At AXSOM, when we register a new athlete or client for programming, one of the first things we require is a movement assessment. This is no different with our online clients, in fact, when combined with a coach-athlete dialogue and our on-boarding questionnaires, we have found our digital movement pattern assessment to be just as effective as our in-person screening. With this option, an athlete simply follows a step by step process of performing basic movement patterns, usually right from their home. Each movement is recorded & uploaded easily from a mobile device, all from within our online portal. This process allows our coaching staff to carefully assess each pattern for compensations, restrictions and limitations, and to make purposeful & precise training decisions.
We often get asked why we make this a compulsory step of our on-boarding process, so here are our main reasons why;


The most important reason we screen our athletes before assigning a program, is that we always want to determine if pain exists in any specific movement pattern, or if there is an underlying issue or injury that may be exacerbated with certain exercise variations or training methods. We use a simple “yes/no” pain questionnaire for each movement, in addition to four specific clearance tests that cover upper and lower extremities.


The second reason we screen our athletes is that we want to pinpoint any movement compensations that are likely to surface during resistance training and which may contribute to an increase in risk of injury or a decrease in performance. In order to accurately determine the cause of a compensation, often a number of steps are required. For example, an athlete who demonstrates a squat or lunge pattern which suggests dominance of the anterior musculature of the legs (quadriceps) over the posterior groups (glutes & hamstrings), may in fact simply have an ankle mobility restriction which is causing the suboptimal pattern. This is one of a few factors which may contribute. Throughout the screening process, potential causes of movement dysfunction can be more accurately confirmed or rejected until the root issues/s are identified.


While it is common for athletes to have strength imbalances, for example between left & right, it is also a risk factor for injury and if left unchecked during program design may well be magnified with inappropriate exercise selection. Often the asymmetry will have occurred as a result of a previous injury, and the athlete will not have any awareness to the extent of the discrepancy. Identifying the muscle groups involved & addressing through specific single limb training is often the best method of improvement.


At AXSOM, we have prerequisites for all advanced strength & power movements. Most specifically for plyometrics, squatting & deadlifting patterns as these exercises are often where athletes place themselves at most risk. A simple example of this, using a deadlift, is that unless a toe-touch, a score of 2 on our straight leg raise test and competency score of 3 during the hip hinge pattern are shown in the movement assessment, a variation or an alternative exercise will be assigned.


For all of the reasons identified above, a movement assessment is essential to program optimally and safely for any athlete. This simple yet powerful practice can shape an entire training plan. Exercise variations, intensity, the choice of warm-up routine and the integrated correctives are all established from information obtained during the screening and on-boarding process.

Blood Flow Restriction Training

Blood Flow Restriction Training

Restriction to blood flow first emerged as a form of exercise training with Japanese bodybuilders in 1995, but is now more commonly referred to as Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training.  Over the past 3-4 years, BFR training has exploded in popularity amongst strength coaches and physiotherapists alike. Early research identified the capability of BFR to stimulate hypertrophy and strength gains when combined with low-load resistance training but there was a distinct lack of research on how this was happening.  

read more
Field Sport Conditioning

Field Sport Conditioning

As teams across the country are forced to suspend all collective training, we thought we would help out with a sample session that can be completed individually and modified to suit!
This session includes work in all energy systems to maximise transfer to your sport.
Give it a go and pass it along to your team mates if you think they would benefit. Feel free to get in touch with any questions!

read more
Repetition Tempo

Repetition Tempo

Tempo is a training variable equal in importance to reps and sets. This programming tool allows coaches to target specific adaptations in an athletes programme and is a key component of a training plan. Essentially, in resistance training, tempo refers to the speed that an exercise is performed. The tempo that each rep is performed at will dictate the total time under tension (TUT) for any given set, and this component is one of the major keys to achieving the desired training response.

read more

Psychological Resilience in Sport

Think of the physical preparation that goes into an athletes performance; nutrition, sleep, strength training, recovery, rehabilitation are just a few. Ask, is mental performance receiving the adequate amount of time and dedication that it should be in comparison to the physical preparation, and if not, why?

Movement Skills – Acceleration

There are many elements to enhancing speed, no one training method holds the key. Rather it is a combination of components that result in greatest improvements. For example, developing specific strength qualities, is one of the most effective ways to increase the power necessary for maximal sprinting. However unless an athlete first focuses on movement, and in turn movement skills, they may struggle to maximise the results from their efforts in other areas.

Movement Prep

The purpose of any physical preparation routine should be to optimise performance in the upcoming session or competition, while decreasing the risk of injury.
Traditional warm-ups have typically included light aerobic movement followed by static stretching, and while this approach is successful in raising body temperature, it does not contribute significantly towards reducing injury risk, and certainly not towards optimising performance.

Pre-Season in Gaelic Games

We are at that time of year where a lot of teams are returning to training for the season ahead. Of course, most will have different league and championship calendars and will go about their preparation for each competition in various ways. Some will begin with gym sessions only, some will opt for field sessions only, and some will choose a combination of both. Some may even decide to give their players another few weeks before returning to any form of training.

Fuel Your Performance

At AXSOM, we believe that the process of eating should be viewed simply as fuelling the body. In the same way that a high performance car needs clean fuel to perform to the highest level, the body needs clean fuel to be at its most efficient and effective. We fuel to train, fuel to recover, and fuel to compete. This is applicable in all areas of life, not just with regards to competitive athletes. With nutrition, you are not only fueling the body, but the mind too, as food provides energy for our brain as well as our bodies.

Training Variables – Part 3

As is the case when determining the optimal reps and tempo, the training objective also dictates another important variable – the number of sets.
In general, the higher the number of repetitions, the less sets that are required to achieve the optimal volume. Conversely, the lower the number of repetitions being performed, the more sets that are needed. There are of course exceptions to this, but to illustrate how training objective will most typically influence the number of sets performed we will take two examples for comparison..