may also like to stir through some basil pesto, fresh or dry herbs or chilli at the end. Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Add your sauce to cooked pasta, top with parmesan cheese and extra herbs if you like, serve and enjoy!
If your having this as a mid week or recovery meal and feel like you need some extra veggies, serve with a side salad or steamed veggies.
If you’d prefer a pasta bake, stir sauce through pasta, add to a baking dish, cover with cheese and bake until golden.
If you have any questions on this recipe or anything nutrition related – get in touch with our Accredited Sports Dietitian – Michelle Ryan:
Muffins make a great snack when you’re on the run! Grab one pre training or event, for morning or afternoon tea, pop them in your lunch box, or share some with your team mates at a tournament.
Take our easy base, one bowl recipe then add your own flavours – your imagination is the limit!
Mix-ins might include fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruit, chocolate bits, nuts, seeds, nut butters, cinnamon, muesli. Making muffins is a fab way of using up fruit that is a little bit past it’s prime.
If you’re making them for pre event snacks, maybe keep the chocolate to a minimum. If you’re sharing or taking to school be mindful of anyone with allergies if you are adding nuts.
You can even add some veggies like grated carrot, zucchini or beetroot.
- 2 ¼ cups self-raising flour
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 3 tbs butter
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- Pre heat oven to 180C.
- Combine flour and sugar in bowl.
- Melt butter in a microwave safe measuring jug in microwave (about 30 sec on high).
- Add milk to butter.
- Add eggs to milk and butter (make sure the mix isn’t too hot or you will end up with scrambled eggs!). Mix to combine
- Add wet mix to dry, and stir until combined. Be gentle, don’t stir too much or your muffins will be chewy.
- Mix in your favourite flavour combo. Fresh, frozen, canned or dry fruit, chocolate bits, nuts, nut butter, muesli, even some grated vegies like carrot, zucchini or beetroot…. The options are endless!
- Pour mix into muffin trays and pop in the oven. Muffins are cooked when they are golden on top, they are springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean from the middle. Depending on the size of your tin this should take about 15-20mins.
Need flavour inspiration? Here are some to start you off:
- Mixed berry
- Banana, pecan, maple
- Apple, berry, oat crumble
- Berry, white choc
- Pear, strawberry
- Apple, cinnamon
- Pumpkin, sultana, pepita
- Dark choc, cocoa, beetroot and raspberry
- Carrot, sultana, pecan, maple and cinnamon
Michelle Ryan – Sports Dietitian Ballarat
Most athletes will know the agony. Some more than others. One minute you’re playing your best game or sprinting to the finish line, the next your calf/foot/hammy/quad, has contracted involuntarily and you’re on the ground in agony. Damn cramps – how do I stop them?
Many anecdotes exist regarding what you can do to treat and prevent exercise associated muscle cramps, but what does the science say?
It’s interesting, that despite being one of the most well researched phenomenon’s in sport; we still don’t have all the answers as to what actually causes exercise associated muscle cramps, and how to treat or prevent them.
Currently, the two best supported hypotheses for cramps in our muscles are:
- neuromuscular fatigue;
- and tiny changes or imbalances in electrolytes.
The overwhelming evidence in exercise related cramp prevention is to ensure you are appropriately conditioned. Following your training and recovery programs and maintaining adequate fitness is the major key to avoiding cramps.
But is it that simple? What else can you try? The following suggestions are general in nature and not intended to take the place of individual advice obtained from a medical or health professional.
If you’re a salty sweater, exercising in warm conditions or your diet is restricted or lacking in variety, ensuring you are getting enough electrolytes can be a good place to start. If you suffer from regular cramps, a simple blood test ordered by your GP may help identify any deficiencies. If you are deficient in something, speak to your doctor or sports dietitian for individual advice. It’s wise to prioritise food over supplements; make sure you include foods rich in potassium (fruits and vegetables), magnesium (nuts and seeds, wholegrains, dairy, leafy greens) and calcium (dairy, fortified dairy alternatives, bony fish) as part of your everyday diet. Whilst most people eat plenty of sodium, if you’re a salty sweater you may benefit form adding some salty foods like vegemite, bread, cheese, pretzels or crackers to you pre event meals. An electrolyte drink as your main source of hydration during sport might also be helpful.
Make sure you’re adequately fuelled and have had plenty of foods rich in carbohydrate the day before and before you play or train. If fuelled well, time to fatigue is greater and potentially this may help prevent onset of fatigue related cramps. Food will also add some bonus electrolytes. If you are exercising for more than 60 minutes at high intensity, some additional fuel during your event may help. Try a piece of fruit, handful of jelly lollies, a sports gel or a sports drink at half time.
While dehydration doesn’t necessarily cause cramps in all athletes, you are more likely to experience them if you are dehydrated. Make sure you are drinking enough, but don’t over drink as this might disrupt the balance of electrolytes. Drink to thirst and aim for pale urine, if it’s dark yellowy brown – you need to drink more! While plain water is best for every day hydration, an electrolyte drink might be worth a try during exercise if you’re prone to cramps.
Yes pickle juice; the stuff that soaks the green things that kids pick out of their cheeseburger. This is a relatively new suggestion in the world of cramps and while it may seem farfetched, there is some evidence to suggest giving this a go if you can stomach it and it’s practical for you to do. Current evidence suggests pickle juice won’t prevent a cramp, but can decrease the time of a cramp and discomfort following if you catch it in time. This is not a nutritional recommendation as it’s unlikely the pickle juice is even absorbed by the time it works. It’s thought that the juice triggers a response by activating receptors in your mouth/throat, disrupting the signals between your brain and cramping muscle – stopping the cramp. Drink/gargle a shot of pickle juice as soon as you start to notice a cramp, in addition to the other standard advice of your medical team (stretch, massage etc). You can get specially formulated pickle juice “shots” online, from sports supplement or health food stores.
If you’ve tried some of these things, still experience cramps and can’t work out why, check in with your dietitian.
Are you strapping on your boots, turning up to training on Tuesday and Thursday each week, playing your game and wondering why you keep getting injured throughout the footy season, or why you aren’t getting any better?
Are you completing any additional work outside of what is just done on the footy oval?
There is only so much that you can do on the oval to improve and keep you injury free – it is important to include strength work to compliment all of your footy training.
Getting along to the gym a couple of times per week is a great start and a really positive step in the right direction.
But, if your gym session is just punching out some bench presses and bicep curls then you are missing out on a massive opportunity to improve.
Luckily for you, we’ve put together the perfect solution.
It’s called the AFL Strength & Conditioning Program – Full Season 20 week block.
This program has been designed to build you in to a robust athlete, that is more resilient to injury, keeping you out playing footy.
Strength and conditioning for AFL plays a crucial role in an athlete’s performance!
This AFL training program has been put together by Chris Radford who has multiple years experience working within the AFL / VFL and NAB league competitions. Western Bulldogs – North Ballarat Roosters – GWV Rebels.
This program has everything included in it: Strength – Power – Injury prevention – Recovery. Everything all included to ensure you are at your best – with the program delivered through our online platform making it super easy to access everything on your phone.
All of the strength and conditioning exercises come with video demonstrations by one of our coaches.
If you want to make sure you’re playing footy, and not putting yourself at a greater risk of sitting on the sideline, then you DO need this.
Click the links below and bulletproof yourself from injury and increase your performance.
These two program options have been structured to get you physically prepared throughout the whole football season – With each options tailored to suit the demands of their game day roles.
Both programs come with a FREE 7 DAY TRIAL!!
For those that are seeking the ULTIMATE support for their preparation then jump on our:
Ultimate Performance Program
Where you will receive a fully individualised program – unlimited access with our coaches, weekly phone/zoom calls to make sure you have all of the support you need.
With the majority of footy clubs finally settling into a routine and the 2021 season not too far away, now is a perfect time to get your weekly structure organised.
It doesn’t matter what level of play you are involved in we all want to optimise our preparation so we can dominate on the weekend. Having a set football strength program structure that best suits your lifestyle is an important factor.
There is no 1 perfect formula and everyones schedule will be slightly different but hopefully this helps get you thinking of how you could potentially set your week up. One key focus is ensuring that you maintain your lower body strength & power work throughout the WHOLE season! This plays a crucial role in keeping everything strong and resilient, reducing your chance of injury throughout the season, while also assisting in your onfield performance. Below are two weekly structures that you can use to base your own training schedule around.
If you have any questions on how to structure your week let us know – we can also help with any of your programming too with our online structure we are currently looking after footballers all over the country with their S&C programs.
First things first, what is an Accredited Sports Dietitian?
The minimum requirements to register as an Accredited Sports Dietitian with Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) are:
- Qualification to work as a dietitian (undergraduate or post graduate degree)
- Minimum 2 years clinical experience
- Further accredited sports nutrition studies
- Ongoing professional development
Working with a sports dietitian can help you to:
- Learn how food and fluids influence your performance, recovery and wellbeing
- Identify any areas you may be at risk of undernourishing; by performing dietary assessment and nutrient analysis
- Tweak nutrient intake and timing to optimise performance, training or recovery
- Develop a plan for race/game/competition days
- Fuel well while traveling
- Navigate the world of nutrition supplements
- Learn how to choose and prepare meals and snacks
- Correct any nutrient deficiencies identified by your doctor
- Get to the bottom of any gut issues you experience during sport
- Develop a healthy relationship with food and your body
- Hydrate effectively
Plus much more, so if you have any question or concerns that relate to food and eating (sports related or not), don’t hesitate to reach out.
Whilst a dietitian is trained in nutrition, science and bodies; they also recognise that YOU are the expert in YOUR body – so will work alongside you to find out what works best for you.
What to expect at your first session with a dietitian at RAD:
Michelle will spend around 50 minutes with you, getting to know you and your goals. She will ask questions about you including your medical and injury history, training schedule, food and fluid intake, how you spend your time outside of training and who your support networks are. You will receive a pre assessment form to fill in prior to your appointment to help with this. Then you will work together on establishing some long and short term goals and plans to get there.
Depending on your situation (and with your consent of course!), Michelle may also work with your wider support crew; your coaches, team staff, doctors, surgeons, allied health and family members to help you meet your goals.
Most athletes will require at least one follow up appointment with their dietitian to review and discuss their plans, others may need more regular contact. This will all be negotiated with you based on what your goals and needs are.
Coming soon – Group sessions and cooking classes
Group presentations and interactive sessions can be arranged on request; for athletes, teams, coaches or parents. Please contact us for more info.
We have plenty of ideas for the future of RAD nutrition, but we want to hear from you what would you like to see from RAD nutrition? Don’t hold back, you never know what might be possible
Michelle Ryan – Sports Dietitian Ballarat
Author: Billy Jones
Australian Rules Football (ARF) is an intermittent sport that requires great amounts of high-speed running, multidirectional agility and aerobic endurance. In the elite male competition (AFL), players can cover between 12-15km depending on the player’s position during the 120 minutes of match play (3). Due to the reduced match duration in the female competition, the players in the AFLW can cover between 3.5-7.0km per game depending on their positional requirements (1). The joints of the lower limbs, hip, knee and ankle, are most commonly injured with the shoulder being the most injured area of the upper limb (6). These will be explored further throughout the blog with preventative exercises provided for each.
The muscles of the hamstring group (semimembranosus, semitendinosus, biceps femoris) are two-joint muscles spanning from the hip to the knee. When the leg is fully extended during running the muscle is maximally stretched at both ends across the hip and knee which increases the risk of hamstring strain injury (2). As ARF is a running dominant sport this situation occurs constantly (2). To cope with the high-speed running demands of the game and reduce the risk of muscle strain it is important for players to strengthen their hamstrings eccentrically (contraction as the muscle lengthens). Furthermore, football coaches should ensure that sprinting is programmed into their training to better prepare their players for game demands. Listed below are hamstring focussed exercises that will improve hamstring strength and help to prevent injury during training and games.
- Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
- Double Leg Hamstring Bridge
- Eccentric Hamstring Slides
- Hamstring Nordic Lowers
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) have been found to be the most commonly injured ligaments of the knee during football (6). They can be fully ruptured which in most cases requires surgery to reconstruct, or partially torn. Conservative management is also an option other than surgery for some athletes however, with the high contact nature of ARF and high forces that go through the knee, surgery is highly recommended. Other common injuries that can occur are medial and lateral collateral ligament tears and meniscal injuries. Many of the mentioned injuries can even occur simultaneously making knee injuries quite formidable. Injury to the knee can cost the athlete months away from playing their sport therefore, prevention through conditioning is key. Poor change of direction technique, knee instability, angle of landing and direct impact to the knee joint are risk factors for ACL and PCL injury. Training should be focussed around strengthening the muscles around the knee joint and improving change of direction and landing technique. Exercises listed below are some that can be done at home with minimal equipment that will help in reducing the risk of knee injury.
- Single Leg Squat
- Split Squat
- Single Leg Skater Hops
- Drop Jump with Lateral Cut
- Two Foot Change of Direction
Ankle ligament sprains are common in football in all levels of competition. There are various mechanisms that can cause these injuries with the most common being landing in a compromised position following a marking contest and the foot becoming trapped under another player during a tackle (6). Previous injury to the ankle is the main risk factor for sprains to occur. Evidence has suggested that risk is doubled for up to 1 year post injury which highlights ongoing dysfunction and the need for preventative exercises to be completed (4). Following initial ankle sprain the joints protective mechanisms that make corrections to joint position (proprioception) to maintain stability can be damaged, leaving the joint at higher risk of reinjury (7). Without intervention athletes may begin to experience chronic ankle instability which is painful and leads to consistent time away from the field (5). Implementing proprioceptive training such as balancing exercises has been proven to be effective in reducing ankle sprain injuries (7). Completing ankle focussed plyometric and resistance exercises is also beneficial in improving mobility and strength of the joint. Included below are exercises that can be done at home to ensure the ankle is ready for training and competition.
- Single Leg Balance – 4 Point Star
- Single Leg Hop with Spin
- Pogo Jumps
- Ankle Hops
- Ankle Inversion/Eversion
Due to the contact nature of the sport shoulder injuries occur frequently during training and competition. Injuries to the shoulder joint have accounted for 11.5 games missed per club per season (6). It is important that footballers strengthen the muscles around the shoulder to ensure contact does not result in injury (6). Contact during overhead marking, impacts to the posterior aspect of the shoulder during contested ground balls and direct contact to the anterior portion of the joint are all patterns that can lead to glenohumeral instability or dislocation (6). Increasing the strength and size of the muscles surrounding the glenohumeral joint and focussed rotator cuff strengthening are both ways to ensure stability of the shoulder. In turn this will lead to a more robust joint capsule which can deal with the rigours of ARF. Below are some exercises that can be completed to improve shoulder stability that can be done with minimal equipment.
- Banded No Moneys
- Prone Shoulder External Rotation @90 Degrees
- Push Up with Shoulder Tap
- Banded Pull Aparts
Australian rules football is a physically demanding sport that requires multiple fitness qualities. As with all sports, injuries are always a concern as they can result in valuable time lost away from the playing field, so it is within everyone’s interest, both athletes and coaches, to work to avoid them. Identifying what areas of the body are commonly injured and the mechanisms that cause them is crucial for effective exercise prescription. Performing exercises such as those above will help mitigate injury and keep the athlete on the ground and away from the rehabilitation group.
- Clarke, AC, Ryan, S, Couvalias, G, Dascombe, BJ, Coutts, AJ, Kempton, T. Physical demands and technical performance in Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) competition match-play. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 21(7): 748-752, 2018.
- Foreman, Addy, Baker, Burns, Hill, Madden. (2006). Prospective studies into the causation of hamstring injuries in sport: A systematic review. Physical Therapy in Sport, 7(2): 101–109, 2006.
- Harrison, P, Johnston, R. Relationship Between Training Load, Fitness, and Injury Over an Australian Rules Football Preseason. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 31: 2686-2693, 2017.
- Owoeye, OB, Palacios-Derflingher, LM, Emery, CA. Prevention of ankle sprain injuries in youth soccer and basketball: effectiveness of a neuromuscular training program and examining risk factors. Clinical journal of sport medicine, 28(4): 325-331, 2018.
- Powden, CJ, Hoch, JM., Hoch, MC. Rehabilitation and improvement of health-related quality-of-life detriments in individuals with chronic ankle instability: a meta-analysis. Journal of athletic training, 52(8):753-765, 2017.
- Saw, R, Finch, CF, Samra, D, Baquie, P, Cardoso, T, Hope, D, Orchard, JW. Injuries in Australian Rules Football: An Overview of Injury Rates, Patterns, and Mechanisms Across All Levels of Play. Sports Health, 10(3), 208–216, 2018.
- Schiftan GS, Ross LA, Hahne AJ. The effectiveness of proprioceptive training in preventing ankle sprains in sporting populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport: 18(3), 238–244, 2015.