Strength & Logistics
Part 2 of the in-season S&C for field sports article is here. After the introduction, we now will discuss in two episodes how to program, schedule and deliver strength training that won't interfere with the games in the season and still helps athletes improve their performance and not let their skills fade by the end of the season.
The key points about in-season training are:
Strength training is definitely the poor relation when it comes to In-season Conditioning for Gaelic Field Sports. This, I believe is still happening to a lack of education or knowledge. The belief still seems to be that you do strength training or “Strength & Conditioning” at the start of the year and that’s the end of it.
***S&C is not something that can be done in a 4 or 6 week block and then forgotten about. S&C is a process and should be integrated throughout the year. Going to a local gym for one of these emerging “S&C classes” is not really suitable to playing any kind of decent field sport. It’s perfectly ok for general population just do not assume it’s going to make you an athlete. It might set a good base for Athleticism, but that’s it***
There are many ways to get your strength training in throughout the season. 2 sessions per week (no matter how long or what format) are what is needed. I also believe a largely full body approach is ideal on both days maybe emphasizing 2 of the 4 main movement patterns on each day - Squat-Hinge-Push-Pull. We need to be clever about exercises used and time spent. Efficiency is critical to in-season training.
“Training and performance share a complex relationship based on several factors, many of which are unique to the individual athlete and performance task” Coutts (2017)
Option 1 - Gym after field sessions
My ideal position for in-season strength training, and indeed any strength training done while field training has started, is after field training.
Yes, you may be tired.
Yes, you will not perform probably to the max of your ability. However with some clever programming using submaximal lifting you can maintain and improve strength throughout the season.
If an S&C Coach is with the team, I see the use of on-field exercises in Warm Ups and in conditioning blocks as the ideal opportunity to do some other forms of Strength & Power work like Jumps and Plyometrics. For instance Split Jumps, ¼ Squat Jumps and Broad Jumps can be utilized in warm ups or indeed within Alactic and Lactic Conditioning. Then afterwards a strength Circuit of RDL + Bench + Lateral Lunge will tick alot of boxes on the Strength Spectrum.
The benefits of this approach are days off. Plain and simple. Having a life and keeping a balance to your training will keep you motivated and prolong your career.
Option 2 - Morning after training
If facilities do not permit strength training after field sessions then I suggest a gym session the next morning. The benefits of this are 3-fold.
Option 3 - Next night training
This is my least favorite of the options but sometimes logistics and life dictate it as the only option. From a lifestyle point of view doing it this way for me would be getting to the gym as early in the evening as possible. Give yourself as much time as possible putting the feet up, doing other jobs or hanging out with friends or family.
The usual split here is
Field sessions Tuesday & Thursday
Gym Sessions Monday & Wednesday
Personally I dislike this Split a lot from a fatigue and recovery point of view. Knowing a lot of field coaches as I do and knowing most Gaelic Players as I do, none of those sessions will be “easy” or on the low level of a High-Low model. Cumulative fatigue both in a weekly sense and overall annual sense is highly likely in this case. So instead of performance enhancement it will decrease. The opposite of what we are trying to achieve.
“Physical capacity can be improved by means of the biological adaptation feature common amongst living species (Bompa, 1983). Stress, defined as a disturbance from “normal”, in a
Basically what Tim is saying here through the extensive Eastern Block research is you need to train hard to effect change in the body to accumulate more fitness, better skill, movement, strength or whatever your target is.
However there needs to be an adaptation phase and a time to recover. So training can have 2 responses: positive (fitness) or negative (fatigue) (Bannister, 1975). Obviously we want “fitness” (let’s assume fitness means skill acquisition and everything else as well) so we need to make sure we give ourselves the best possible approach to allow this.
Playing a game Sunday, gym Monday, field Tuesday, gym Wednesday and field Thursday will not help us achieve that.
Next Up - Strength (ii), what to include…….