So what do you do once you’ve tested them?

Actually that wasn’t a question…I was only pretending like I cared what you thought to suck you in and keep you reading the blog…especially since I’m going to make you change your bookmarks again in the not to distant future.

I want to go through some testing results from the other night.

This is their first test and this is prior to these guys kicking off their pre season so all these results are pretty much from a standing start. That’s not to say they haven’t been tipping away in the gym just that some of them wouldn’t be doing anything too structured at the moment. All these guys are playing Gaelic Football at a senior level and what I want to do is to look at a few players in particular from what was a pretty big group.

Firstly, PC is 186cm tall or 6ft 1in and 80kg or 176lbs he benched 90kg (1.13xBW) he did 14 pull ups, 44 push ups in 60 seconds and 26 inverted rows and deadlifted 170kg (2.13xBW) and a 2.45m landed standing broad-jump. For PC I think his targets should be as follows bench 100-120kg, 12+ pull ups, 50+ push ups, 30+ inverted rows and a 160kg trap bar deadlift. So in summary…he missed his bench by I think I could get him there in 3 weeks because his technique wasn’t great so I’d be confident that there was 5-10kg right there. He got 14 pull ups which is 2 more than target so no problems with that. His push ups and inverted rows were a little off his target but importantly they were off in pretty much the right ratio…that same few weeks and I think he’ll get these as well. He beat his deadlift target by 10kg so as far as lower body strength is concerned I think he has got that covered. He also did his rowing test but I want to talk about these results first. Essentially PC is a pretty balanced athlete and he is probably only a month or so away from pretty much having all the ‘strength’ that he needs for Gaelic Football. So what does he do then…once again…I don’t really care what you think…I’m going to tell you. He’ll shift the focus of his training towards power development. He’ll need to do more work on improving his rate of force development. He can spend more time improving his mobility, doing trunk work and his individual prehabilitation work because all these things will have a far greater impact on his on field performance from a gym perspective than any pursuit of further strength gains ever would. The thing is….chasing further strength improvements could actually hinder performance for a couple of reasons…1. He is well up the curve and well past the point of diminishing returns with regard to his stength and muscular endurance and 2. Chasing those strength and muscular endurance improvements comes as all training does…at a risk. The best thing any player or athlete can do to improve their performance is to stay on the field, court, pitch and play and you can’t do that if you’re injured. If there’s anything worse than getting injured playing…well we all know there is…but I can hardly think of anything dumber than injuring yourself in the gym and not being able to play as a result.

Now PC also did his rowing test and he scored the following 169m, 155m, 144m, 134m, 136m, 134m = 873m in total. Now in my opinion I’d rate that somewhere roughly between shit and suck…and probably closer to shit than to suck unfortunately for him. Now he’s a footballer and is expected to run around like a mad man. How’s he going to do that when he has  barely got the anaerobic capacity to blow up a balloon without having to go and lay down for a minute to catch his breath. Just to give you an example heres the results of a rugby player around the same weight 182m, 179m, 165m, 156m, 161m, 158m for a 1001m total. I’m not picking out the best rugby player either…that’s just someone around the same weight. John who is another Gaelic Footballer but 10kg heavier than PC pulled a total of 1016m in his test the other week and that’s in the middle of some tough dieting…his actual scores were as follows…188m, 176m, 171m, 166m, 163m, 163m….he was displeased with his results at the time and has done better previously. I’m not trying to run PC down…I’m just saying…his strength is pretty close to where he needs it to be…but his aerobic and more importantly anaerobic power is no where near where it needs to be. I’d be only too happy to see PC ditch a weight session a week and do some intervals instead. Being a great player is about getting your athletic balance right…PC is not balanced athletically for gaelic football.

I posted some other lads results last night…lets have a look at those again.

The lads testing results..their scores and their guesstimates in brackets.

The lads testing results..their scores and their guesstimates in brackets.

Now Paul is 85kg and Peter is 75kg. You can see that Paul like PC isn’t far off his targets but in comparrison to PC you can see that his Inverted Rows look a little weak relative to his other scores. Peter on the other hand has a lot of strength work that he still needs to do in comparison to the other two lads. If you look at Peter’s scores though you’ll see that he’s quite balanced…just too weak. So while PC needs to work on his power and conditioning and Paul needs to look at his back issues and bring his results up to par Peter needs to work on his general upper body strength and muscular endurance generally.

A lot of players and athletes get carried away with their gym work to the point that it actually hinders more than helps their performance. You can’t be a powerful and explosive athlete and hence the player that you want to be without a decent level of maximal strength. Too many players and athletes try to do too much strength endurance type work in the gym…it’s not the place for it. Get ‘strong enough’ in the gym…then go out and get fit to play on the pitch.

What I’ll do when I get time later is to come back and discuss the differing program approach I’d take with these three lads because I think the thing that you might find interesting is the fact that they’ll all be using exactly the same weight training template.


13 thoughts on “So what do you do once you’ve tested them?

  1. Will,

    First stupid question for this post. When conducting the test on the Concept2’s do you have them set to a particular level for all athletes, or is it athlete dependent?


  2. Cal,
    There’s no such thing as a stupid question here. It is good to see you trying to be the first though.

    I always have the rower set to 10 for all testing. Your performance on the rower is effected obviously by your height and weight. Naturally technique effects your scores but not as much as some would think. The reason I like using the rower for testing is because most people hate rowing and tend to stay well clear of it and therefore ‘most’ people testing on it have quite similar experience with it. It is also obviously a full body exercise. It’s difficult to injure yourself on a rower…although I’ve had more than a few that have tried. 30 seconds basically equates to 12-18 strokes…that’s not a lot of reps…the results have a good correlation with what you see with your eyes and what you know to be true with athletes. Guys that are powerful but unfit get a massive first score then a series on consistently crap scores after that. You get the ‘fit’ guys…the endurance guys that bang out consistent but far from peak scores on all six efforts…in that they can go all day but really can’t shift up through the gears when needed. You also get the athletes that you know are fit and fast who bang out a massive first score and hang in on the rest banging out consistently good scores but fading a little on each one till the end. I don’t really compare people to others except in an off hand way. I use these results more to measure and check individuals progress against their own previous scores. It is a good way to easily check that athletes are where they need to be during the season fitness wise. You get a snap shot of their power from the 1st score, their anaerobic capacity by looking at the difference between the 1st and 4th score and an idea of what their overall fitness is like from their total.

    I hope that answers your question?

  3. The whole idea and use of rowing is an interesting one for me. The guys spend weeks preparing to test on bench, chins, inverted rows etc. As Will pointed out very few put time into the aerobic balance which can involve the rower. It is probably the most hated piece of equipment in the facility.

    Damper Settings: As regards the settings of the damper or level as it was referred to. The setting of the damper does make a difference but dependent on the type of session you are completing. For the 6 x 30 sec test, a damper setting of 10 is advisable as you are completing a small number of reps (12-18 strokes) However if you are doing longer distances or sessions you will find your forearms going into fatigue. If you continuously used a high damper setting when rowing endurance or long interval sessions over time your forearms become overloaded (from experience i’m afraid). There is a more scientific method to set up the concept rowers using the Drag Factor, it allows you to work out stroke rates based on the damper setting you wish to use. I can show this to anyone who is interested and has access to the PM3 or PM4 (the display model)

  4. Damian,
    We’ll do a ‘Rowing Test and Interval Training on the Rower for Dummies’ video and accompanying article in the next week or two…so start making notes on what you think we need to go through…and try to be professional…one of us has to be.

    Rest assured…everyone tests at Level 10…if there was a Level 11…we’d do that…but there’s not…so we do it at Level 10.

  5. Thanks guys.

    The damper of 10 is what I was looking for. I’ve seen alot of people use lower damper settings, but as an ex-rower myself I’ve never gone under 10 in any circumstance, so wasn’t sure if the general athletic population would run at that level.

    Thanks for the info.

  6. Ok I feel all but Will seem to have missed my point here. Using Level 10 is fine if you are doing short distance work. If you are doing 1k intervals or longer 5km – 15km row you will completely overload your forearms on a level 10 setting.

    The idea of level 10 is to row an extremely heavy boat. If you have the body weight and strength to move a boat at level 10 over long distances you are a genetic freak. I have discussed this whole issue with rowers who would be in the 6min per 2000m zone and level 10 is not the solution.

    So i will try and put my thoughts together over the next while and throw it together with Will

    Some structured thought would be good

  7. Will,

    As a follow up to these 30/30 test scores, how would you interpret the following numbers?




    • Give me your details…age, height, weight, guess at your bodyfat, a bit of training history and the like…tell me a bit of Cal back story?

      I plan to get everything up to date this weekend with the blog…i.e. finish Lyle’s seminar summary, send Lyle his money so he can afford to buy himself a Happy Meal and answer all the emails and post some of the responses…I will put this one on the list.

      • Will,

        26 former rugby player planning comeback. Honestly, haven’t done any ‘conditioning’ (ie anything but weights) since end of 2007.

        1.80m, 105kg bodyfat prob high, 18-20%

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