Melissa here, reporting in from Penang, Malaysia!
This past month I’ve had the privilege of touring around various tournaments in Southeast Asia. I’ve hit up Manila Spirits, Penang Hat, the Bandar Open and am now on my way to Vietnam Hat.
While in Penang, Malaysia, I caught up with some UAP members and led a Tuesday training session with The Islanders, their club team. We had a lot of fun, so I thought I’d share our workout (and the theory behind it) with you.
Tuesday evening training sessions here are two hours long. The overall team workout plan looked like this. There were a few minutes transition time for water and questions between sections.
8-8:10 Arrival, chat, put on cleats
8:10-8:20 Warm up
8:20 – 8:35 Core circuit
8:35-8:45 Explanation of Speed, Agility, Quickness (SAQ) theory of the day.
8:45 – 9:20 SAQ drills.
9:50-10:00 Wrap up, reflection, questions
8:10-8:20 The Warm Up
I think of the warm up in three parts: physical movement, mobility and dynamic movements, and nervous system movements . Because we were doing a core circuit at the beginning, we started off with the first two pieces of the routine, physical and dynamic movements. We reserved the nervous system part of the warm up for right before the Speed, Agility, Quickness (SAQ) drills.
There are a million ways to do a dynamic warm up. Here is a simple team warm up you can start with and note there are no laps around the field and no static stretching.
8:20-8:35 Core Circuit
Each exercise was done with no rest in between. We went through this circuit 3 times
Six steps to the left, six steps to the right, repeat on both sides = one reptitition
6 on each side
Cook Hip Lifts
6 on each side with a 2 second hold at the top
8:45 – 9:20 Speed, Agility Quickness (SAQ) drills
For this section, players were in groups of give. This means they get four rest periods for each increment of work. This ensures high intensity, high quality repetitions.
A note on SAQ: Players often tell me SAQ drills don’t feel like a lot of work, or that there’s too much rest in between sets. These movements are designed to train more complex movements, and the long rest ensures that players can recruit all the right muscles to do the work. If this type of training is new for you and your team, obey the rest periods.
Forward frog jumps (4X6)
Gallop 2X6 (each leg)
Lean fall run (4 reps)
Bent over lean fall run (4 reps)
Three point start (6 reps)
Every two reps I tweaked form and focused on a different coaching cue or element of form.
Players remained in groups of five. This means they get four rest periods for each increment of work. This ensures high intensity, high quality repetitions. If you’re planning workouts during the course of a season, it’s simple to adjust the rest-to-work ratio by adjusting the number of players per group.
160 shuttle runs X4
Across the field and back, twice = 1 rep
Rest two minutes.
Zigzag prints X2
The Islanders have been using SAQ and Conditioning modules from The Ultimate Athlete Project in their training sessions once per week. One of the most notable changes: fewer cramps at tournaments!
If you’d like to try some of these exercises or workouts with your team, sign up for my free Six Week Speed, Agility, and Conditioning program. The program is meant to be by individuals outside of practice but you can use the drills and ideas to create a workout for your team.
I’ve noticed that muscle cramps are at tournaments throughout Southeast Asia. The heat surely plays a factor. But I think it’s problematic that players have come to see muscle cramps at tournaments as a normal part of the game.
Some individuals are more prone to cramping than others. If this describes you, don’t accept this as a normal part of your tournament experience! There are several things you can try to make cramping less likely.
- Drink more fluids.
- Drink more electrolytes. Perhaps you already are drinking enough liquid. On hot days, when you sweat more, electrolytes become much more important. I was glad to see Gatorade offered as an option at Manila Spirits.
- Three words: eat the bananas. Good source of potassium and carbohydrate.
- Speaking of food: eat smaller meals and more frequently. In tournaments in the US, there’s no such thing as a lunch break. This forces us to learn to snack throughout the day rather than consuming a large amount of food at once. If you’re prone to cramping, you might consider eating only half of your lunch. You can also try snacking on your lunch throughout the afternoon rather than eating it all at once. Food in the stomach also requires liquid in order to digest it. To make sure the liquid you drink is making it into your body instead of sitting in the stomach, you don’t want a large amount of food in the stomach at any one time. Also realize that it takes several hours for carbohydrates to make it from your stomach, through the digestive system, into your muscles as glycogen (for energy!). What you snack on at 10AM helps at 2PM.
This journey through Southeast Asia is just one part of my quest to visit each of the WFDF member countries. I love meeting new players, UAP members, and making new connections in the international ultimate community.
Correction: an earlier version of this article’s title communicated that the author had visited Singapore. The title has been adjusted.