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Keeping fit: 5 of the best cardio exercises for Aussie rules players

Any Aussie rules player will tell you: keeping your cardio fitness at an optimal level is just as important as knowing the skills of the game. Sure, you can kick, handpass and mark, but what good will any of these be if you can only apply them to one quarter?

It sounds harsh, but if you are unable to play out a full contest then there’s a chance you won’t be selected come gameday. Any AFL shop online has great merchandise for practising your skills, but here are some cardio workouts you can do so that you can use that equipment for the full four quarters:

1. Oval laps

Oval laps are always the first workout of any Aussie rules training session. They are an awesome way to warm up for the session whilst working your long distance running abilities.

A great way to start your Aussie rules cardio routine is to do a couple of laps around your local oval: it will warm up your muscles, get your heart going and work on some of that much-needed endurance.

2. Shuttle runs

Aussie rules is a sport that requires a lot of agility to move quickly and turn fast when required (which is very, very often). One of the best ways to work on your explosive pace is through shuttle runs.

You probably did similar exercises at school such as the beep test, and it truly is one of the best ways to work on that quick pace fitness. All you have to do is set up two markers around 20 metres apart.

Run as fast as you can from marker to marker, repeating the process around six times. After a couple of weeks of shuttle running, you should see your agility and explosive pace improve like never before!

3. Skipping rope

The legendary skipping rope has never gone out of fashion. Why? Because it is an ultimate cardio workout that forces you to keep moving despite your body wanting you to stop.

Not only is it great for cardio, but skipping also has the ability to strengthen your calf muscles (great for that necessary pace) whilst working your arms and tendons.

4. Jumping jacks

Another legendary drill that works your muscles, heart and lungs in the one exercise. Jumping jacks are a full body workout; they might seem pretty rudimentary at first, but after a good few minutes of jumping jacks you will start to see why they are still a preferred cardio exercise for athletes the world over.

5. Burpees

Burpees can be really intense, but for that very reason you know you’re giving your body a seriously good workout. Burpees work your arms, pectorals, core and legs, whilst providing an intense cardio workout that will set you up for all other forms of cardio performance.

Start in the standing position before jumping high and lifting your arms up at the same time. On your way down put your body in a pushup position, completing the required pushup.

Repeat the fitness process and you will find yourself doing an outstanding cardio/strength workout that is a winner the world over.

Get these in your routine

The above-listed form a comprehensive, versatile cardio/body workout that, when added to your overall training routine, will make you a well-rounded player that will be a standout to the coaches and on the field.

Cardio should never be overlooked: it is imperative to your overall game and should be part of every one of your Aussie rules training sessions!

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