5 Must-do Exercises for Beginner Runners

Some people might say I’m crazy but I seriously love running. It sets up my day, drags me out of bed, and gives me a boost of endorphins that allow me to drive all the way to work with very few road rage incidents. I use it as a way to catch up weekly with friends, meet new people, and keep myself relatively healthy. It’s easy, basically free, and accessible to almost anybody.

There are a myriad of benefits to running! It’s a safe and effective way to improve cardiovascular health, bone density, muscular endurance, boost mood, and improve energy. With these few exercises, some smart programming, and a few expert tips you too can enjoy all of these benefits – physical, mental and social.

But beware, all of the exercises in the world won’t make up for doing too much too soon. An estimated 60% of running related injuries are linked to increasing mileage too quickly. Get a running plan in place that is tailored to your needs and slowly increase your weekly load in 10% increments. If you’re new to running altogether, start by increasing your daily walking before beginning to add small bouts of running.

Every individual has their own unique injury history, strengths, weaknesses, and running goals. Therefore it may be helpful to speak to the team at Peninsula Osteopathy + Allied Health, to get screened and assessed on your current capacity, and provided with an individually tailored plan to ensure you hit the ground running! (Pun intended).

Single leg sit-to-stand

Single leg strength, stability, and endurance is a huge component of running efficiency and capacity. The average runner should be aiming to take around 160-180 steps per minute, so for a 25-minute jog, each leg must support the weight of the body approximately 4000+ times! The single leg sit-to-stand is the perfect way to begin loading the muscles of your hip, buttock and leg – in a similar fashion to the way they are required to work during running. Your health practitioner can help ascertain when and how to progress the exercise, by adding weights, increasing the range of motion, and more!

Sit to stand demonstration

Glute bridge

This exercise focuses on hip extension and increasing the control of your lumbopelvic region (from your low back into your hips and buttock). Our hip extensors, such as the gluteus maximus, are the powerhouse of the running stride. The glute bridge can be altered to become single leg, weighted or with different tempos, all of which may be smart progressions for your practitioner to explore with you.

glute bridge demo

Hamstring bridge

Weakness in the single leg hamstring bridge test has been shown to predict hamstring related injuries in AFL players and military personnel. While we may not be reaching the pace of an AFL player, hamstring strains, tendinopathies, and niggles are still very common amongst casual runners. Start double leg and work towards a single leg variation.

hamstring bridge demo

Copenhagen adduction

Hip and groin pain is another common running niggle. This exercise increases the strength and control of your adductors (groin) while also providing a side plank core control exercise – bang for buck! Begin with a short lever (knee on the chair) and progress to long lever when ready (ankle on the chair).

copenhagen demo

Calf raises

calf complex

The calf complex is made up of the gastrocnemius (the big two headed muscle you can see) and the soleus (underneath and severely under-appreciated). The soleus actually produces the majority of force in the ankle during running. To strengthen the soleus do calf raises with a bent knee and to strengthen the gastrocnemius do them with your knee straight. Did anyone notice that I snuck in 6 exercises?

calf raises demos     Bent Knee Variation    |   Straight Leg Variation


Training for strength

Strength training uses the most weight with the least amount of repetitions with long rest periods in-between. Aiming for the ability to lift large amounts of weight for less time. Following the process of task-specific training, this is most effective for people who are trying to increase their overall load to be moved.

Training for Muscle Hypertrophy (growth)

Hypertrophy refers to muscle size as well as strength, you may see this in body-building where they utilise lighter weights, more repetitions and less time resting for particular muscle groups. Muscles require metabolic stress to increase in size, thus as a result of lactate acid build up and micro tears, the muscle then uses its repair process to rebuild and grow larger. This principle is best used for those beginning any exercise program as this utilises the aims of both muscle strength and movement, combining components of strength and endurance principles.

Training for Power

Power training involves using reasonably lighter weights and longer rest periods whilst the aim of the movement is to encourage speed. Power generally refers to the ability to move at high speeds. Power also includes the use of physics where force equals mass times acceleration and power training aims to practicing the acceleration part of the lift. Power principles are usually seen in athletes or powerlifting where weight is increased but require a high speed to move a certain weight. Power based exercises can also be found in HIIT workouts where explosive movements are completed with reduced rest.

Training for Muscular endurance

Endurance training requires more repetitions to ensure muscle functioning can last longer, usually with lighter weights. Rest is usually less for this principle as endurance is suggestive for long durations with little recovery. Endurance based programs for created for marathon runners, or for the everyday person to be able to withstand loading for an extended amount of time.

Which one is for you?

Consider your goal – what do you want to achieve out of your exercise program?
Consider your day-to-day activities – what do you do each day that requires a specific exercise program relative to your daily routine?
Consider what you have done previously – exercise, work and medical history can all have an impact on the physiological systems used within each of the above principles.
A training program is a variety of structured exercises using the principle FITT will guide you towards achieving your goals better.
• Frequency
• How many times a week for an activity?
• For sedentary individuals, start with 2-3 days/week of aerobic exercise and build up to 5 days/week. Build an exercise regime suited to your lifestyle.
• Intensity
• How hard to exert?
• Someone new to exercise should start at a low intensity, but health changes occur at a moderate exercise intensity
• Type
• Which type of activity should you do?
• Should be enjoyable, affordable, and achievable
• Time
• How long in minutes
• This does not include the warm up or cool down.
• 10 min bouts of exercise can be accumulated throughout the day
• If walking is the exercise – first increase the time before increasing the intensity (walking uphill/at a quicker pace)

Training or exercise programs are always most efficient when tailored specifically for individuals and their goals.

Medical Clearance and assessment is always advised prior to beginning any new exercise regime
Individuals unsure of the correct technique, exercise programming or structuring of a resistance program individual to their goals should consider receiving information and education from a qualified health/fitness professional, or Exercise Physiologist.

Any questions or concerns or if you would like to book in for an appointment to discuss your exercise goals, please contact the clinic on 5253 2345. You can also book online on our website!

Written by Tiarna Preer, Exercise Physiologist


American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Philadelphia :Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000.

This pronouncement was written for the American College of Sports Medicine by: William J. Kraemer, Ph.D., FACSM (Chairperson); Kent Adams, Ph.D.; Enzo Cafarelli, Ph.D., FACSM; Gary A. Dudley, Ph.D., FACSM; Cathryn Dooly, Ph.D., FACSM; Matthew S. Feigenbaum, Ph.D., FACSM; Steven J. Fleck, Ph.D., FACSM; Barry Franklin, Ph.D., FACSM; Andrew C. Fry, Ph.D.; Jay R. Hoffman, Ph.D., FACSM; Robert U. Newton, Ph.D.; Jeffrey Potteiger, Ph.D., FACSM; Michael H. Stone, Ph.D.; Nicholas A. Ratamess, M.S.; and Travis Triplett-McBride, Ph.D. Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: February 2002 – Volume 34 – Issue 2 – p 364-380

Tennis Elbow – in the non-tennis playing individual!

What is tennis elbow?

Are you someone suffering from pain on the outside of your elbow and Dr Google is telling you that you have tennis elbow, despite never touching a tennis racquet in your life? Tennis elbow, otherwise known as lateral epicondylalgia, is an overuse injury affecting the outside of your elbow resulting in pain, tenderness and substantial limitations in functionality of the upper extremity.

Clinically tennis elbow presents as pain that is aggravated with repeated movements of the elbow or wrist, pain with lifting and decreased or painful grip strength.

Lateral epicondylalgia commonly affects those in office jobs, construction/repair, cleaners and healthcare workers and is associated with repetitive bending and straightening of the elbow joint for more than 1 hour per day.

In greater depth lateral epicondylalgia is both a load related and systemic based condition that ch

aracteristically has an acute inflammatory stage and a chronic degenerative stage. Lateral epicondylalgia affects the extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon and occurs when there is weakness and decreased capacity of the tendon to manage loads resulting in micro tearing within the tendon. This micro tearing further reduces the tendons capacity and elicits a pain response with in our body such that activities of daily living such as picking up a coffee cup can be sufficient enough to trigger pain.

Lateral epicondylalgia often goes hand in hand with a mild degree of shoulder girdle weakness. When using our arms for day to day activity we require a transfer of energy along the chain from shoulder to elbow to wrist – in tennis elbow a weakness in the shoulder leads to an increased demand on the elbow and wrist and hence an overload as discussed above.

The good news is that tennis elbow is generally self limiting meaning that within 6-12 weeks you are like

ly to experience significantly less pain, improved functionality and healing of the underlying tissues.

So how can treatment help?

Treatment of tennis elbow may involve soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation/articulation and mild or gentle stretching in combination with strengthening exercises to prevent reoccurrence. The goal of treatment is to reduce the duration of symptoms and associated disability. Treatment is thought to stimulate mechanoreceptors, which in return inhibits or blocks pain signals from nociceptors reaching the brain.

Your practitioner may also suggest a brace or assist you with taping techniques of the elbow to increase your function. Taping/bracing plays a role by placing tension at point on the muscle distally to irritated/damaged tendon site promoting healing of the damaged area.

In some cases injection of cortisone may be indicated however there is research to suggest that injection may lead to poorer long term outcomes in function and movement.

Getting started – What can I do from home?

The best thing you can do to help yourself is to rest from aggravating loads – this may include avoiding repeated wrist, forearm or elbow movements. It is important not to avoid all upper limb movement as this may further decrease the ability of your tendon to load! When completing movement or exercise it is important to take note of your pain levels – if what you are doing is increasing your pain rating by more than 1/10 it is advisable to stop that activity/exercise where feasible.

Caution should be taken with stretching, as overstretching may further increase tension/load on tendon and influence the pain response – when stretching the extensor muscle group you should complete this with your elbow bent at 90 degrees and stop if pain persists. The use of ice (cryotherapy) may be of benefit in reducing the inflammatory response and assist in reducing the acutely painful elbow.

Exercises that may be beneficial in reducing pain and improving the overall function are outline below:

1. Isometric wrist extension

• Start in a seated position with your forearm resting on a table and your palm facing down.• Place your other hand on the back of your affected hand.
• Attempt to lift your affected wrist up, whilst resisting the movement with your good hand (Ensure you keep your forearm in contact with the table.)
• Hold this position for 10 seconds
• Repeat 10 times, 3 times through with a 60 second rest between sets.

2. Scapular retraction

• Start in a standing position with your arms by your side and palms facing backwards.
• Gently push your hands backwards and feel a gentle squeeze between your shoulder blades (Ensure you keep your shoulders away from your ears)
• Hold this position for 2 seconds and slowly return to starting position
• Repeat 10 times, 3 times through with a 60 second rest between sets.

We encourage you to consult a health care practitioner if your pain persists or for more personal advice and advanced care of tennis elbow.


3 Tips to Get You Started on Your Running Journey

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has changed our lives dramatically. It has stopped us from seeing friends and family, made us change our hygiene habits (maybe for the better?) and significantly changed our routines and day-to-day existence.

With gyms closed and outdoor activities limited, I wanted a easy, quick and affordable way to fit exercise into my day.

And so like that, I took up running!

Now I am no expert, that is one thing I am sure of, but I can definitely impart some tips and tricks that I have put in place to keep me motivated and committed to the cause, because to be honest, running in itself is pretty boring.

What keeps me coming back is the post-run endorphin hit that you get with any exercise, what a great way to start the day!

For all the beginner runners out there, this is what I have incorporated to keep me going.

Set Goals

Probably the easiest and most effective tip towards achieving your goals is to create them in the first place! Too many times I have seen clients and patients (and of course me personally!) start exercise classes or rehabilitation programs with vague and ambiguous end points.

“Get fit”, “get stronger”, “improve flexibility”, “increase my core strength” are some common ones that get bandied around. The problem with these is that they aren’t specific enough.

One great way to create clarity with goal setting is to use the S.M.A.R.T acronym. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-orientated. If we take running as our example to create a SMART goal, it might look something like this:

I want to run 21kms continuously, by the start of next year (6months time).

This goal is specific (21kms continuously), it is measurable (we can track progress via measuring Km’s ran), it is achievable (yours may be different based off your level of fitness/experience), it is relevant and has a date attached to it. From this we can work backwards and put a plan in place to reach this goal.

Track your progress

There is now an abundance of ways that we can do this with modern technology – from phone apps all the way up to top of the range wearable watches. If you are a beginner like me, using a phone app would be the best place to start. I have been using the RunKeeper app from Asics. It’s free and has all the features needed to give you the right amount of information and feedback.

Measuring and tracking your progress over time creates buy-in, tells you how you are tracking towards your goals and can create that little extra bit of incentive to stay with the process when the last thing you feel like doing is going out and exercising.

On the flip side, try not to get too bogged down on the day-to-day progress and running times/splits/Km’s ran. Being sick, tired, fatigued from work, dehydrated, stressed etc. are all factors that can influence your run. As long as the overall trend is a positive one, it’s ok to feel crappy from time to time.

Injury Prevention – Warm-up, work on your weaknesses & manage loads

Avoiding any significant disruptions or prolonged time-off from running is going give you the best chance at reaching your goals. As an Osteopath, I could write a whole blog post on this topic alone! (Maybe I will?).

Injury prevention doesn’t mean spending every other day in the gym or getting weekly massages – as nice as that may be!

There are a few simple strategies that you can do to limit your chance of getting hurt:


A 5-10minute warm-up prior to going for your run may help to limit the chance of an injury occurring in the first place or speed-up your recovery post-run. Your warm-up should consist of some flexibility-based and strength-based movements that target all the parts of the body that you will be using during the run. Common stretches and exercises in a warm include dynamic stretching (think leg swings, trunk twists etc.), strength-based exercises (squats, lunges, single leg exercises) and neuromuscular exercises (high knees, butt flicks, grapevines etc.).

Make your legs and trunk resilient and adaptable

Another way to prevent injuries from slowing you down is to build your bodies capacity to be resilient against running, this can be done by increasing the strength in your leg and trunk muscles. Going through a systematic and thorough musculoskeletal assessment with your trusted health professional will help identify areas of weakness and then will allow you to put in place strategies to adjust accordingly. At Peninsula Osteopathy & Allied Health, a common running assessment may include things like testing the range-of-motion and strength in your ankles, knees, hips and spine. From this we can then give you exercises and hands-on treatment to improve these deficits.

Manage your loads

I.e don’t do too much but don’t do too little. Maybe the biggest cause of injuries in any training program is increasing your loads too quickly. This is because your body doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the loads and stresses you are putting it under. Again, another topic that we could dive deeply into with various guidelines and protocols, but for beginner runners (like me) splitting your running program into 2 week blocks and not increasing your overall running load by more than approximately 10% each block can limit the chance of any flare-ups. A multitude of factors can contribute to overall ‘load’; running distance, speed, elevation and amount of rest can all be altered to make runs easier or more difficult. Tracking your progress via an app or watch gives you more data to make informed decisions and prevent any excessive fluctuations in load.

Should you have any questions or wish to know more about a warm-up or how to reduce your chance of injury during running, give the clinic a call to speak to one of our experienced Osteopaths, Myotherapists or Exercise Physiologists on 5253 2345.

Gearing up for summer sport!

It’s that time of year again! People all around our community are dusting off cricket bags and tennis racquets, ready for the long hot summer of sport!

Injuries in sports such as tennis and cricket are extremely common. So we thought we would give you some tips to help avoid injury this summer.

Warm Up!

This is perhaps the most over-looked aspect of sport over summer. Just because the weather is warm outside, does not mean that your muscles are warm and ready to play. Make sure you spend some time before the game to actively stretch and prepare yourself. This can go a long way to reducing soft-tissue injuries, and allows you to perform at your best!!

Stay hydrated!

At trainings and game day, it is vitally important that you are consuming enough water so that you can function to the best of your ability. In the heat, your body produces a large amount of sweat to cool you as you exercise. By making sure you consume plenty of water, you can help yourself in the prevention of soft tissue injuries, cramps and heat exhaustion.


Summer sports can be very taxing on your musculoskeletal system. It is vitally important that after a game or training session, you are taking all the necessary steps to ensure that you are ready to go next time you play. Be sure to perform some static stretching, use a foam roller, go for a walk in the pool or at the beach, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!

Keep training specific!

Sports such as tennis, golf and cricket include specific movements of the upper and lower extremities. Be sure that you are training for the movements that you will be performing on game day. For example, cricketers should be focusing on shoulder strength and flexibility, as well as rotation through the trunk as these make up a lot of the movements performed whilst playing. Tennis players should focus on knee and ankle stability, as well as forearm and grip strength training.

Remember, if you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to give PO+AH a call on 5253 2345 to see what an Osteopath, Myotherapist or Exercise Physiologist can do for you! We have appointments available 6 days a week at two convenient locations; Drysdale and Leopold.

Is your low back holding you back? Here’s how to manage it!

Managing your low back pain

Most of us have had some sort of low back pain before. From a minor ache and tightness that resolves in a couple of days to more intense, sharp pain that can take a little bit longer and be much more intimidating and frightening!

Regardless of the severity and the duration, there are a few things you can do to make sure that the pain doesn’t linger and affect your life anymore than it has to.

These are some tips we end up saying to the majority of people who present to us with various types of low back pain.

But of course, if there are more serious symptoms like pins and needles, numbness and weakness in your legs then it is important you seek a healthcare professionals opinion.

Keep moving and stay at work

This is probably the most important thing that you can do. Movement is the best medicine for any episode of low back pain. Go for gentle walks and do some gentle stretches. Keep that back moving. Also returning to work and if needed, returning with modified duties improves your chance of recovery and decreases how long your low back pain will hang around for. Some activities may need to be modified to make them easier for you to do and your healthcare professional can help you with this.

Use heat, not ice

A lot of confusion about whether to use heat or ice exists in the community. Of course it depends on the type of your back injury, but generally in acute back injuries or in back injuries that have lasted a long time there is unlikely to be much inflammation, so icing the affected area is unlikely to help. Using heat instead can help relax and decrease the tension in those tight back muscles and help you feel and move better.

Hands-on treatment can help

Your healthcare professional (osteopath etc.) can give you information on what is happening, why you are in pain, recognise if something more sinister is going on and educate you on what you should and shouldn’t do. They can also help relieve some of those aches and pains and give you stretches and exercises to help keep you moving.

Some medications may help, but try conservative treatment first

A great adjunct to movement and hands-on treatment is the addition of certain medications. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about what may be suitable for you, dependent on your past medical history and complaints. This may not be a long-term option so it is important that medication is used in conjunction with some of the other strategies we have mentioned above.

Stay positive

Above all else, stay positive. Most episodes of more acute low back pain settle within a few weeks and rarely have a longer lasting impact on your quality of life. Keep moving, modify a few things and let the body do its job. Our bodies are amazing at healing themselves and some things just take time.

For personalised advice regarding your low back pain come in and see one of the PO+AH team to help you on your recovery.

INJURY ALERT- Severs Disease

Children with sore heels?

Pain in the back of the foot after activities?

This is what we are hearing from a lot of our young patients at the moment.

Severs disease (calcaneal apophosytis) usually presents with pain at the back of the heel around the achilles (calf muscle) insertion.Children often also experience aching into these muscle and the sole of the foot.

This condition is diagnosed with physical examination (special tests and feeling structures of the foot), and sometimes imaging (ultrasound or MRI of the foot).

Whilst this condition is painful and frustrating (for active little humans) it is a self limiting condition meaning it will usually take 6-12 months to settle down, and is often manageable following the treatment approach below.

Treatment will include

– treating soft tissues to relieve tension
– mobilising structures (joints) of the lower limb especially the foot
– assessing activities and how we can modify them to decrease pain
– looking at footwear especially sporting and school shoes (ONLY THONGS OR SLIDES WITH IN BUILT SUPPORT!!)
– advice around exercise such as warm up well before the sport including stretching appropriate to the sport, ice for pain relief after sport, self massage to the leg and foot muscles, always wear correct footwear.

Often we will include other practitioners such as a podiatrist to assess the need for orthotics, or massage therapists to assist with muscle and soft tissue release or relaxing.

Some rest from some activities can help at times, your practitioner will advise of this. Usually once the right balance of exercise is found this conditions settles and sports can be resumed.

This condition is really common, especially as children move from their summer to winter sports. At this time often the increased exercise and physical demands on their growing body can result in this condition. As you can see, whilst it is frustrating and painful this condition is very manageable with the right advice and treatment.

If you think we can help you or someone you know with their foot pain feel free to contact the clinic on 52532345 or email the clinic info@peninsulaosteopathy.com.au.

Injury Prevention In Winter

Exercising and training in the colder months of the year isn’t easy. As the mercury dips often does our motivation to get moving and persist with the extra parts of exercise that keep us pain and injury free. There are just a few simple things for us to be reminded of to keep winter a pain free season.

Warm Up

As with any exercise, warming up is essential in the colder months. A warm up helps prepare the body for exercise and should consist of exercises related to the activity you are about to undertake. When it is cold outside it is important to remember to increase your warm up time as it may take a bit longer to get warm due to the low temperatures. It is not necessary to create a new warm up routine, just increase the duration to ensure your body is ready to exercise at its full potential.

Appropriate Clothing

To maintain the motivation for the chilly mornings it is important to be comfortable. If you are still running around in your shorts and singlets from summer, it’s time to invest in some more appropriate clothing. Wearing layers of clothing is the best way to go as it allows you remove jackets and jumpers as you begin to warm up and increase the intensity of exercise. This may also assist in the warm up stage of activity and increase your motivation to get out of your warm bed on those chilly winter mornings!


Just because it is cold doesn’t mean you reduce or stop your fluid intake. It is important to remember it is still possible to become dehydrated when it is cold. Although you may feel as though you aren’t sweating as much when it is cold, you will still be losing water through sweat and breathing during exercise. Remember that these lost fluids need to be replaced. Reduced fluid intake can lead to fatigue which often leads to poor technique, delayed recovery and ultimately injury.


As with any time of the year it is always paramount to allow your body to recover between exercise sessions. Failing to allow your body to recover will most likely prolong exercise related soreness and increase your risk of injury. If in doubt as to whether to use heat or cold packs always consult your practitioner for advice. In addition winter is also the cold and flu season so it is also important to give your body adequate rest to fight off any infections you may pick up along the way. There is no substitute for sleep when fighting off a cold or flu.

These are just a few very easy and simple things to consider as the months get a little colder! It is quite rewarding heading into summer fit and healthy and the best way for this to happen is to stay injury free in winter. Please give the clinic a call to see how we can help you stay injury-free this winter!

Ankle Sprains: 3 Exercises You Have To Do

The ankle sprain, one of the most common lower limb sporting injuries we see. Typically characterised by pain on the side of the ankle (outside usually, but can also occur on the inside), swelling, bruising and an altered gait. Most are the result of the person landing with the ankle rolled in or out.

Depending on the severity of the sprain also determines how long it will take for the ligaments to heal. On the lesser end of the spectrum, milder sprains generally take 2-3 weeks to heal whereas more severe sprains can take up to 6 weeks or more! It is important to get your ankle injury assessed by a healthcare professional so that you can get information on your particular case.

After the initial stages of the ankle injury, performing some basic rehabilitation exercises can shorten your recovery period and also lessen the chance of re-injuring your ankle.

Our Exercise Physiologist Jack and one of our Osteopaths Mitch have put together a few videos on some basic ankle rehab exercises you can do to help you return to your chosen sport sooner – click on the links below for some examples!

Ankle Mobility Exercises

Following and ankle sprain, range of motion in the ankle is generally lost, so it is important to regain this in order to decrease your risk of re-injury. Gentle range-of-motion exercises like the ones shown below should do the trick. Start by trying to bring your toes closer towards you, then try and point the toes away. Another great one is to start making mini-circles with your ankle and increase the size of the circle as tolerable.
Ankle mobility exercises

Improve Your Balance

Proprioception or balance is one of the first things we lose when spraining any ligament so this is another important aspect to address in rehabilitation. Progress from both legs to single leg (the side that is injured) as tolerable and add in some movement to make it even more challenging!
Single leg balance progressions

Get Some Strength Back

It’s highly likely that you’ve been hobbling around for a couple of weeks, so getting some strength back into the affected leg will again limit the chance of re-injury. Gentle isometric contractions (like pushing into the floor) and some heel raises can all help strengthening the muscles surrounding the lower leg.
Seated PF isometric and heel raise (ankle strengthening exercises)

Please contact the clinic to get your ankle assessed or if you require any further information.

5 Netball Training Tips To Avoid Injury This Preseason

It’s getting to that time of year where netball pre-season training is well and truly in full swing so we’ve put together 5 key factors to consider when preparing and planning for a successful season ahead.

1. Keep it specific

When preparing for netball it is vital to factor in key aspects of the game itself and mimic these within each session.

Netball is a high intensity, short sharp game requiring quick bursts of energy to make hard drives, take intercepts and change direction quickly. Therefore when planning your session it is necessary to incorporate some form of high-intensity interval work to get yourself and teammates in top shape for the season ahead.  

High-intensity interval work incorporates short periods of work followed by short periods of rest. A good example for netball may include 10 x 20m sprints with 10 seconds rest between each sprint. Doing this will improve endurance and the body’s ability to perform under stress/fatigue to get you over the line in those close games! Not to mention high-intensity interval training boosts metabolism and will have you burning calories long after your session has ended!

2. Hydration

It is likely that during your pre-season training you will be breaking a sweat quick smart, particularly as it is often during the hottest months of the year that we begin training, therefore hydration is essential!

Dehydration occurs when we inadequately replace fluids lost and can seriously affect your capacity to perform. When we are dehydrated our muscle function significantly decreases and we fatigue at a much quicker rate. This means that we are unable to put in maximal efforts and therefore will not enjoy the maximum benefits.

Hydration should begin before you begin exercising, maintained throughout exercise and continue post exercise to assist in recovery.

Water is sufficient to keep you hydrated but you may wish to utilise a sports drink with added electrolyte and sodium has added re-hydration benefits and may assist in recovery and hydration. When selecting a sports drink opt for a drink with low caffeine and sugars levels.

3. Knee strength & stability

Did you know that during running and jumping movements the knee joint can experience forces up to 10 times your body weight?

This brings me to the next point of incorporating specific exercises that load the knee joint to enhance strength and stability and minimise risks of nasty season-ending injuries such as ACL & PCL tears. This should include exercises such as lunges, squats & burpee’s.

When incorporating these exercises it is important to begin simply and slowly progress the exercise to gradually load the joint. Where possible try to do a mix of double and single legged versions of the exercise and integrate the use of weights and resistance to assist in reducing muscle imbalances side to side! See below for squat variations.

4. Ankle stability & proprioception

One of the most common injuries we see with Netball is ankle sprains, and so it goes without saying that improving ankle stability pre-season may just be a netballers best friend!

Proprioception is a term that describes the body’s awareness of joint position and movement. In netball this plays a vital role in preventing ankle injuries during fast-paced change of directions, jumping and landing. Performing single legged exercises such as calf raises, side to side to jumps and forward jumping to a single leg landing is a great and easy way to enhance your proprioception. This combined with fast-paced agility exercise will have your ankles ready for the season ahead in no time!

5. Recovery

Perhaps one of the most important factors to consider with pre-season is recovery.

Adopting an effective recovery regime will assist your muscles to repair quicker, reduce pain from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and have you feeling eager and ready to go for your next session.

Effective recovery includes static stretching post exercise and adequate nutrition.

For many of us pre-season marks a sudden and often significant increase in physical activity and there a few additional things you can do to help reduce DOMS. These include the use of a high-quality magnesium spray or powder may assist in reducing muscle aches and cramping post exercise, foam rolling/self-massage and gentle walking in the ocean/pool.


Finally, it is important to listen to what your body is telling you during the preseason. Aches and pains often serve as a protective mechanism to the body and act as an alarm to tell us that the body does not like the way we are doing something. It is important to remember that it is not uncommon to experience muscle soreness for 1-2 days post-exercise.

If you are concerned about lingering aches/pains or would like some specific advice throughout your preseason campaign feel free to contact our friendly reception staff and book in to see one of our qualified health professionals!