AFL pre-season? Some effort now will pay dividends in the 2020 season. | Chadstone Region Osteopathy

AFL pre-season? Some effort now will pay dividends in the 2020 season.

Dr Ainslie Morris (Osteopath and AFL trainer) advises her favourite exercises for injury prevention and performance enhancement.

December is here, Christmas is on its way and AFL players have now had a couple of well-deserved months rest from drop-punting the Sherrin.

We might not see AFL being played in our local parks or on our TV screens for another couple of months, but sensible players and clubs are already starting their pre-season training to ensure that they’re in tip-top shape for the 2020 season.

Our Osteopath, Ainslie Morris, is also the head trainer at a VAFA football club. As such, she deals with the treatment and management of injuries which happen on game day. It makes sense, however, for players and clubs to pay attention to appropriate strength and conditioning exercises which act as a protective and preventative measure to reduce the risk of injury.

No one likes being stuck on the sidelines. Ainslie has put together her favourite “bang for buck” exercises for AFL players heading into preseason – a bit of effort now will pay dividends during the season. Prevention is always better than cure!

Remember – Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!

Gluteal Firing

To ensure that the glutes (bum muscles) are not misfiring and are in control for landing, change of direction and any unexpected impacts

  • Laying on your stomach
  • Bend one knee
  • Squeeze gluteals (buttocks) together
  • Raise knee off the ground, do not lift hip
  • Return and relax

10 each leg x 3 sets

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Pelvic Bridges

For strength of glutes (bum muscles) and lower back muscles.

  • Laying on your back with knees bent (about a fist space between the knees)
  • Rotate your pelvis so your lower back is flat on the ground
  • Raise your pelvis/hips to be level with the tops of your knees by squeezing your gluteals
  • Slowly, segment by segment from your mid-back come back to the ground and relax the pelvis

12 times for 8-10 seconds each

Gluteus Medius Clams

Stability through movement for low back and legs, strength in side-stepping and change of direction whilst running

  • Laying on your side, with hips at 45deg, knees at 90deg bend
  • Make sure you have a flat back and are laying on your side, not rotated to the front or back
  • Elongate the top hip down towards the knee (the top knee should be pushed about 1cm longer than the other knee -without moving pelvis or back)
  • Externally rotate your hip (result being that you separate your knees by 10-15deg)
  • Return to normal, you should feel a contraction the top outside of your gluteals

12 times per leg x 3 sets

Ankle/Knee Stability

To improve calf strength and stability through the ankle and knee to prevent more severe injuries

 1min each

  • Stand on one leg
  • One leg, eyes closed
  • One leg, calf raise
  • One leg throwing a ball back and forth
  • One leg on a dura disc/balance board
  • one leg on balance board, eyes closed


Jumping/Hopping Program

  • Jumping both feet forward and back, landing with bent knees
  • Jumping both feet forward/back/side to side/diagonal > include going backwards
  • Jumping from both feet to land 1 foot > forward/back and then progress to foward/back/side to side/diagonal
  • Jumping from one foot to both, in all direction
  • Hopping in all directions (squeeze gluteals helps)


Sit Back Squats

To improve quad and gluteal strength (for jumping)

  • Standing with feet shoulder width apart
  • Squat (backwards), using your hips to bend first, like you are going to sit down
  • Squeeze your gluteals at the bottom of the squat (90deg knee bend) and drive your hips back to neutral

12 x 3 sets

Shoulder Shrugs

Studies have shown that increasing neck strength may reduce severity of symptoms associated with concussion.

  • Holding weights in each hands, shoulder blades pushed back
  • Chest up
  • Bring your shoulders up to ears
  • Relax in a controlled manner

12 x 3 sets (start with low weight)

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