The 12-week gym programme that every GAA player should be doing before championship
Gym work alone isn't worth diddly squat to a GAA player.
If you can't rise the ball, what good is a set of bulging biceps to you?
But if you're putting in the practice and doing everything you can to master the technical skills of the game alongsides, well then that's when the gym work cuts the mustard.
You won't kick or puck weights over the bar as they always say, but you can use them and your gym programme to protect your body from injuries and to improve your movement and flexibility. All of which will improve your game-day performance.
So it goes like this.
In pre-season, most GAA teams in this day and age will have a gym programme to follow. Players often lift it out of it in the first few weeks, all plans and goals for the year ahead. But then as training gets more intense and the championship nears, it's from one extreme to the other with the dumbbells downed for footballs or sliotars.
It happens all over the country. The programme is sacrificed and forgotten about and then on the rare occasion when players do make it into the gym mid-season, they're using the same work-out routines they'd used in the pre-season.
Then they're maintaining rather than improving.
So in order to help GAA players strike a more consistent note with their gym work, we asked Aidan O'Mahoney of AOM Fitness and David Fogarty of House Fitness Birr on the best way for players to tailor their S and C work around the GAA season.
Both men were singing off the same hymn sheet, breaking the gym calendar into three different seasons.
"From our side of it, a strength and conditioning side - you have your three phases. You’ve your pre-season where you’re doing hypertrophy. Then you’ve your strength where you’re training hard and you’re looking at the power in the body. Then you’ve your power which you’re doing around championship time - the reps and the sets might go down and it’s all explosive work," said Paddy Power news columnist O'Mahony.
Hypertrophy (First four weeks of pre-season phase)
Almost like laying the foundations.
Like in all of the phases, players will be targeting the compound movements and lifts i.e your squats, pull-ups, dead lifts and bench-press.
In the hyper-trophy phase, participants will be doing between 3/4 sets of 8-12 reps. The main focus is to build a solid base and to increase overall strength.
Weight being lifted: You're lifting 75-85% of your one rep max here.
Strength (Next four weeks)
For the strength phase, the number of reps are reduced from 8-12 to 3-5. It's still 3/4 sets.
It's a more intense, explosive work-out. Players will more than likely be in the midst of tough running and training at this stage, so this workout is designed not to cause as much of a strain on the body as during the Hypertrophy phase.
Power (Championship season gym-work)
The games are coming thick and fast, players should not be forgetting about the gym though. Reps and sets are reduced and to 2 X 1-3 reps and it's all about explosiveness and fast movement of the bar in the exercises.
Weight being lifted: You're lifting 85-100% of your one rep max here.
Fogarty also recommends the implementation of a boxing programme during this phase at the end of sessions.
"This phase is all about building explosive power. If you look at the Limerick hurlers last year, they had boxing in their programme, a lot of them at the end of the season put it down to their increased power at the end of the season.
"It's an enjoyable session and we always add it in at the end of a session, It's a fast, high-intensity workout..."