Training Periodization of Professional Australian Football Players During an Entire Australian Football League Season

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose:

To examine the training periodization of an elite Australian Football team during different phases of the season.

Methods:

Training-load data were collected during 22 wk of preseason and 23 wk of in-season training. Training load was measured using the session rating of perceived exertion (session-RPE) for all training sessions and matches from 44 professional Australian Football players from the same team. Training intensity was divided into 3 zones based on session-RPE (low, <4; moderate, >4 AU and <7 AU; and high, >7 AU). Training load and intensity were analyzed according to the type of training session completed.

Results:

Higher training load and session duration were undertaken for all types of training sessions during the preseason than in-season (P < .05), with the exception of “other” training (ie, re/prehabilitation training, cross-training, and recovery activities). Training load and intensity were higher during the preseason, with the exception of games, where greater load and intensity were observed during the in-season. The overall distribution of training intensity was similar between phases with the majority of training performed at moderate or high intensity.

Conclusions:

The current findings may allow coaches and scientists to better understand the characteristics of Australian Football periodization, which in turn may aid in developing optimal training programs. The results also indicate that a polarized training-intensity distribution that has been reported in elite endurance athletes does not occur in professional Australian Football.

Moreira is with the Dept of Sport, School of Physical Education and Sport, and Aoki, the School of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Bilsborough, Sullivan, Cianciosi, and Coutts are with the Sport & Exercise Discipline Group, UTS: Health, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Alexandre Moreira at alemoreira@usp.br.