Train Like An Athlete With AFL Footballer Chris Mayne
To be in the league for almost 15 years with over 250 games played, you need a competitive edge. We continue our ‘Train Like An Athlete’ series with recently retired footballer Chris Mayne, where he shares his off-season training with insights into his weekly routine, his favourite equipment, sample workouts, and reveals how having a home gym changed his training.
Training in Lockdown
The COVID-19 pandemic in Australia has caused frequent lockdowns and gym closures. As a result, during the last AFL off-season, players needed to find alternative ways to train. For AFL player Chris Mayne, this meant a full home gym set up in his garage supplied by Orbit fitness.
Even after the lockdown ended, Mayne found himself exclusively using his home gym set up, which allowed him to train more than he ever did in the gym.
A Standard Week In Off-Season
Training never stops when you're an AFL footballer. Before pre-season, players must keep up their fitness with regular training and a larger focus on strength and conditioning.
For Mayne, this is two sessions per day for 1.5 hours each session on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, he will do a 1 x 1.5-hour session - intense right? And this is all before pre-season during their “time off”!
Warm-up & Post Workout Recovery
Warm-up before your workout and recovery afterwards is essential in reducing soreness and potential injuries. Mayne is not someone who skimps on recovery, “Before every session, especially the running ones, I do a 10-minute Vinyasa yoga routine”. He then follows up his workout with foam rolling and a trigger point massage ball to target sore areas around the hips. On top of this, Mayne sees a physiotherapist once every fortnight.
Favourite Training Styles
Mayne has been mixing a variety of training styles this off-season, combining strength, power and running. At the beginning of the off-season, he hired a running coach and has started to incorporate functional exercises into his sessions as well as strength training. “To be able to do running, power, strength and then incorporating weights into that I’ve seen some improvements and gains that make me excited to get back into pre-season,” Mayne said.
Most Used Equipment
“I have come into this a bit blind with the equipment,” Mayne admits. While in the system for years and experienced with most standard equipment, Mayne was challenged in a good way when trying out some of the new equipment we supplied like the Airforce 300 Pro Air Bike. “Getting the Airforce bike and having the 20 cal challenge has been something I’ve thoroughly loved and have seen progression in”.
Throughout the interview, Mayne talks about adapting the equipment to create new routines in order to keep things interesting and challenging. This included creating a circuit incorporating his new air bike and Ergo 6.0 Self Generating Air Rower. Try his Air Bike & Rower Circuit if you’re up for a challenge!
- 10 calorie burn on bike / 10 seconds off
- 10 calorie burn on bike / 15 seconds off
- Switch to rower within that 15 seconds rest
- 100m within 20 seconds on rower / 10 seconds off
- 100m within 20 seconds on rower
- 1-minute rest
- Repeat 3 times
Try Mayne’s outdoor workout incorporating all three pieces.
- Mark out the start and finish of the course on some lawn. Mayne does this course uphill, so if you’re up for the challenge find a grassed area with a slight hill.
- Perform 3 to 4 bear crawls then pull the power bag through, alternating arms after each set of bear crawls until you get to the finish line.
- Next, get a medicine ball and hold it above your head and walk lunge back to the start.
- Finish the set with a slam ball, slam it down into a burpee 10 times.
Repeat the three exercises above 4 times.
When talking about weight equipment, Mayne admitted he’d previously “never been a huge weights person” and has gone through periods where he has used weights in his training more than others. However, now with having a garage stocked with weights for the first time in his life he has been using them more. “This time, having weights on hand 24/7, I’ve really dived into a lot of weights. Monday and Friday, the bookends, I would be doing my deadlifts, either straight up deadlift or sumo deadlift and be looking at getting more strength and loads up.”
Mayne observes that most of his sessions are aimed at improving functional movement, with lower weights and higher reps. “Funny enough I prefer using the kettlebells, dumbbells, power bags, slam balls and stuff like that for all different types of functional movements using weights.”
Just like the average person, Mayne looks online for workout inspiration. To mix up his workouts and keep things interesting Mayne says “It’s a lot of YouTubing, a lot of work with my trainers, and putting together little things I like having a crack at.”
The night before a session, Mayne will search for different exercises and incorporate ones he likes. He uses a whiteboard to list exercises for the session, “We normally write down 17 and the last 3 are based on pure core.”
Mayne teaches us that even AFL footballers have their limits “I remember the first time we started writing the exercises on the whiteboard with the weights recommended, but I couldn’t execute that exercise correctly and safely so I had to adjust the weights.” A great reminder that it’s always safer to use lower weight and execute the exercise properly than give yourself an injury.
Home Gyms - YAY or Nay
Accustomed to training in a gym environment, we were keen to know Mayne’s thoughts on the effectiveness of home gyms now that he has experienced his own. “‘Without the home gym, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now going into pre-season…I wish I’d thought of this years ago, the benefit it would have had for me, but you live and you learn.”
A common complaint made by gym-goers when COVID-19 forced them home, was that it was difficult to stay motivated as there are so many distractions at home. We asked Mayne if he struggled to get into the zone working out from home and he said it wasn’t a problem. “Having a garage or a room you can put yourself in, put your music on and you’ll be fine”. In fact, Mayne argued that gyms could sometimes negatively impact your workout. “The fact that you have to go to the gym, you have to do the commute, you get in and people are always on the equipment you want, which is all time-consuming.”
Train Like Chris Mayne
We decked out Mayne’s home gym with the full Orbit Airforce range and our SPART Commercial Grade equipment. So you can get the same set up at home and train with the same quality equipment professional athletes train with, we’ve provided the full list below.
Find the full list of equipment below: