The next 11 weeks consisted of progressively increasing the strength in key muscle groups such as the VMO, hamstrings and rotator cuff, correcting muscle imbalance and working to improve strength in key lifts such as the squat and incline press. A key concept that I employed was to periodise the upper body work with thick grip implements. A goalie needs to be strong with an open hand such as making saves, catching or throwing and rarely needs to be strong with a closed fist apart from punching. Therefore we used an array of 3-inch fat EZ bars, 3-inch fat Olympic bars and devices called Fat Gripz to be put on dumbbells and cable handles.
This dramatically increased the demand of the exercise and increased upper body strength. Here is an example 2-week upper body / lower body programme:
A1. Barbell Bulgarian split squat 4 x 8-10 4020 75 seconds
A2. Prone leg curls toes out and down 4 x 5-7 4010 75 seconds
B1. Russian step up dumbbells 4 x 12-15 1010 75 seconds
B2. Reverse hyper 4 x 8-10 3010 75 seconds
A1. Fat bar 30-degree incline press 4 x 8-10 4010 75 seconds
A2. Kneeling V fat grip pull down 4 x 8-10 4010 75 seconds
B1. Incline fat grip Powel raise 4 x 8-10 4010 75 seconds
B2. Straight arm by side fat grip rope external rotation 4 x 8-10 4010 75 seconds
Mark also bought into using supplements to improve his workouts and strength gains. Mark used BCAA, beta alanine and creatine during workouts and took a whey protein based shake after training to help repair and build muscle. He also used a multivitamin and CLA to help reduce body fat. Some nutrition points that Mark implemented were to reduce the amount of carbs he ate. It is a common misconception that footballer’s need to eat pasta, rice and potatoes for energy. However, in a lot of players this just makes them fat, and by fat I mean getting in the 12-16% body fat range.
At the end of this 17 week phase Mark had increased his strength to do 88kg 3 inch fat bar bench for 6 reps and 80kg for 7 reps in the squat. His body fat went from 14.9% to 10.1% and he put on 5 kg of muscle mass. In the lead up to the 2010 World Cup Mark was awarded Premier League Player of the month in February and he got to the finals of the Europa League with Fulham FC, a truly great achievement – Congratulations Schwarzie!!
Article and pictures published kindly with the permission of Fulham Football Club.