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The Power of Strength Testing for Footy

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Strength testing plays an important role in an AFL Training Program, particularly in the off/pre-season to help get you bigger, stronger and more resilient to injuries for when the season comes around.

In this blog we will cover the following to help you measure your strength:

  • Why you should do it

  • The best tests & how to do them

  • Realistic results you can expect to achieve


All through my football career I have performed strength testing. Whether that was muscular endurance tests through push ups or pull-ups with state under 16's or bench press testing for 1 repetition maxes (1RM) with the GWS Giants. I have always performed and understood the importance of it. I want to share with you what I do within my AFL Training Program to help local footballers like you get elite-level results.

The Power of Strength Testing - Why you should do it

Strength testing is integral to an AFL training program as it allows you to prescribe loads based off your 1 Repetition Max (1RM).

My 1RM for Trap Bar Deadlifts is 190kg. I can prescribe a percentage of 190kg to create a program with the goal to increase my strength and muscle mass. For example:

  • 8-10 reps at 70% of my 1RM = 133kg

  • 4-6 reps at 85% of my 1RM = 161.5kg

  • 2-4 reps at 90% of my 1RM= 171kg

Using a percentage of my 1RM I can gradually increase my loads through different rep ranges and then when I re-test I can hopefully hit a new personal best of say, around 105% = 200kg

Testing is a great way to see where you are currently at strength-wise, set a goal, prescribe loads to achieve that goal and stay motivated to reach it. When you follow a structured plan and hit your goals you feel a sense of accomplishment that makes you motivated to push even harder! Watch the below for some insights into bench press testing (and see what my 1RM is):

The Best Tests & How to Do Them

While there are many tests you can do, I like to perform test that benefit your program as a footy player. That's why in my AFL Training Program we measure the following:

  • Muscular Strength

    • 1RM Bench Press

    • 1RM Back Squat

    • 1RM Trap Bar Deadlifts

  • Muscular Endurance

    • Max Push-Ups

    • Max Pull-Ups

  • Muscular Power

    • Broad Jump

These tests are relatively simple to perform and help to prescribe loads for the remainder of the program for each individual. Watch below for some tips and tricks for squat and deadlift testing:

Results You Can Expect to Achieve

While everyone is different and will achieve different results depending on the level of the training and what they do in their program; increases of 5-10% after an 8-week period are realistic improvements that you should be proud of.

Below are the testing results of a local footballer just like you who has achieved great things in just 8 weeks while working his job and living a busy life.

Cullen is 25 years of age and wanted to improve all aspects of his training as efficiently as possible... But being pretty new to footy and having a shoulder reco at the end of the 2022 season he wasn't sure of the best way to go about it... So he joined my AFL Training Program after seeing my stuff on TikTok!

Now just 8 -weeks later he has increased his:

  • Bench Press by 9% (from 110 to 120kg)

  • Trap Bar Deadlift by a whopping 15% (140kg to 170kg)

  • And his Pull-ups and Push ups by a staggering 38% & 22%, respectively.

And he did this while completing just 78% of the program within those 8 weeks - when you do an efficient program you get epic results!

Here is his testimony: "Just starting my third block in the footy/fitness programme under Josh. Really enjoying it and getting a lot out of it. Already seeing improvements and results. Would highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to improve there footy or fitness. I find it really easily to follow and well thought of, takes any of the guess work and thinking out that you’d normally have to do if you were trying to do this yourself ."

Joining my AFL Training Program you will get:

  • Expert coaching tailored to individual goals.

  • Structured training programming.

  • A supportive community of like-minded players

What You Can Do

So you've got until March/April until the season starts again. That's a lot of time to make significant improvements in your strength to be stronger in the contests, take hits, shrug tackles and reduce your risk of injury. Start by objectively measuring where you are currently at through strength testing, create a program that will get you where you want to be, and then push yourself to get stronger. But don't get too caught up with the end results... enjoy the process of it all and make it a part of your lifestyle. The results come easier that way. If you want some guidance with your strength training click the button below to learn more about my AFL Training Program

The Kicking Consultant aka Josh Growden is a High Performance Manager & expert kicking coach, making elite-level coaching accessible and affordable to all - not just the professionals. He holds a Masters degree in High Performance Sport from the University of Technology Sydney, and a Bachelors degree in Sports Science from Louisiana State University. He played for the GWS Giants when they first entered the AFL and then became a punter for American Football where he played in front of 100,000 people weekly!

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