2016 Athlete Development Program Breakdown


This is the 4th year of our coveted Athlete Development Program. The idea behind this program is to get participants training in a format similar to that performed by athletes during the competitive season. Even if you are not a sports fan, most of us have a huge appreciation for an athlete’s dedication to their training regimen, week in week out, and appreciate the incredible genes they have been blessed with. Nothing pleases me more than seeing what the 1% of humanity is able to achieve in competition against each other (excluding unfortunately, the growing number of drug cheats, which is a topic of another discussion).

Seeing as I am somewhat of a failed athlete myself, I did find that the culture of training amongst fellow athletes was where I was at my physical best and it is this background that spawned this specific training program. While I know most of us aren’t athletes and most wouldn’t want to be (unless we were paid what they were), I do think that most of us wouldn’t mind looking like they do…well, with the exception of George Rose (the specimen that he is).

george rose

The whole idea for this program was to battle the inevitable winter bulge. After 12 years of getting up at 4:30am, I know too well how hard the mornings are at this time of year and how easy it is to get off track with training. It seems that the more clothing we are able to wear in combating the ‘polar vortices’ provides the impetus to hide the ever increasing body fat that spreads quicker than Superman making sandwiches. By attacking the problem head on in a supportive and fun team format, we can avoid the default position so often taken by my wife, namely ‘that’s future Kristine’s problem.’

As such, I have developed a group clinic training program in order to reduce the impact of this ‘hibernation’ mentality and provide something different to the usual routine of training at the gym and eating right (or attempting to, as the case may be). I wanted to do something that got us outside, something that got us doing things we have never done before or, if we have done this sort of training before, something that we probably haven’t done it enough of lately.

What is it?

The program will consist of:

  • Resistance programs that mimic in-season regimes of professional teams (with due regard to competency);
  • Speed work – working on running technique, acceleration drills and top end speed work using a variety of equipment not usually seen in the gym;
  • Agility and change of direction work – ladder work, cognitive change of direction drills, deceleration work;
  • Power work – plyometrics (or jumping), hurdle work, repeated jumping work, landing mechanics work; and
  • Conditioning – from repeated sprint work, to wrestling (remarkably metabolically demanding), up and down movements and lateral movements, all coupled with complex task drills and games.

Why are we doing this?

These training methods enable us to get faster, stronger, more efficient and most importantly, leaner. To increase any of these attributes, we are required to reduce our body fat, as it stands to reason that the more we carry, the harder it is to perform (just ask Gorgeous George over there). The high metabolic cost of these particular methods, coupled with the variety of new movement patterns, provides for an incredibly efficient reduction of body fat over a short period; however, this will not be without some element of discomfort, so prepare to be sore.

The set up and dates

I have attempted to improve each version of this program over the years based on the learnings of the previous. I would be lying if I said that we haven’t had our fair share of soft tissue injuries throughout the program’s inception to date, predominantly due to the fact that participants haven’t been subject to all out sprints, speed work and agility in years, indeed if at all. Considering that most of us are in a desk and chair for the day, walking around like Monty Burns thereafter, it is hard to expect anyone to have the efficient running technique of Sally Pearson.

As such, this year I have changed the format, moving from testing at the commencement (without the requisite base in speed work) to an NFL Combine-like approach. So starting next week, the 16 of May, participants will embark on a specific training regime with the ultimate goal being to compete in a multi-disciplined challenge at the conclusion of the program, with the benefit of an all-round team atmosphere.

Inclusions and cost

You will get:

  • Two group strength sessions a week (performed with your fellow team members);
  • All-round group session (with all three teams training together) focusing on agility, speed and conditioning work, held each Saturday at 8:30am for the duration of the program (6 weeks);
  • Membership to Hammer Athletic and access to all classes and open gym times (if you aren’t already a member);
  • Access to our online nutrition information;
  • Free water and coconut water at every Saturday session and on Final Challenge day; and
  • The coach of your team has the freedom to add extra sessions during the week at no cost to you (to attempt to get that competitive edge).

This will cost:

  • $130 a week; or
  • If you have already pay for one, two or three a week PT sessions with a membership it is just the difference. For example – if you pay $108 for two group strength sessions and a class membership you pay an extra $12 dollars for the additional features offered above.


The program will culminate on Saturday 25 June, where from 8:30am till roughly 10.30am, the Final Challenge events will take place and the champions will be crowned (based on points scoring system weighted across the respective events). A lunch and drink at our local, the Shaftson Hotel, will follow with the champions being shouted by their vanquished foes.

The Final Challenge events cover every aspect of fitness: from conditioning, strength, speed and change of direction. The day’s events include:

  1. Reactive change of direction (agility);
  2. Change of direction – Illinois test;
  3. Speed -40m sprint;
  4. Timed group energy system training session;
  5. Aerobic test – O’neil test (Rower);
  6. Muscular endurance test – total reps, over 2 minutes, of squats (at 80% of body weight) and bench press (at 60% body weight);
  7. Power tests – vertical jump and med ball throws;
  8. Anaerobic tests – 30sec Airdyne test (based on cal per kg); and
  9. Bonus power tests – a trainer’s only clean and jerk test where the relative score wins extra 5 points for team.

The scoring system will consist of the following: 3 points for the win, 1 point for second and 0 points for the loss. Obviously, the team with most points at the end being will be crowned the ADP Champions (a trophy will be provided and has to sit next to the ‘Sign in Ipad’ for 12 months with the team’s name on it; the respect or hatred of your fellow competitors is added incentive to the victory).

As an additional measure of overall achievement (and to ensure that we aren’t guessing with our progress), skinfolds will be taken at the beginning and end of ADP; however, these results will not be involved in the scoring system but will ultimately reflect our commitment to the program.

Team Selection

Will we allocate the teams as follows:

  • If you already train with a coach twice a week, you are automatically on that coaches’ team;
  • If you train with more than one coach, it will be decided on numbers (and overall fairness) as to which team you will be allocated;
  • Interestingly, the coach to which you are allocated has complete control of what resistance program (weights) you perform. It is completely up to your coach on how you train, how many times a week and the type of training. With every coach adopting a different approach, there are sure to be some interesting results.

Fines and Penalties

As is the custom each year, there will be a fine and penalty system, with the results of such placed into a kitty that will contribute to break-up at the Shaftson. This doesn’t go into the Hammer coffers as some elaborate Ponzi scheme; in fact, Hammer will match the kitty to provide drinks during the break up lunch.

Penalties and fines are to be imposed for the following:

  • $1 fine, accumulated per minute of lateness, for anyone that attends late to a Saturday session (max $5);
  • Non-attendance at a Saturday session without prior notice or adequate excuses – that’s a paddling. No wait, it’s a $5 penalty;
  • Muppet of the week costume – awarded to a participant based on a vote from the three coaches, this costume has to be worn during warm up on Saturday session. Importantly, failure to wear the MoW costume is a $50 penalty; and
  • The two losing teams will pay $10 each into the kitty in order for the winning team to eat and have drink for free at the Shaftson, post competition.

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