It is far to common for GAA players to stop doing s+c when in season but for the love of god don’t stop doing it when your In-Season, it is very, very easy and important to maintain a decent level of strength. There is no point putting all that time and effort into off and pre-season training only to let all that strength fall off because you’re doing nothing to maintain it.

Doing one s+c session per week is enough, the aim here is to hang onto roughly 90% of top end strength and this is what I do with my players;

When you have a match every other week this works out perfectly as it did with the individuals that I tested in the tables below for 14 weeks .

In an ideal situation I think we could hang onto very close to 100% top end strength with a little bit of added barbell work on game week and a second s+c session on non game week, but is that necessary or even needed? I really don’t think so. 

If you can hang onto 90% of top end strength that should be more than enough once you’ve put the work into your off-season and actually gotten strong that is. Remember that when in-season nothing is more important than doing sports practice so doing 1 light s+c session per week to maintain around 90% of top end strength is plenty. 

We all need to remember that GAA players are not paid professional players, most have full time jobs or are in full time education and/or have family commitments on top of 3-4 training sessions per week. We can’t just keep adding more to that already busy schedule. 

I’ve seen a lot of articles from world class coaches out there that call for 2 s+c sessions a week when in season, remember when reading these articles that they are often written with the professional athlete in mind whose job is to perform, train and recover in between, they are not written with the GAA players schedule and pay-scale(or lack there of) in mind.

With all that said our In-Season training looks something like this;

Game week                                                       Non game week                                                    

  1. Goblet squats: 3×10                                       1. Depth jump: 8 singles
  2. Box jump: 10 singles                                     2. Box squat: 75% 3×2
  3. Band pull apart: 4×15                                   3. Deadlift: 60% 1×5
  4. Inverted row: 4×10 – Just bodyweight    4a. Bench press:70% 3×5
  5. Push ups: 3×12 – Just bodyweight           4b. Pull ups: 3×5
  6. Deadbugs: 3×16                                             5. Pallof press: 3×12 each side

                                                                *Do 100 band pull aparts throughout session       

As you can see nothing here is very difficult, our game week session is not too dissimilar to a good warm up, it can easily be done in 15-20 minutes.

After some post season testing we showed that going back and forth doing sessions similar to these we managed to maintain around 90% of our top end strength which was the goal. See results below which were done 3 weeks after the last barbell training session.

Once I had gathered the results and done up my comparison tables the first thing that came to mind was how much less could we do while maintaining 90% top end strength, not what can I add to get to 100%. Its not realistic or fair to aim for 100% with a GAA player. I want to know how little we can do in-season while maintaining strength so the player can recover better and give more energy to his/her sports practice.

Athlete A (92.5kg)Pre season test – July19/11/2019

MovementDistance/reps/weightDistance/reps/weightDifference% held onto
Broad jump9 foot 6 inches9 foot-6 inches95%
Pull ups18 reps18 repsNo difference100%
Bench press130kg120kg-10kg92%

Athlete B (81.9kg)Pre season test – JulyPost season 19/11/2019

MovementDistance/reps/weightDistance/reps/weightDifference% held onto
Broad jump8 foot 10 inches8 foot 10 inchesnone100%
Pull ups13 reps10 reps3 reps77%
Bench press75kg70kg-5kg93%

Athlete C (92kg)Pre season test – JulyPost season 19/11/2019

MovementDistance/reps/weightDistance/reps/weightDifference% held onto
Broad jump10 foot 4 inches10 foot 1 inch-3 inches98%
Pull ups15 reps18 reps3 reps120%(20% gain)
Bench press120kg110kg-10kg92%
Squat150kg (Full range)150kg to box at paralelno difference with box100% with box

Matty Costello

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