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Calibre Fitness Blog

Undoubtedly, Lebron James is one the best physical specimen the sport of basketball has ever seen in recent history. A 6 ft 8 in forward, he is an NBA champion, NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP, and NBA Rookie of the Year. Looking at his build and early display of athleticism, one can see that he was obviously born with lot of physical talent. But, that doesn’t mean he skips the hard work in the gym. His power, strength and agility haven’t come easily though; behind his talent and athleticism is also a lot of work and careful training. Lebron spent 4 days a week weight training besides his work on the court. His weight training routine is filled with supersets, which emphasizes working his entire body in one session while also getting his heart rate up for physique conditioning. His exercises were designed to boost power and strength but also to improve quickness and explosiveness to make his performance on court even better. Use James the weight-lifting regimen below to build a body that looks and performs like a pro’s.

The Lebron James Workout

The King’s workout plan blends cutting-edge training techniques with classic muscle-building exercises.

From the Fitness Editors of Men's Health

MONDAY

Superset 1

1) Pushup
Do as many reps as you can.

2) Pullup
Aim for 10 reps

 

Superset 2

1) Dumbbell Snatch
Aim for 5 reps with each arm.

2) Single-Arm Cable Row
Do 10 reps with each arm.

TUESDAY

Superset 1

1) Dumbbell Squat
Do eight to 12 reps.

2) Swiss-Ball Hip Raise and Leg Curl
Do 12 reps.

 

Superset 2

1) Dumbbell Stepup
Do 10 reps with each leg.

2) Single-Leg Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise
Do 12 reps with one leg before repeating with the other leg.

THURSDAY

Superset 1

1) Dumbbell Incline-Bench Press
Do 10 reps.

2) Lat Pulldown
Do 10 reps.

 

Superset 2

1) Single-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Do six to eight before repeating with the other arm.

2) Single-Arm Neutral Grip Dumbbell Row and Rotation
Do 10 reps on each side.

FRIDAY

Superset 1

1) Single-Leg Squat
Aim for five reps per leg.

2) Single-Leg Swiss-Ball Leg Curl
Aim for 10 reps with each leg.

 

Superset 2

1) Dumbbell Side Lunge
Do 10 reps in each direction.

2) Unstable Jump Rope
Skip rope for 45 seconds on a cushiony surface, such as a stretching mat. The instability will help strengthen your ankles.

Posted in Featured By Calibre Fitness

Steve: This is Steve from Calibre Fitness speaking with Andrew Gaze. How are you Andrew?

Andrew: Good thanks.

Steve: Andrew Gaze is arguably the one of the greatest Australian basketballers and NBL players in the history of the game; he's a 5 time Olympian, his career spanned 20 years and he played a record 612 games at the top level here in Australia, he was top scorer in the league on 14 occasions and won 7 MVP awards which is now known as the Andrew Gaze trophy. He is also the all-time leading goal scorer in Olympic Basketball history.

Steve: Andrew, you competed in 5 Olympic Games, what were the highlights of your Olympic experiences?

Andrew: They were all great experiences. I think that when I was a youngster, I grew up wanting to follow in my father's footsteps and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do that at a relatively young age and then fulfil a boyhood dream makes it all very special. But, the 200 Olympics in Sydney made it all that little bit more special to share that experience with the people that you've grown up with and your family and friends and those types of elements made it a little bit more special.

Steve: Sure. It must have been a massive honour to be chosen as the flag-bearer for the Sydney Olympics back in 2000. Do you still remember the moment you stepped into the stadium?

Andrew: Oh, absolutely! Walking into Stadium Australia in front of 120,000 people and introducing some of the greatest athletes this country has produced to the rest of the world is something you don't forget. A lot of the time you need to pinch yourself and say 'did that really just happen or was that some sort of fanciful dream', but it was reality for me and it was a very unique experience but more than anything I had a strong sense of gratitude for just being selected and given that opportunity was a remarkable thing and as I said, yeh very grateful to have been able to have that experience.

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. I read that you think it would be best for the NBL to adopt a promotion-relegation style competition, could you tell us a bit about that? Is it gaining any traction?

Andrew: I think you're referring to a promotion/relegation type situation which is what we see in most team sports throughout Europe. Whether it's soccer, basketball or volleyball, most of the time it's done with a promotion/relegation system. It gives the smaller clubs, at the very least, an avenue to peruse to try to compete at the highest level. I think here in Australia, we have a closed system, but I think that there are many smaller clubs that have the potential to expand and those that have a long term vision to want to play at the highest level. But unfortunately our system really doesn't allow it. So I, having played in Europe, like that system. I think it's fair and it provides a set of rules and regulations for which associations could adopt to put in place a system whereby, at the very least, they have some avenue or pathway to the highest level.

Steve: Yep, sure. Andrew, what do you do to keep fit these days? Do you do any type of training still?

Andrew: Yeh, I still play on a Monday night, just in a domestic comp at the Melbourne sports and aquatics centre. Some of my old teammates, we get down there and have a bit of a run around. Certainly, even just at a recreational level, you're still running up and down and getting a pretty decent workout in. Then 3-4 times a week I just try to go to the gym and do some fairly passive resistance type training. It's always good to do that with a partner and for the past few months a former teammate of mine, Mark Bradtke, has been coming down once or twice a week to help me out. So, I wouldn't say it was necessarily as strenuous as it was when we were competing, but nevertheless, it's not too much about the wins and losses any more, it's just about life expectancy and longevity!

Steve: Exactly, haha. I like that. You led the Tigers to a couple of titles under your dad, Lindsay's, coaching. Have you ever thought about making the move into coaching yourself?

Andrew: Yeh, I currently coaching at the junior level, well... I shouldn't say junior, it's 'youth level', so 22 and under. Prior to that, I coached at the under 18 level and each year I have some senior coaching experience, where I take a team to China, like an all-star team. I select some players who are available from the current competition to play against some of the club teams in China. So I've definitely kept in touch with the sport and been able to maintain a bit of an interest through some of those experiences and right now I'm enjoying doing other things; I do a fair bit in the media and I'm on the board of Basketball Australia. They've both been a real challenge, but I'm enjoying them thoroughly. Hopefully the opportunity to coach at a senior level doesn't pass me by, but I can't see that in the immediate future that'd be something that I'd want to jump into, but perhaps down the track once things evolve a little bit, once I'm not enjoying the things I'm doing currently as much, then I might look to step into that.

Steve: Can you tell us a bit about your time playing College Basketball in the States?

Andrew: I played at the University Of Seton Hall; it was only a relatively short period of time. I went there back in the 1988-1989 season. It was only for 1 season; I was a student there, so I was part of the school community as well and played in the basketball team. I was fortunate enough that the team that I was on went all the way through to the championship game. Unfortunately we lost the championship game, it was played at the Kingdome which is no longer there, but it was an old indoor football stadium. There was something like 50,000 people at the game and unfortunately we lost by 1 point in overtime. So the fairytale never really eventuated as we would have liked, but it was a fantastic experience and I loved every minute of being over there and living the college life and having an opportunity to play at that level.

Steve: Yeh, sure. At the late age of 33, you headed across to play NBA with the San Antonio Spurs. I'm sure that would have been a great experience for you also...

Andrew: Yeh, it was. It was a pretty late call up, I'd had a little bit of NBA experience back in 1993 when I was about 28 with the Washington Bullets and that was great, but it was only a short-term contract near the end of the season, but at least I got that experience. I thought that was basically it and my time was up as far as NBA opportunities were concerned. But then in 1999, Gregg Popovich, the coach of the San Antonio Spurs, he saw me playing for Australia at the 1998 world championships. So, he was keen and thought that I could play a role. It was very much an insurance policy type role. I was there and I would work hard and play behind some of the superstars in the team. So I was there mainly just in case one of them were to break down. It was a relatively cheap insurance policy for them and although I didn't really get to play too much, the team did really well, went through and won the NBA title, and although I never really had a significant role in that title win, I was still very grateful for the opportunity and enjoyed my time competing for the San Antonio Spurs.

Steve: Have there been any particularly bad injuries you've endured while playing basketball?

Andrew: Well, I guess they're all relative, but I've had a couple of knee surgeries for meniscus cartilage type issues, I had a couple of ankle operations due to bone spurs and just some tendon problems. Probably the worst injury that kept me out for a while in terms of a straight sports-related injury was, I did some damage to a tendon in my ankle and I had to have a couple of surgeries to try to fix that one up, so that kept me out for about 3-4 months. So that was probably the nastiest of all in terms of sports injuries. Outside of sport, I got a graze on my knee and somehow got a streptococcal B virus in my knee, I shouldn't say virus, it was more of an infection and that was probably one of the most painful experiences I've ever had. I was in hospital for 10 days and I needed to have a couple of surgeries to try to drain it. So that was a nasty one and the other nasty one was, I had a blood clot in my right auxiliary vein in my arm. That caused a bit of trouble because it spread to my lungs a little bit, that was another time I was out for about 4-5 months mainly due to the medication that they had to put me on to try to help me through that one. Those two weren't specifically sports-related injuries, but never the less, the problems that I had with my health interfered with my competition program.

Steve: Yep. You have 4 kids, I believe. How old are they now and do you already have them playing basketball?

Andrew: Yeh, they all play. My eldest is turning 19 this year and she's actually off to college as well, she's off to the United States on a scholarship, so she's looking forward to that and then I've got another daughter who's turning 17 and she plays in the under 18s, I've got another daughter that's 14 and she's playing in the under 16s and my son is turning 12 and he's playing in the under 12s. They all love the game and get a lot of enjoyment out of it and hopefully they continue to develop and have fun with the sport, that's the most important thing.

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. If you could have complete power and change anything you want in the NBL, what would you change?

Andrew: I think the process, like we were talking about before, the process of expansion and the process of providing clubs the opportunity to compete at the highest level. I think that we've got a lot of great grassroots associations throughout the country who maybe, if they were given an avenue to compete at the highest level, then they would aspire to do that and continue to grow and develop their programs to allow their club to play at the highest level. So, I'd love to see an expansion of the competition and just provide more opportunities for players to play at the highest level.

Steve: Yep, sure... and just finally Andrew, are there any up-and-coming basketballers that you are particularly excited about? Other than your kids, of course!

Andrew: Haha, yeah, of course. There's a lot actually. Last year our under 18 national team won the silver medal at the world championships and I think that's indicative of some of the young talent that we've got coming through the ranks and, in fact, a couple of my former teammates have got sons that look like being bonafied superstars. Ben Simmons is the son of Dave Simmons, a teammate of mine who I played throughout the 90's with and his son is only 16-17, but he looks like a really strong prospect. Another one is, Dante Exum who is the son of Cecil Exum, who played here in Australia for a number of teams; he played one season with the Melbourne Tigers as well, and his son is highly regarded on the radar of many NBA teams as well. Although he's still only very young, he's been recognised as NBA talent. Another one is Jack Purchase, the son of Nigel Purchase, another former teammate of mine; he's 17 and was on that junior team that won the silver medal last year at the world junior championships. He's a 6'8 guy that can shoot. He's got a very bright future. Another one actually, Dane Pitto, another former teammate of mine, his son has just signed on to go to the university of St Mary's in the United States. So there's a lot of really good talent, them along with many others, bur I probably know more about those because they are sons of former teammates of mine that I kept an eye on.

Steve: Yeh, sure, fantastic. Well, thanks very much for your time Andrew, I really appreciate it and I hope everything works out for your kids and I'm excited to watch them play.

Andrew: No worries, Good on ya!

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Norwegian soccer players are fitted with electric shock devices; opposing coaches are given the triggers... What's more to say!

Posted in Latest News By Calibre Fitness

Who is Lionel Messi?

Lionel Andres Messi Cuccitini

Barcelona's All-Time Top Scorer
3 Time Fifa Ballon d'Or Winner
2 Time UEFA Best Player Of The Year
5 La Liga Titles
2 Copa Del Rey Cup Winners
5 Spanish Super Cup Holders
3 Champions League Winners
2 Club World Cup Championships

Why is Messi so good?

Arguably the best attacking player in the game,

Messi is extremely dangerous because he possess all of the important characteristics and traits of a top class footballer.

Quick and dangerous dribbling, incredible vision, the ability to change direction with incredible speed and agility, precise passing ability, clinical finishing, and much more.

5 Tips to Dribble like Lionel Messi!

Stop drooling. If you really want to dribble like Lionel Messi, it's not an art you're going to be able to pick up overnight. Not unless you happen to be football's next boy wonder (thought not)...Then again, there's certainly no harm in taking lessons from one of the greatest players of this or perhaps any other generation.

So, here are our five top tips to play like 'La Pulga Atomica' (The Atomic Flea) himself. We can't promise you a fast-track route to one of football's great cathedrals- but we might be able to help make next week's opponent feel hapless, cross-eyed and a little less assured.

1. Preparation

Mark out various training exercises using cones at different distances and angles to vary your running stance. Start the exercise by initially working without the ball. Instead, focus on your balance, your reactions and your ability to accelerate and decelerate. Concentrate on exercises that require a lot of short, sharp turns in small, tight spaces. Body shape is key. Despite Messi's diminutive stature, he uses his low centre of gravity to devastating effect by adopting a powerful running stance to change pace suddenly in different directions. When do you introduce the ball to the drill, focus on touching the ball with each step and with both feet, gradually building up speed and momentum.

2. Confidence is key

Visualise how you're going to beat your man. As three-time consecutive World Footballer of the Year, Messi strikes fear into the opposition before he's even set foot on the pitch. You will have to earn that fear and respect. Don't be scared to fail – the more a defender sees an attacker running at them, the more likely it will be they will back off. The stage is now yours...

3. Make sure you take a good first touch

Sounds simple enough, but it's a fundamental art that even some of the world's leading players have yet to fully master (Theo Walcott anyone?) Keep the ball moving on either foot. Whether you walk, jog or sprint with the ball, it's important not to kill the ball dead altogether. Messi has a deliberate running style, which involves attacking his opponent head-on. This reduces the amount of time the opponent has to set himself for the attack and keeps him guessing about the next move.

4. Change of pace and direction

Messi's dribbling style is simple yet devastatingly effective. He does not rely on the turbo-charged pace and strength of a player such as Gareth Bale, nor the power, electrifying footwork and trickery of Cristiano Ronaldo. Instead, he elects to run directly at his opponent and uses his balance and turn of pace to slalom his way into space behind the defender.

5) Decision making

Vary your play to ensure there's a purpose to every attack. Messi's greatest asset is his decision making. He rarely loses the ball; he's thoughtful and happy to embrace his role as a team player. Even if you've got the beating of a particular opponent, the element of surprise can be equally as effective. Whether you attempt to go inside or outside, attempt to take one touch or six, apply a one-two or use trickery, just don't be predictable! 

Posted in Latest News By Calibre Fitness

Steve: This is Steve from Calibre Fitness talking with Australian soccer up-and-comer, Sam Gallagher. How's it going Sam?

Sam: Good thanks mate

Steve: That's good. Sam, what is your typical daily routine?

Sam: Well, when I was full-time training with Melbourne Victory, a normal day would be getting up around 7:30am to be at training at about 8 o'clock. We'd do pre-training gym stuff, all immobilising exercises to get us loosened up for training, then a short gym routine from 8:30-9:30, get screened by all the physios and docs before we head out to training. Then it's a pretty intense, minimum 70 minute session in the morning from about 10. We come back in and have lunch, go to the ice baths and do a bit of recovery in the pool. Go out to lunch for about an hour or so and have a bit of a break, a few of the boys would get massages or treatment from the physio if they needed it. Then we'd head into the gym for an afternoon session from about 2pm onwards, generally either a strength or cardio related exercise for an hour to an hour and a half.

Steve: That's a pretty full-on day!

Sam: Yeh, That's a double session day, but we'd have that maybe 2-3 times a week and then leading into the games we'd just have a morning session then recovery in the afternoon.

Steve: Yep, sure. How do your training sessions differ during the season to off-season?

Sam: So, pre-season for us is the toughest time. That's when we're coming off our off-season and trying to get fit for the season. So that was really a tough period that we had. Every Tuesday we'd have a conditioning session and we always had to give RPE's which is rating the perceived exertion of a session, so it was about a 9 or a 10 every Tuesday and every Saturday we'd also do a conditioning session or a game. Throughout the week we'd do a lot of stuff in the gym and out in the park at a quite high intensity throughout the pre-season. Then as we come into the season it's all about tapering it to try to handle the game loads, depending how many times we play, whether it's once a week or three games over a two week period, so that's just keeping us fit. So throughout the season this year with Melbourne Victory we still trained quite hard on a Tuesday to try to emulate the impact of an overseas team where you play two games a week. Then as we wind down towards the end of the season it's really all just about tapering off and giving everyone some rest and recovery time before we have to start again and slowly build back into it in pre-season.

Steve: Yep, sure. Is there any specific strength training you do for soccer?

Sam: Yeh, we actually do quite a lot of stuff in the gym. When we first got in there this season we each got individual programs depending on individual specific needs, so positions that we played or role that we had in the team. As a defender, me and some of the other boys had programs quite similar to each other, so we'd do our sessions together and do a lot of power exercises for strength, then just some exercises for pace and muscle loading so we'd be able to get through the sessions and the games looking after ourselves and some of the other smaller players who needed to be fast and agile would do exercises relating to that, like ladder work or fast exercises with less weight because they didn't really need to bulk up. So that's pretty much what we did throughout the year, in pre-season we did a lot of cardio in the gym or repeated sprints or repeated exercises, an example would be maybe a circuit of 10 chin-ups, 10 pull-ups, 10 squats or 10 bar pull-ups on the ground, do 3 sets of that then go onto another exercise. So it differed throughout the year, during the season it's probably just a bit more about looking after your muscles and not going crazy in the gym, but in the pre-season it was quite intense.

Steve: Absolutely. Obviously diet and nutrition is an important part of any athlete's daily routine. How is your diet and how important do you see it for yourself?

Sam: Yeh, I think it's very important. Each club that I've played at, they've really focussed on diet and nutrition, getting various people in to speak to us about what we should be eating and what we should be avoiding. But, I think it's just about what feels right. After playing for a while you figure out what works best for you. It's good that we have lunch at training all together as a team after the sessions in the morning so we're all eating the right food and stuff. Hydration is extremely important as any athlete would know so we make sure we stay right on top of that. A lot of the other players take vitamins and things. Each player's individual though, so I generally just like to drink a lot of Gatorade, drink a lot of water and get a lot of hydrolytes throughout the week. Then I just try to eat foods that work with my stomach, like I've figured out that I can't really have any milk on the morning of a training because it just doesn't sit right, so I'll generally just have toast with eggs. But other players are completely different. That's something I think is really important, you can't just sit down and tell a whole footballing team or even an individual what they need to eat, they need to figure it out by themselves. Of course, you can't just eat whatever you want, but what works for one person isn't necessarily going to work for someone else.

Steve: Yep, sure. Could you tell us a bit about your sporting background? Have you always just played soccer or have you played other sports also?

Sam: When I was younger, I pretty much liked every sport. When I was 5-6 coming into school, I liked playing as bit of rugby, cricket and athletics; I did a bit of everything when I was younger. I decided to do soccer over rugby when I was about 6-7, I initially tried to play both at the same time, but it didn't really work so I had to make the choice. Then I've just played soccer ever since, I still did athletics in the summer, but I didn't really like the individual side of it, I liked being part of a team. I just played locally for a long time when I was younger, just enjoyed it and never really thought too much about it. Then when I was about 15, I was lucky enough to make a state team in New South Wales where I'm from and get into the New South Wales Institute of Sport when I was 16 which helped me develop a lot under a good coach when I was there. I had to go back and play for my state team of Manly United for a while, then got into Sydney FCU and then it all just went from there.

Steve: Yeh, awesome. In your soccer career, you've predominantly spent time in the backline, but have also played forward. Which do you prefer?

Sam: Yeh, I think it's a tough one for me because when I grew up, I was always a striker until I was about 15, I played up front and in the midfield. Then as a lot of people say, when you get to about 16-18 you kind of specify a position for yourself and I was lucky enough to get a trial for the state team as a left back which I'd never played before and I just went with it and quite enjoyed it. I thought I did quite well there and my coach said he saw me as a better player when I was facing the whole pitch. I always liked scoring goals and being up front but I've also really liked being a defender and it's suited me more over the years. I still consider myself to be able to play a midfield role, but I think one of my strongest positions is probably centre back at the moment.

Steve: Yep. You had a trial with Birmingham City back a few years ago, how was the experience training abroad?

Sam: Yeh, for me that was a massive turning point. Until that point, I was just playing for my local club, I hadn't signed with an A-league team or done anything major and it was just a bit of a turning point to me to really crack down and be serious about football and to go overseas for 3 or so weeks and trial at Birmingham was just a massive eye-opening experience for me and ever since then, I've just decided that this is what I want to do just from my experiencing the lifestyle over there. Then coming back to Australia and making my way into A-League squads at the moment just makes me realise that soccer over here's at a really high level. The Birmingham experience just really showed me how much I love football and that this is what I want to do as a profession.

Steve: Yeh, sure. You've had a few injury troubles over the past few years, as with most athletes, what's the worst injury you've endured while playing soccer?

Sam: I had to have an operation on my left foot after having a lot of problems with the bone joint in my left big toe, which put me out for about 4 months or so after coming out of the New South Wales Institute of Sport. It came at a pretty bad time, because a lot of players were moving onto the AIS or Junior A-league teams, so it put me back to the State League where I had to do my recovery and then make my way back up from there. A lot of people have had a lot worse injuries than me; I've only really had little knocks along the way apart from that one. I consider myself very lucky that I've never had anything too bad. I've never had any soft tissue injuries either, so I do consider myself very lucky.

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. Do you have any pre-game rituals?

Sam: Just a few little things really. I generally like to do things the same before each game, like clean my boots before I get to the game or if I'm in the change rooms just set all my gear up in a certain way. Just a bit of a routine that makes me feel a bit more comfortable. I always listen to the same sort of music on the way to a game. I generally eat the same sort of meals before a game. So mine aren't too bad, just a few little things like that to make you feel a bit more comfortable. But I've seen a lot of crazy rituals from other players, but I don't have anything like that.

Steve: Yeh, sure. Who do you feel like is the best soccer player you've played with or against?

Sam: Umm, it's a tough one... But probably for me at the moment, Archie Thompson from the Melbourne Victory is definitely one of the best players I've ever been in a squad with or even played against at one point. For his age, he's still just such a phenomenal player and some of the things he can do with the football are just astonishing. But I've been lucky enough to play with quite a good bunch of players throughout my short time playing in the A-League so far. Mark Milligan, I was with him in Melbourne this year and then a couple of the boys back at the Mariners have done really well, but for me I think Archie Thompson is one of the best players I've ever been a part of a team with.

Steve: Yeh, sure. What do you consider as the highlight of your soccer career?

Sam: When I was 18, I was lucky enough to get picked for a World Cup squad for the under 20s. I was quite young, one of the younger players in the squad and I was pretty fortunate to go across there to Egypt and play in the Under 20s World Cup for Australia. I was a squad player at the time and didn't play in the first 2 games, but loved the experience anyway. We weren't doing so well and the coach chucked me in for the last game and I got to play against Brazil. We were actually 1-0 up for a good portion of the game and it was just one of the best experiences I've ever had, to play against a Brazilian National team. There are some players I played against that are now playing in the Champion's league or all over the world stage, so for me, I think that was a massive highlight.

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. We've seen a lot of rule changes in recent years in other sport codes, do you think there are any rules in soccer that need to be updated or changed?

Sam: There's none really I can think of. I think it's all pretty smooth in soccer at the moment. People are always going to whinge about decisions and stuff about calls that don't go their way, that's just part of football. I know there have been problems with AFL rules and NRL rules, but I don't think we really have anything that needs to change. I think it's a lot less complicated than those other sports and everything seems to be sorted out already.

Steve: Yeh, sure... and just finally Sam, who do you think will win the English Premier League this year?

Sam: Look, well... Man U have wrapped it up, but hopefully next year my team, Liverpool, can finally get back up and win the Premier League. We haven't done it for a while and it'd be nice to see them win it!

Steve: Yeh, sure, haha. Well, that's all I've got for you Sam. Thanks very much for your time, I really appreciate it.

Sam: No worries at all, Steve! 

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Cristiano Ronaldo is known for being obsessed with his training routine. There's a quote from Sir Alex Ferguson, which illustrates this dedication perfectly: "There's no fluke about it. I see Ronaldo practising all the time in training." Besides the mental motivation needed, there's certainly another very important attribute that CR7 owns and that everyone need to keep in mind when attempting to get in shape: Discipline. Common or trivial quotes such as "No pain, no gain" are indeed true, but Cristiano Ronaldo and other top athletes are well aware of how important it is to set training routines and follow them without slacking.

An important note that should be outlined before we start is the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is indeed a professional athlete and he's surrounded and followed closely by professional fitness coaches and expert dieticians. Since his arrival to Old Trafford, Ronaldo has undergone a major body transformation, from a skinny boy to a muscled man and that didn't happen by accident.

Cristiano Ronaldo practices around 5 times per week in Real Madrid training camp, Valdebebas, depending on the games schedule they have that week. On average, he trains around 3-4 hours per day and follows a strict diet plan.

Cristiano Ronaldo daily workout routine

  • 3 to 4 hours of daily practice that assure a very low body fat level (<10%)
  • Several periods of running for state cardio (25-30 mins)
  • High intensity and "explosive" sprinting drills (short-period exercises)
  • Technical drills to enhance skills and ball control
  • Football tactical exercises to improve understanding with teammates
  • Gym exercises to develop specific muscles but also his total body strength

Abs are just like any other muscle group. For them to be visible through a layer of body fat, they need to be big. Here are the three movements that will help you construct a 6-pack!

Never had a six-pack? Want one? I know it might seem impossible, but honestly, carving visible abdominal muscles is a simple process. It all depends on having low body fat.

The recipe for abdominal shaping is simple, but it takes a lot of time. If you have a lot of body fat, it will take even more time. There's no specific exercise or magic vegetable that suddenly gives you the stomach of a Greek god—just good old fashioned hard work. Remember, months and years pass whether or not you work toward physique goals, so why not give it a shot? If you want to see your abs in the mirror, put in the hours!

The Core of the Matter

The core is made up of more than just your rectus abdominus. It includes the musculature that wraps around your spine and connects to your pelvis. Most people are just worried about the abdominal wall, but making improvements to your strength and athletic abilities demands core work.

That doesn't mean doing sit-ups for days. If you already perform a variety of compound exercises—and you should—your abs and core are already worked and strengthened indirectly. For example, your abdominals are major stabilizers during the squat. Heck, a sufficiently strong core is necessary to move any significant amount of weight.

Think about it this way: if your core is unable to support the weight you place on your back, your body would just fold over.

Having a solid core will benefit you in numerous other ways. One of the leading causes of lower back pain is a weak core. Other benefits of core strength are improved balance, enhanced stabilization during dynamic movements, and injury prevention.

Okay, so what about seeing your abs? Well, building larger abs in the gym will allow them to become visible at higher levels of body fat. I don't advocate spending a huge amount of your time in the gym doing ab exercises—it's inefficient and your time is better spent on other lifts. The focus of ab work should be on strengthening your core as a whole. However, I still recommend working your abs directly.

The Power of 3

The best way to do ab work is to incorporate the following three exercises into your regimen. They cover all of the major muscles of the abdominal region, which will help get you that 6-pack. Make sure you use progression to increase your strength. You want to build stronger, bigger ab muscles so they'll poke through even if your body fat isn't super low.

I suggest 2-3 sets of each exercise per week. You may complete them all on the same day or do each movement on a separate day. I work out 3-4 days per week and perform one ab exercise per workout, at the end of three of those workouts.

1 / Hanging Leg Raise (Flexion and Extension)

Flexion and extension movements are the most common type of ab exercise. To get the most out of the hanging leg raise, make sure you engage your pelvis. If you don't move your pelvis, you just use your hip flexors to do the work. Other flexion/extension exercises include variations of the sit-up, including the decline sit-up.

2 / Russian Twist (Rotation)

Rotational exercises work your whole abdominal region, but they stress your internal and external obliques. As I said before, increase the weight as you get stronger. For other options, try cable rotations or side crunches.

3 / Plank (Stabilization)

Stabilization exercises emphasize your transverse abdominus—the deepest abdominal muscle that wraps around your spine. This muscle is responsible for your overall balance and stability, so don't neglect it! Make progress by planking for longer durations or placing weight on your back.

Posted in Featured By Calibre Fitness

Glenn Archer is a former professional Australian Rules Footballer that played his entire career with the North Melbourne Football Club. Glenn had a reputation as one of the most courageous players ever to play the game signified by the AFLPA awarding him the Robert Rose Award for Most Courageous Player six times in nine years between 1998 and 2006, the most of any player in the award's history. In recognition as one of the best players in the AFL, Archer achieved All-Australian selection three times and also represented Victoria in the State of Origin.

A fearless defender who intimidated opponents and inspired teammates, Glenn was a vital member of the Kangaroos AFL premiership sides in 1996 and 1999. His Norm Smith medal-winning performance in the 1996 Grand Final, where he had the unenviable task of standing in front of Sydney full-forward Tony Lockett, sums up his career. Arch plays brave, uncompromising football, often whilst injured and is constantly willing to sacrifice his game for the betterment of his team.

Archer is one of the Kangaroos’ greatest players, a dual-premiership and Norm Smith Medallist, he holds the second most games record for the Kangaroos’, is a member of the Kangaroos Team of the Century and is widely recognised with the title the "Shinboner of the Century"‘having embodied the Shinboner spirit throughout his career.

A tireless worker, Glenn is recognized not only for his on-field brilliance, but also for a throng of selfless charity-based events to which he has given his time. A true legend of the game, Arch’s off-field endeavours, combined with his unquestionable playing record, re-affirms all that is great about Australian Rules Football.

 Steve: I recently read that you accidentally threw out your two premiership medals, Madden medal and Norm Smith Medal last year! Have you been able to retrieve them yet?

Glenn: No, unfortunately not, it was a bit of a mistake. I gave them to my daughter for her show-and-tell at school, she had some sort of a presentation and she didn’t put them back in the office, so I was cleaning out her bag one day and poured everything in the bin and the medals were in there. So I sent out the APB through the media hoping that the old needle in the haystack would appear. But it hasn’t appeared as yet.

 Steve: Oh, that’s a shame. What have you been doing with yourself since retiring from the AFL, Glenn?

Glenn: I’ve got a couple of businesses. I’ve got a Sports Management business called Stride Sports Management, where we basically manage a chunk of AFL Players, there’s 110 AFL players we look after along with some netballers, about 8 netballers on our books as well. So that’s been going for about 8 years, I actually started that when I was still playing. Also, I started another business called Kode Entertainment Group, which I started about 4 years ago with Leigh Colbert, so we concentrate a lot on different types of corporate hospitality. Our core business is overseas sporting tours; we travel to all the big sporting events around the world; US Masters, Superbowl, Monaco Grand Prix, The Ashes, World Cup, the Olympics... All that. We do it at a real premium end; all our tours incorporate special guests. We had dinner with Mark Webber before the Monaco Grand Prix, a game of golf with Greg Norman in Miami before the US Masters, so just try to offer those real ‘money can’t buy’ experiences.

Steve: Wow, sounds fantastic! You were an electrician before you started playing footy, was it a bit touch and go in the early years as to whether you’d actually be able to make a career out of football?

Glenn: Oh, absolutely. I was a bit of a late bloomer in footy, I played footy all my life since I was 5 years old, but I was never at an elite level as a junior, I was one of the better players, but nobody really spoke to me until I was about 17. I got asked to go down to North Melbourne to train in the Under 19s. I lasted about 3 weeks there, and then went back to Noble Park. Then the following year, I got asked to come back and play a game in the Under 19s, I played one game and it went okay, so I figured I’d stick this out for a little bit longer and then 17 years later I was still there. North Melbourne were the only club that ever spoke to me.

Steve: Fantastic. In your early years when you were not being paid a very high salary as most other footballers at North Melbourne, Sydney offered you a massive deal over 3 years and you turned it down to be loyal to your club. How hard was that decision to make?

Glenn: It wasn’t overly hard. I think I was on about $5,000 at the time at North Melbourne and Sydney offered me $450,000 over 3 years. It opened my eyes to the fact that I probably wasn’t being paid market value. But I’ve always been a big believer that you get paid well once you get some runs on the board and that’s what happened at North. I stuck around and once I put some runs on the board, I got paid well. At the end of the day, it was probably the best decision I made, because it was at that stage of North development where we started to have success and played in Grand Finals and won Grand Finals, so yeh I was lucky I didn’t chase the money.

Steve: Yep, sure. How did you used to prepare for games? Did you have a pre-game ritual?

Glenn: Yeh, I was fairly superstitious. I always had the same meal before every game, which was just one of your basic pastas. Where I live in Warrandyte, I have my house then up the back of my property I’ve got a pool house. So my general pre-game ritual would be to have my pasta with the kids and the wife, I’d have a little bag packed with plenty of water and Gatorade, I’d head up the back the night before and watch a movie or read a book, go through about 3 litres of fluid then come down in the morning, have a shower and go to the game. One of my rituals as well is that I’d usually spend about 15 minutes in my office before I actually left the house. I was big on visualisation so I spent 15 minutes just closing my eyes and visualising what I wanted to get out of that game, I’d write down 3 goals for myself and then head off to the game.

Steve: Sure. You have played on a lot of AFL superstars, who do you regard as the toughest opponent you played on in your career?

Glenn: Oh, well... There were a number of them. But, if I had to choose one, I’d probably say Tony Modra. I played on Tony at the height of his powers in the early-mid 90s and he was just an amazing player. Particularly when you were playing at AAMI stadium and they packed it out. Whenever he went near the ball the crowd would absolutely erupt. He had really strong hands, a great leap, great kick, great lead. He really was the quintessential full forward so he was really hard to stop.

Steve: Yeh, sure. I’m sure you’ve suffered many injuries through football; what has been the worst injury you’ve endured?

Glenn: I was pretty lucky. I never really had many injuries or ankle problems or anything. The worst was probably when I broke my hand fairly severely in 2004. One of the bones in my hand sort of disintegrated, so that kept me out for about 8 weeks and they had to put plates and screws everything to keep it in place. Even today, I can’t make a fist and it’s a little bit numb because I had all the intrinsic muscles damaged, I got carpal tunnel syndrome and all this sort of stuff. But, I was playing for 17 years, so if that’s the worst thing I came away with; I think I was pretty lucky.

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. Are you still involved with the North Melbourne Football club?

Glenn: Ah, not in an official capacity. It’s hard these days with 4 kids and 3 businesses. I help out as much as I can, they’ll often ring and ask me to do the odd sponsors function and I do as much as I can. But yeh, I’m not involved in any official capacity.

Steve: How are your kids at footy? Any chance to follow in their father’s footsteps?

Glenn: Ah, I’ve got 3 girls and just the one boy. The one boy, Jackson, is 10 years old and, yeh, he goes alright. He loves it, he’s really passionate about the game and I think that anyone that’s obsessed and passionate about any sport, they generally go okay. I’m coaching him this year for the first time, so that’ll be interesting. But, yeh... He goes okay.

Steve: Yeh, fantastic. Do you still manage to get some fitness training in these days?

Glenn: Yeh, I do. I do probably about 4 sessions a week. A combination of gym and running. I’ve got a running track near me which is like a 7km track, so I try to do that as much as I can. I’ve got into a good habit I suppose, but if I don’t train, I feel like crap, so as soon as I go through a busy period and I don’t get a chance to train, I start to feel tired and lethargic, so I force myself to get those sessions in. I also try to sign up for things, like a half marathon every now and then. I do the Mark Webber challenge every December over in Tassie which is a big adventure race and I’ve found once you sign up for something, it forces you to train as well.

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. It gives you something to work towards. What are your views on the modern game and how it’s changing? Being such a rough and tough player, do you feel like the game’s getting too soft?

Glenn: Nah, I don’t think it’s soft. But, i guess probably the one negative is that it can be confusing. The real problem with the AFL is that they’re constantly changing rules, introducing new rules or changing the interpretation of existing rules, so the players have become confused. You actually see it in games now, particularly with this new rule that if you dive on the ball and your head actually hits someone in the leg, you get a free kick against you which I actually find astounding because that’s part of the game we’ve always admired, guys that throw their bodies on the ball. So you actually see guys a little bit hesitant now when the ball’s on the ground that they’re not sure what to do. They’re thinking, ‘well, I can’t slide in with my feet... But I can’t go in with my head’, then that creates a bit of confusion and it’s just a really bad rule. I’m glad they change rules, because certain things look a bit ugly, but they’ve actually painted themselves into a corner with these rules because it’s making it really ugly for a footy-lover to watch, because they see guys pull up and think about what they’re going to do and as an old-school footballer, you look at that and it looks terrible.

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. You have won a lot of big football accolades, but what do you consider as the highlight of your football career?

Glenn: Oh, definitely the premierships. We played in ’96 and then won in ’99. I think that anyone that starts playing the game at any level, the ultimate goal is always to play in a premiership at AFL level. So to actually achieve that is something that sits far and above any other award you can win. To do it with 21 of your close mates and to actually get to that final siren and be in front, it’s an amazing feeling.

Steve: Yeh, I’m sure. Just finally Glenn, who do you regard as the best player you played with or against in your 310 AFL game career.

Glenn: Ahh, for me, I think Wayne Carey sits above anyone. I have to be a little bit bias, because I played alongside him 200 times, but yeh, he was absolutely amazing. I always liken him to, in junior football when you’re playing under 14s, there’s always one kid in the league that is bigger, stronger and absolutely tears it apart, Wayne was doing that at AFL level. He was one of those guys that, when the game is in the balance, that’s when he really loved it and he’d turn it on for 5 minutes and kick 3, take 6 strong marks. Also Gary Ablett, he was just purely a freakish footballer, who was right up there as well. But for consistency, Wayne is the one for me.

Steve: Well, that’s all I have for you Glenn. Thanks for your time, I really appreciate it. Good luck with your business interests. I’m pretty excited to hear about your next trip through Kode. I like hearing the stories from my brother-in-law.

Glenn: Yeh, Nick’s coming to Darwin again with us for the Darwin Cup; he definitely enjoys himself, haha.

Steve: Yeh, fantastic.

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Steve: Hi, this is Steve from Calibre Fitness. This month we’re interviewing Mark Winterbottom. V8 Supercars fans will be familiar with Mark ‘Frosty’ Winterbottom, one of the series’ regular frontrunners who we’re sure is on the cusp to a win in Australia’s premier touring car championship.

Mark dominated the Australian karting scene for ten years, winning many titles and even competing internationally against the likes of Lewis Hamilton. In 2002, he made the full-time jump to open-wheel racing, finishing runner-up in the Australian Formula Ford Champion to V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup.

Ford was seriously impressed with his skills, and duly signed Winterbottom on a long-term deal. . In his maiden season with FPR, he enjoyed his maiden podium, race and round wins en route to finishing third in the championship. In the six seasons since, ‘Frosty’ has never finished outside the top-five in the Drivers’ Championship.

Winterbottom can be guaranteed to be among the most consistent performers in the Australian touring car scene, and he has continually matured and developed into an accomplished and highly respected performer, which was acknowledged by his peers with his nomination for the Barry Sheene Medal in 2012.

How are you doing Mark?

Mark: Yeh, good. How are you?

Steve: Yeh, really good, thank you. Mark, you were a very talented soccer player in your younger days. Was there a time when you had to make a tough decision between soccer and motorsport?

Mark: There was actually. I started soccer when I was 5 years old. So I loved soccer, played it at a state level, it was a lot of fun, but took a lot of commitment and then when I realised what motorsport was, it was the choice of play soccer on a Sunday or race Go-Karts on a Sunday and as fun as chasing a ball around an oval is, I chose the motorsport option and thankfully it paid off. Both were a lot of fun and who knows what soccer could have done, but I think I made the right choice in the end.

Steve: Yeh, Absolutely. For ten years, you were extremely successful in karts, winning a heap of titles, then over the course of a couple of years you made the jump up to V8 Supercars. How hard was this transition for you?


Mark: It is very tough. Most sports in general are very tough industries. Racing Go-Karts is purely yourself and your family on a low budget, trying to do whatever you can to go racing and luckily I had great supporters through the whole time. But it’s purely you and the machine, but when you transition to Formula Ford and V8 Supercars, it becomes a business and an industry. Ford Performance Racing for example has about sixty staff who work there. They try to get everyone working for you and getting everything right. It is very tough. So you go from just you and the machine, to you and the business and driving is different, but it’s all the same sort of traits. But it’s mainly getting your head around all the other aspects that can affect the result which you don’t learn when you’re young. It is a big reality check when you step up.

Steve: Yeh, sure. I’m sure diet and nutrition play an important part, as they do for most sportsmen. What does your diet consist of?


Mark: Our sport is really heavy on the hydration side. In a cabin the temperature is 30 degrees higher than ambient, so we’re seeing cabin temperatures of 70 degrees sometimes. Hydration is key, a lot of electrolytes is definitely a big thing for us. Magnesium as well to stop the cramping and you just need to eat healthy as it is, but hydration can lose you a race more than the food itself, but everything at a race weekend for our team is catered by a couple of professional caterers so you get fed well, but no one’s there handing you drinks of fluid. So that’s something you need to do on your own and top up. If we race on Saturday and Sunday, we’ll start the Tuesday before, you really get the fluids up, put about 2kg on of just fluid and come out Sunday afternoon about 1kg lighter than your standard weight. Over a weekend you probably lose 3-4kg of fluid, so yeh... Hydration is key.

Steve: Absolutely. I guess the same goes for fitness as for diet and nutrition. What does a normal training week look like?


Mark: A training week is hard to get right in our sport because the commercial aspect of it is so busy. I like to do weights, a lot of the guys are different to what I am, but I like to do that. I do upper body, chest and triceps one day, I do back and biceps another day and I do legs another day. For cardio I do a lot of running, a lot of fartleks, a lot of 1km sprints. I’ve tried to stop running long distances because I broke my ankle last year so you have to come up with a new way to keep fit without putting so much jolt on the body. So running shorter distances and cycling are the main cardio I do these days. It’s a mixture of everything though really; Weights for strength and run/ride for endurance and then also do a weights circuit once a week as well, so that will be a complete body workout circuit that goes for about an hour and a half. So I try to spice it up. Training for me is something I really enjoy. When you’re on the road you need to do what you can as well, so I always pack my runners, hopefully stay near a gym if you can, otherwise you need to do bodyweight stuff and that’s where a lot of that CrossFit comes in to play.

Steve: Yeh, sure. How did you find the experience of lending your voice to the animated character ‘Frosty’ in the movie Cars 2?


Mark: It was a lot of fun actually. I love kids and I love being a family man and playing with my kids so to actually be able to do a kid movie and see people watching it and commenting on it, although it was only 2 lines, it was still a lot of fun to do. Disney as a company were amazing to work with and it was just lots of fun. It was strange doing the voice over because it was in a sound booth in Melbourne here and the director was in his lounge room in Las Vegas so he was guiding through the whole production, it was a pretty bizarre experience, but it was lots of fun, I loved every minute of it and to see a car named ‘Frosty’ on the big screen was pretty cool!

Steve: What about competing on Australia’s Greatest Athlete, how tough was this for you?


Mark: Ahh, it was really tough actually because the filming was the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the Sydney Homebush race. So that was the biggest race of the year, then flew straight out landed in Brisbane drove to Sunshine coast and by the time everything got finished up it was about 3am and the triathlon that morning was at 7am so preparation wasn’t ideal. It was a lot of fun though. It’s great to see how you stack up against different athletes and it also gave me a bit of a kick in the backside about my fitness as well, because you want to pride yourself on your fitness and some things were really good, the bench press and jet-skiing and a few others, but there were other areas where I was pretty weak which was a bit of a reality check to get back to the gym and get a bit stronger. But some of those guys, the Quade Coopers, then Shannon Ecksteins, they’re elite guys, their fitness is amazing, so it was good to compare yourself against those guys.

Steve: What has been your most memorable racing experience to date?


Mark: Probably just rocking up to Bathurst for the first time. It wasn’t a memorable result, it was actually a DNF, the engine failed on lap 132 or something like that. But having grown up watching Bathurst as a kid and a lot of Aussie blokes and women can relate to Bathurst, so just to get on that starting grid and do one lap of Bathurst, just to get there and do it was one of the best feelings; not from a results point of view, but just sheer satisfaction and completion that you’ve watched it for so many years and have finally got there.

Steve: Yeh, sure. What do you consider to be your main strength as a driver?


Mark: You have to have that speed, but I like to be calculated on how I do it. So I haven’t got a ‘win or bust’ attitude which can work for you sometimes, but won’t work for you other times. I think I’m consistent; I can win when I have to and finish when I need to. I think that’s a good strength to have because it’s quite easy to always get that red mist and always try to go for the victory and glory, but that doesn’t always pay off, it might pay off one time out of ten but the strength is to just drive within yourself; when you haven’t got the car, just do the best result you can and when you have got it to push on and go for the win. Not every driver has that same sort of approach, but that’s worked well for me for consistency in the championship.

Steve: What do you think of the introductions of Nissan and Mercedes Benz into the championship?


Mark: It’s been good to see different manufacturers come in. It’s always been Ford and Holden for the past 15 years, but it was getting to a point where it needed some more manufacturer support and Nissan were racing within the sport back in 1993 or whenever it was, so they’ve got a lot of history with our sport, even though it was many years ago. But they wanted to come in and Mercedes is a well known brand, it’s actually really nice racing against a luxury car and a prestige car, and if we can beat it in a Ford Falcon, that’s also going to give you a bit more satisfaction. I think it’s great; it was time for a revamp and now’s the perfect time. Initial signs are that the fans love them. The Mercedes has this incredible engine and the Nissan sounds different, they look different, they’re bringing in different supporters so yeh, I think it’s really good for the sport.

Steve: Have you had any particularly bad crashes or suffered any bad injuries in your career?


Mark: Yeh, I’ve had some bad crashes, but most of the damage was done in Go-Karting to be honest. Go-Karting doesn’t have much around you to protect you, so when you roll over it’s your body that cops the impact. The only broken bone, touch wood, was in Go-Karting, I broke my collar bone when the car rolled over. In V8 Supercars, there’s been a heap of crashes, but every one has been a walk away which is a good feeling. But they’re very safe, you feel safer in that than you do in a Go-Kart. So I’ve been pretty lucky with how I’ve pulled up. They all hurt, when you hit a wall going 200km/h, it shakes your teeth and rattles your bones, but I always walked away which was good.

Steve: With your karting background, would you ever consider making a move towards Formula 1?

 

Mark: With Karting, probably the most natural progression is to go open wheel racing, but the hard part is at the age of 14, you have to be in Europe racing Go-Karts, so that means you need pretty rich parents, which I didn’t have and it means moving away from home at that age to a foreign country. So it is really tough. You’re competing against the whole world trying to get into 20 seats. Formula One is the pinnacle of motor sport, but at the same time there’s probably 8-10 guys that get paid professionally and the other 10 bring money. So it’s a very tough category to get into and to have 2 Aussie’s in it, that just shows how good Australian motorsport is and how respected our country is in Motorsport, but I’m glad I chose V8s. V8’s is real racing, you can bang door handles and crunch the gears. I guess it’s a true Aussie car and that’s what I love. Formula One is very good, but it’s a different form of racing with a different approach.

Steve: Yep... And just finally Mark, what advice would you give a young person trying to get started in racing?


Mark: You just have to get into go-karts, that’s the way to do it. You need to just enjoy it, don’t think you’re going to be a professional driver, because even in go-karts, there’s 10,000 license holders who are incredibly talented people. So just get in there and have fun, learn the race craft. It’s funny, go-karting is such a competitive sport, but all those guys I used to race in go-karts, now race V8 supercars. What we did in go-karts is exactly what we do today... So you can learn a lot from it. But most of all, just enjoy it. It’s a great sport and really gives you an appreciation for your machine and how to use it and how to control it. It’s great for families too, I’d take my kids there tomorrow if they wanted to do it.

Steve: Yep, wonderful. Well, that’s all I have for you, Mark. Thanks for your time, I really appreciate it and I’m sure a lot of our followers will be keen to read the interview and get a better insight into the world of motorsport.


Mark: Thanks mate, No worries.

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Your team in 2013

February 27, 2013



















ADELAIDE CROWS

For a team that got within a goal of last year's grand final, it's surprisingly difficult to get a read on Adelaide. They have three of the competition's young guns in Patrick Dangerfield, Taylor Walker and Rory Sloane (all 23 this year) and a boom teenager in Brad Crouch, but they have a far tougher draw than last year, and could not possibly expect a repeat dream run with injuries. The loss of Kurt Tippett will hurt, while opposition teams will be better prepared for them. Adelaide's performance in away matches might well determine whether they play in the finals.


4 PLAYERS TO WATCH

TAYLOR WALKER
An old-school forward who can seriously turn a game. Questions remain over controlling his aggression (he was suspended twice last year) and how well he will go in a restructured forward line.

JOSH JENKINS
Has a ruckman's build and vertical leap, but the agility and speed of a midfielder. Has impressed over summer. Can play forward, but might be asked to have a turn in defence.

BRAD CROUCH
A teenager with talent to burn and a seasoned body. He will win plenty of the ball and could play all 22 games.

SAM JACOBS
With injury question marks over the likes of Nic Naitanui and Aaron Sandilands, the big Crow ($546,300) is a reliable ruck option. Is relatively cheap and has been durable and consistent in the past.

PREDICTION: 8th-9th.

CARLTON BLUES

Two words, Mick Malthouse, will ensure that Carlton are under the football microscope more than any other AFL team in 2013. And early signs suggest the Blues have warmly embraced his arrival, with consistent stories of a revigorated atmosphere at a club that has been a bit part player for too long.

While Carlton are at pains to not disrespect the former coaching staff headed by Brett Ratten, Malthouse has brought genuine excitement to Visy Park. He has also quickly built relationships with his troops, although he made it very clear that mediocrity will not be tolerated when Mitch Robinson was called in after his self described "hiccup" at the Big Day Out concert.


The Malthouse expectation is he needs to find 15 per cent improvement in the Carlton team to take them to winning 12-13-14 games, instead of the 11 wins and 10th placing in 2012.


Such is his belief in a tried and tested game plan that Malthouse believes it can lead to significant improvement. He also sees consistency in selection will provide the confidence that has been lacking in some. As to how advanced the Blues will be early, it comes down to them having no choice given an exceptionally difficult start to the season where they play Richmond, Collingwood, Geelong, West Coast and Adelaide in their first five matches.


So what do they need to improve? A tall defender (maybe Matthew Watson) to step up and help out Michael Jamison and Lachie Henderson. And a tall forward, possibly Sam Rowe or Luke Mitchell, to ease the burden on Jarrad Waite. Fix those two and get consistent seasons from two of Matthew Kreuzer, Shaun Hampson or Robbie Warnock and September is beckoning.

5 PLAYERS TO WATCH

TOM BELL
A former football player who was also an elite junior distance runner, Bell's 95kg frame means he is well placed to compete with the ever-growing midfield bodies at rival clubs. Needs to improve his disposal but has been a stand-out track worker over summer. Another poster boy for mature-aged recruits.

LEVI CASBOULT
Could be the player every team desires as in a marking forward who can go into the ruck (i.e. Jarryd Roughead, Kurt Tippett). The Blues are genuinely excited by the boy from Beaconsfield who can take a good grab and who relishes the contest. Casboult is also a good mover considering his 198cm frame and has been working hard on his disposal.

JEFF GARLETT
Last season for 'Jeffy' was below his electric best of 2011 (48 goals) and 2010 (39). But he is very much in the plans of his new coach and has impressed over pre-season. His fitness levels will enable him to push up the ground where the Blues are hoping he can become a Lewis Jetta-type.

BRYCE GIBBS
The fascinating part of the Gibbs evolution is where will his new coach play him? The 24-year-old has flagged a desire to become a genuine midfielder and has shed his leadership duties to concentrate solely on becoming the best he can be. His precise kicking into the forward 50m is so important in today's game.

LUKE MITCHELL
At 21 still a kid and one who hasn't had an uninterrupted crack due to serious injuries. At 198cm he can take a power grab and kicks straight. He is also seen as a natural leader and one of the few extroverts on the Carlton list. All he needs now is to show he belongs at senior level.



PREDICTION: 3rd-4th

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES

There are plenty of sound reasons to be bullish about Collingwood this season, not least the top-end quality and the depth on their list. The Magpies went close last season, despite having four of arguably their best 22 sidelined with knee reconstructions, and their key forward seemingly distracted by very public contract negotiations. The absences meant coach Nathan Buckley got games into promising youngsters such as Jamie Elliott, Jackson Paine, Paul Seedsman, Marley Williams and Caolan Mooney.

Now those hungry youngsters will find themselves jostling for spots in a 22 that can expect to have greater access to the likes of Luke Ball, Andrew Krakouer, Brent Macaffer, Ben Johnson and Alan Didak, all of whom missed slabs of 2011 through injury. Furthermore, the list is bolstered by the addition of seasoned recruits Clinton Young, Jordan Russell, Quinten Lynch and Ben Hudson.

On every line the Pies have pivotal players at the peak of their powers, all with considerable finals experience given this team has played in the past seven Septembers. Furthermore Buckley will be better for having a season as senior coach under his belt, and his charges will be more polished at adhering to his game plan and demands.


5 PLAYERS TO WATCH

TRAVIS CLOKE
So was Cloke's patchy form last year down to the distraction of contract talks, was it an anomaly, or was it a sign his powers are diminishing? His form in 2013 will tell us more. He is a crucial player, not least because he would be arguably the most difficult for the Pies to cover.

DAYNE BEAMS
Had a break-out year in 2012, claiming the Copeland Trophy at age 22. Wins plenty of the footy in traffic but is also damaging when he gets into space and is a proven goalkicker. Can expect more opposition attention this season, but coped well when tagged late last year. Will be intriguing to see if her can continue improving.

JORDAN RUSSELL
Only played seven games for Carlton last year, but could proved a handy pick-up for the Magpies. Is a versatile and deceptively quick defender, who can shut down an opponent or run to create, and is capable of taking the kick-ins. He gives Collingwood more options in how they use Heath Shaw, Harry O'Brien and Alan Toovey.

DALE THOMAS
Is coming off the most challenging season of his career, largely due to niggling injuries. Had ankle surgery in October, hampering his preparation for the season, but if that returns to 100 per cent expect Thomas to again be among the Pies most influential players.

LUKE BALL
Will be interesting to see how Ball bounces back from his knee reconstruction, particularly after being eased through the pre-season. His in-and-under nature adds a dimension to Collingwood's clearances. Worth a look for your SuperCoach team, too, at just $301,800.

PREDICTION: 1st-2nd.

ESSENDON BOMBERS

We want to talk about Joe Daniher's leap, and Brendon Goddard's exquisite disposal, and Tom Bellchambers's coming of age. Instead those totally valid questions have been shoved aside by the elephant in the room that would dwarf King Kong. How can you predict ladder positions, and ponder premiership aspirations, when 40 players are being investigated by ASADA and the AFL for potential doping infractions?

If Essendon managed to stay in a bubble of serenity - avoiding the distracting interviews of players and staff, and parrying the constant questions from fans - and won the flag it would be the most extraordinary story in recent memory. The best they can hope is a speedy mid-season resolution that exonerates players and allows them to get on with business. Because this list is now seriously talented, and the acquisition of those players means Essendon's premiership window is just dawning.

5 PLAYERS TO WATCH

BRENDON GODDARD
First let's concentrate on what Goddard is, not what he isn't. He is an elite kick, a resilient performer averaging 20 games a year, and versatile on-baller who can sweep through the back half or play wing. He might not like a tag, he might not kick enough goals, and he might have underperformed in recent seasons, but he is exactly what Essendon need.

BRENT STANTON
Stanton exploded out of the blocks last year before pesky taggers twigged to his running patterns, considerably dimming his effectiveness. If left unchecked he will shred opponents. So with Jobe Watson untaggable, who do opponents run with? Stanton or Goddard? Essendon will hope the player left off the chain will demolish rivals - Goddard via his booming right foot, and Stanton with his exceptional tank.

MICHAEL HURLEY
Fans want a decision on Hurley as a forward or back, but in reality Essendon's injury list might define his position as much as his own play. If Tayte Pears, Cale Hooker, Jake Carlisle and Dustin Fletcher stay fit, he plays forward. Finally he looks cut, determined, and fit. Yet Hurley has never kicked more than 27 goals a season, and just once strung together three weeks of multiple goals. It means he enters 2013 with a point to prove.

JAKE MELKSHAM
Melksham represents the under-performers of 2012, players who through injury or the club's controversial fitness regime battled to make good on their potential. Those players include Travis Colyer, Heath Hocking, David Myers, Cale Hooker, Tayte Pears, and Jason Winderlich. If the Dons get big years from four or five of those middle-tier performers, they quickly shoot up the table.

JOE DANIHER
No pressure, Joe. You have only been dubbed the most talented TAC Cup player since Chris Judd. Essendon keep trying to douse the hype, but without injury he plays 18 games this year. He has it all - workrate, fiery determination, speed, one-grab hands, and poise below his knees that belies his 201cm frame. Let's just hope the Essendon injury curse stays away from this father-son draft steal.

PREDICTION: 7th-8th.

GEELONG CATS

Restocking or rebuilding? We'll find out a lot more about Geelong over the next six months. The Cats uncharacteristically limped out of the finals race last season off the back of an elimination final loss to Fremantle that had them looking vulnerable. The seventh placing came after five successive top four finishes and three flags.

Internally, Geelong believe the restocking of three ready-made recruits, the maturation of a number of talented young players and the continued hunger of premiership stars will drive the club. The Cats traded for young star Josh Caddy, who should benefit from being settled back in Victoria, as well as picked up veteran defender Jared Rivers and ruckman Hamish McIntosh. Rivers won't be a replacement for the irreplaceable - retired champ Matthew Scarlett - but he is a strong defender who will certainly help out down back, while McIntosh strengthens the ruck division.

Importantly, Geelong have blooded 15 young players over the past two seasons, including 10 last year. The kids are in place and the traded players will be straight into the 22 if they are fit. So it will come back to the hunger of those players who have won flags and whether they want to endure the pain again. If the hunger is there, and they have an ounce of luck, you would never say never about this Geelong side..

5 PLAYERS TO WATCH

TOM HAWKINS
The 'Tomahawk' has come of age to become one of the most dominant forwards in the game. The interesting thing is to see if he can maintain that All-Australian and best-and-fairest winning form. There is no reason to think that he won't. An imposing player, Hawkins just gets the job done.

TRAVIS VARCOE
Varcoe is one of the Cats' most important players when he is right to go. He managed only one game last year due to a stress fracture in his foot. He showed good signs in the first NAB Cup game, running off half back. He will be crucial to Geelong if his body stays sound.

NATHAN VARDY
This big power forward could be anything if his hip holds out. Has had no luck in recent seasons due to injury, but looms as a 10-year forward and partner in attack for Hawkins if he stays fit. Has enjoyed a solid pre-season and is seemingly ready to go.

JOSH CADDY
Can't wait to see how the much-talked about inside midfielder goes in his first season back in his home state. He admits he still has a fair bit to learn, but who better to learn off than some of the Cats' midfield greats.

PAUL CHAPMAN
This is a big year for Chappy who is entering 2013 with a one-year deal, but with a desire to play on for much longer. Geelong fans will be hoping he can maintain his lofty standards - even as a 31-year-old.

PREDICTION: 7th-8th.

GOLD COAST SUNS

Gold Coast have been given every chance to advance in 2013. We'll soon know if last year's end-of-season flourish was genuine or not as the Suns take on all other bottom-six teams from 2012 in the first eight rounds. With 11 youngsters within striking distance of 50 games this year, the addition of 2011 mini-draft selection Jaeger O'Meara and experienced campaigners Tom Murphy and Greg Broughton, don't be surprised to see the Suns sitting mid-table mid-year.

4 PLAYERS TO WATCH

JAEGER O'MEARA
He is going to be a midfield star. May be easily forgotten given he was selected in the GWS mini-draft nearly 18 months ago, but he won't be out of sight nor mind for too much longer.

DAVID SWALLOW
Could be the Harley Bennell of 2013. Last year was ruined by injury, but the 2010 No.1 pick had started 2012 like a house on fire. Another pre-season under his belt may be all he needs.

GARY ABLETT
Is there any need to wax lyrical about the champ? His hefty SuperCoach price tag of $740,500 is $65,000 more than the next most expensive player, but the Brownlow Medallist is worth it – he's a class above.

GREG BROUGHTON
Broughton is a player you need a friendly reminder about. Ross Lyon didn't do him too many favours last year. But the utility should have a rebound campaign.

PREDICTION: 15th-16th.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY GIANTS

Take a bow Giants; as first years go, theirs was seriously impressive. Between Jeremy Cameron standing on defenders' backs, Toby Greene regularly racking up 30 possessions and Stephen Coniglio slicing through traffic, the Giants chiefs got it dead right with their list build.


They play tough, contested footy, and are already raving about the influence of coach-in-waiting Leon Cameron on the likes of inside midfielders Dylan Shiel and Coniglio. This year they will still be vulnerable down back, but the emergence of Jonathon Patton and super-slick No. 1 pick Lachie Whitfield will get more tongues wagging.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Adam Treloar
Has flown under the radar despite finishing last season like a freight train. Had 37 possessions against Collingwood and ranked second at the club for disposals from round 13 onwards. An elite goalkicking midfielder in the making.

Jonathon Patton
Last year it was Jeremy Cameron; this season it's Patton's turn to light up the forward line. Strong-marking forwards with his mobility at 197cm are a rare commodity, so enjoy.

Lachie Whitfield
Silk on a wing/back flank. The No.1 draft pick is skinnier than the war-horses we saw emerge in orange last year, but already on track for a round-one berth.

Callan Ward
It's easy to forget Ward is only 22 years old. Few players are more fearless than this bloke. Should break through the 100-point-per game SuperCoach average mark for the first time in his career this season.

PREDICTION: 17th-18th

HAWTHORN HAWKS

Nothing the Hawks do between now and preliminary final weekend matters. We all assume they will be there come the business end of proceedings, it's only their ability to deliver the premiership that has become annoyingly elusive that counts. Alastair Clarkson's men have the draw from hell to open the season, playing each of last year's seven other finalists in the first seven rounds. It's a test.

The Hawks have been slow starters in recent years and their grand final appearance puts them behind others in terms of pre-season preparations. But as the old cliché goes, if you want to be the best you have to beat the best and there's no reason Hawthorn supporters should fear the worst for the opening two months of the season.

There will be ongoing talk about Lance Franklin's contract, but teams can put that sort of thing to one side. Brian Lake adds considerable depth to the back line and could be the missing link in the puzzle, while youngster Alex Woodward is the only pre-season casualty so far. Everything is in place for the Hawks. Apart from the cruel end to Matthew Suckling's season.

5 PLAYERS TO WATCH

BRIAN LAKE
Don't underestimate the value Lake can add to Hawthorn's premiership assault. Let's match the Hawks against last year's foes, Sydney. If Lake plays in last year's grand final he frees Josh Gibson up to play on someone like Mitch Morton. Does Morton bob up to kick a couple of crucial goals if that's the case? Lake also takes pressure off the oft-maligned Ryan Schoenmakers. A crucial cog.

JOSH GIBSON
Gibson was already the AFL's premier spoiler and third man up and that's before Lake arrived. One can only imagine the 29-year-old will have even more freedom to roam the backline and marshal his troops knowing Lake's ability to keep a danger forward in check. Recorded an average of 8.1 spoils and 1.7 intercept marks a game last year.

LUKE HODGE
How will Hodge be managed through the 2013 season? Will he have to be managed at all? The skipper played only 10 games last year, left frustrated by a left knee injury. Proved his class in his return game last year when, playing as a permanent forward, he kicked five goals against Essendon. Expect Hodge to play plenty of pinch-hit roles forward and back.

BRAD HILL
According to some teammates Hill has been tearing up the track over the summer and big improvements are expected from the 180cm jet. In his first season at the club last year Hill played five games, four as the substitute. Won't play all games this year, but can be expected to be a capable performer when given the chance.

LIAM SHIELS
Shiels was tipped to explode last year and, while the raw numbers don't tell the full story, the 21-year-old revelled in his new role as a run-with player. Said last year he only finds out his weekly role days before each game, but his hit list of Brent Harvey, Kieren Jack, Scott Selwood and Brent Stanton suggests his coaches are more than confident in his ability to do a job.

PREDICTION: 1st-2nd.

MELBOURNE DEMONS

Like any power forward, Chris Dawes yearns for express delivery. Kick it long and quick and give me space is the goalkicker's mantra. That tall target role was a key part of Melbourne's pitch that prompted the Magpies premiership big man to shift camp down Olympic Boulevard to ply his trade as a permanent forward.

And the Demons' reliance on Dawes will be even more pronounced if Mitch Clark's rehab from that serious right foot injury stalls or drags on too deep into the season. Simply, Melbourne need to find more scoreboard contributors in their front half to start the ladder climb from a lowly 16th. To emphasis that goal dearth, Clark was still the major goalkicker by a wide margin despite missing the entire second half of 2012.

The Demons have gambled with that urgent need to apply scoreboard pressure to opposition teams. Even Dawes's calf problems from last year surfaced again in the pre-season. Cam Pedersen couldn't break into North Melbourne's team, but he won Werribee's best and fairest and he can take contested marks. Geelong's dual premiership forward Shannon Byrnes will be 29 in early April and the much-travelled David Rodan is approaching 30 with renewed enthusiasm if dodgy knees.

Beefing up strength and endurance was an off-season priority again, particularly to find more options in the midfield rotations. Young Jack Viney shows the skills and grunt to assist Jones, Grimes, Trengove and Co. to at least get the traffic heading in the right direction for Dawes and others targets.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

JORDIE MCKENZIE
Has enjoyed a full pre-season to load up for the vital run-with roles against the targeted opposition ball magnets. His stoppage work and defensive pressure is first class, with more than 100 tackles in each of the past three years. And he knows how to get the ball himself, averaging 17 possessions last season.

MARK JAMAR
Will be called upon to shoulder the bulk of the ruck duties again, particularly, with young Max Gawn back on the long-term injury list with hamstring troubles and the uncertainty over Jake Spencer's development. While Jamar is a reliable tap ruckman, he must adapt to the new separation rules at stoppages and boundary throw-ins.

JEREMY HOWE
Was one of the standout performers in a dark season for supporters. His spring-heeled antics earned him an amazing eight Mark of the Round nominations and, to no-one's surprise, he ultimately won the award. But there's more to this Demon with his competitive assets and goal nous always a worry for opponents.

TOM GILLIES
Probably his last chance to become an established AFL defender with this one-year contract. The Demons are banking on his versatility to curb the tall or quick as the replacement for Jared Rivers down back. Managed only 13 games in four seasons as he struggled to push into an elite Geelong backline. But he did win the Cats' best first-year player in 2009.

JACK VINEY
With such a rich family history at the club, his every stat will be closely scrutinised and compared with father Todd. But the kid gives the impression he will forge his own history with his fearless attack on the ball. And he has already been tested and hardened against the bigger b

Posted in Latest News By Calibre Fitness

AFL Core Workout

February 27, 2013

Your 'core' refers to the muscles of your abs and back and their ability to support your spine and keep your body stable and balanced. Core stability is the strength and coordination of the muscles during a movement and has become essential to the modern game of AFL football. Having a strong core helps players improve performance and also minimises their risk of injuries. There are many different techniques you can use to vary your core training and avoid a plateau. Below are 10 of the best exercises to strengthen your core.

The first three (10, 9 and 8) are static floor exercises, which require little or no movement; constant tension on your muscles ensures that they are working. Improvement is marked by the increased duration of each exercise or the reduction of your support base.

The following three (7, 6 and 5) are dynamic floor exercises, which are done without weights. They are different from static training because they require movement throughout the exercise.

Exercises 4 and 3 are static Swiss ball exercises. A Swiss ball is unstable, so the main muscles you are working will need the help of supporting muscles to balance you and the ball. Find a medium-sized ball that is fully inflated, but still allows for some give.

Finally, exercises 2 and 1 are dynamic Swiss ball exercises: Movement is required throughout these drills to target the selected muscle groups.

Number 10

Plank

The plank works your entire core and upper- and lower-body muscles. Lie down on your stomach. Lift your body off the floor with your forearms (elbows at 90° degrees) and your toes. Keep your body in a straight position (without arching your back) and hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Lift one foot in the air for added difficulty.

Number 9

Pushup plank

This exercise is the same as the plank, except that you are in a pushup position. The pushup plank works the core, chest and biceps. This is a great exercise to end your workout with; it will fully fatigue almost every muscle in your upper body.

Number 8

V-sit hold

This targets your abdominal muscles and improves your balance. Lie on your back and bend at the waist as you extend your legs and arms into the air to form a "V." Hold this position for as long as you can.

Number 7

Twisting crunch

This is one of the most effective crunch workouts, as it hits all of your stomach muscle fibers at once. Assume a standard crunch position, raise your torso to a 45° angle, and then twist from side to side. For an advanced movement, extend your legs and pretend to peddle a bicycle while you continue to twist.

Number 6

Lying windmills

This exercise is one of the most challenging. Lie on your back with your arms extended and raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor. Slowly lower your legs to the side as low as you can while maintaining complete shoulder and back contact with the floor. Bring your legs back up to center and lower them to the other side.

Number 5

Supermans with a twist

Perform a standard Superman: Lie down on your stomach and raise your torso off the floor with your arms extended in front of you (beginners may place their hands behind their head). Here's the twist: At the top of the raise, twist to one side, return to the center and twist to the other side. Lower your torso to the ground to complete one rep. Hold a two- to five-pound weight for a more advanced movement.

Number 4

Plank on a Swiss ball

This is a variation of the static plank. There are two possible executions: You can place your forearms on the Swiss ball with your feet on the ground or you can place your feet on the ball with your forearms on the ground. Keep your abs and glutes tight, and do not arch your back. Hold this position as long as possible. Move the ball slightly from side to side for an advanced movement.

Number 3

Lying glute pushup

The lying glute pushup targets your butt and back muscles. Lie on your back with your feet resting on top of a Swiss ball. Push through your heels to raise your butt off the floor as high as possible. Form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold this position for 60 seconds.

Number 2

Ball roll-ins

Ball roll-ins target your central abdominal muscles. Place your hands on the ground and the top of your feet on top of the ball. Keep your hands in place and bend at the knees to bring the ball toward your chest. Hold this position for a second and roll back out. Focus on squeezing your abs throughout the movement; do not use your hip flexors to bring the ball toward you.

Number 1

Stiff-legged V bends

This is exactly the same as the ball roll-ins, but you must keep your knees straight and move your hips toward the ceiling. The focus of this drill is completely on the abs; you should be able to feel a strong medial contraction.

... to the core of the matter

These are some of the best core training exercises. They help create a more complete workout because they target one specific muscle and often call synergistic muscles into play. Choose a drill from each group to use during every abdominal workout and you'll be leaping above the rest in no time!

Posted in Featured By Calibre Fitness

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