Sarah is coming tomorrow…I’m so excited I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep…

…that’s OK though. I’ll do what I always do…crack open Lyle’s book on Bromocriptine and I’ll be out like a light before I get to end of the first page.

Lyle’s Seminar
I am really looking forward to this weekend. Lyle and Sarah are coming to Dublin tomorrow. I’m going to be the ‘hostess with the mostest’ and whip out to the airport to pick them up during my lunch break….don’t worry though I’ll be able to fit some time in for some food. Then I am going to take them out to the gym so they can get their ‘pump on’ while I watch, talk, eat muffins and drink coffee…you know…the usual. I know Lyle will want to get a workout in before the seminar on Sunday so his ‘gunz’ will be at there awesome best.

The seminar will kick off on Sunday at 10am at St Mary’s College Rugby Club on Tempelville Rd, Tempelogue. If you are looking for directions I will save you the trouble…we’ll be here.

Lyle sent me the seminar today and it looks great…I am going to study it and look up all the big words so on Sunday I can look like I understand everything he’s talking about. This is basically what he’s going to cover:

Module 1: Overview of Basic Nutrition
Just a quick look at the basic components of human nutrition. Just to make sure everyone is on the same basic ‘background’ page.

Module 2: Overall Daily Nutrient Requirements
An examination of day-in, day-out nutrient reuquirements (energy, protein, carbs, fat) for different types of athletes.

Module 3: Around Workout Nutrition
Optimizing intake before, during and after training to enhance performance, decrease fatigue and improve overall adaptation to training.

Module 4: Modifications for Different Goals
A look at how to modify all of the information that has come before for goals such as mass gains, fat loss, maintenance of bodyweight (with improved performance over time), and recomposition.

Module 5: The Wrap Up
This goes over supplements and all the other odds and ends.

The presentation runs about 83 slides long…I was going to send out handouts by email but what I am going to do instead is just put handouts together and give them out on the day as I don’t want attendees getting over excited and passing out…I don’t want to be responsible for that.

If you need any more information just let me know otherwise I’ll see you guys on Sunday morning.

If anyone wants to get a workout in bring your gear…I’ll watch, eat muffins and drink coffee.

In other news
Paul had a light day today training wise. He’s a senior footballer. His training schedule goes as follows:
Monday: This is his heaviest day weights wise…it’s his strength day and we’ll do some easy conditioning as well.
Tuesday: An easy prehab day…tidying up work basically and a lot of trunk work. This is because on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s he has club training in the evening.
Wednesday: This is the most intense day…this is the day we do all our dynamic/power work.
Thursday: The same type of training as Tuesday’s just a different focus.
Friday: What we do on Friday’s depends on whether he has a Saturday or Sunday game. If it’s a Saturday game then it’s a rest day or light conditioning and some mobility and flexibility work. If it’s a Sunday game then we’ll do some high intensity conditioning work and some circuits.
Saturday and Sunday: Are either match days or rest days…I’m sure you get the idea.

So any way…today being Thursday was a relatively easy day. It went something like this:
Warm Up on the bike for 10 mins to get his sweat on.
Vertical Band Pull-A-Parts, Chest Supported Scap Shrug and Inverted DB Shrugs for 3 sets of 8 reps
1A Pull Ups – 10 sets of 3 reps
1B Elevated Push Ups – 10 sets of 10 reps
2A Ab Roll Outs – 5 sets of 12 reps
2B Natural Reverse Hypers – 5 sets of 12 reps
Single Leg Knee Drops – 5 sets of 5 reps on each side
Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls – 5 sets of 12 reps
High-Low Woodchopers – 3 sets of 8 reps on each side
Standing Ab Pulldowns – 3 sets of 15 reps

I am sure you’ve noticed by now that I video a lot of stuff in the gym…I don’t do this for this blog…I do it because I use it as a coaching tool. A tiny fraction of what gets videoed goes up on the blog in fact. One of the ways that I use video is to go back and look at athletes doing really simple tasks as you saw recently with Barry’s Band Pull-A-Parts. The single leg knee drops are another that I look at. You can take a look at this and maybe tell me what you see?


Long long day today

Started early and finished late….but I suppose in a global recession I should be thankful to be working at all.

Some highlights from the day…

Barry buying me buckets of coffee…not really that interesting but may have been partially possible for the lads session this evening.

Rower – 250m with 30 seconds recovery x 5

TrapBar Deadlift – Bodyweightx5
Pull Ups – 50% of max
Push Ups – 15
3 sets of all of the above

Bike – 60 seconds @ 100rpm/Level 10 x 5

Step Ups – 5
Inverted Rows – 33.68% of max
KB Shoulder Press – 5
3 sets of all of the above

Treadmill – 300m sprint with 100m walk x 5

Lunges – 5
Floor Press – 5
Lat Pulldown – 5
3 sets of all of the above
Rower – 250m with 30 seconds recovery x 5

Hanging Leg Raises – 10
Sit Ups – 20
Woodchoppers – 10
3 sets of all of the above

Bike – 60 seconds @ 100rpm/Level 10 x 5

KB Squats – 10
KB Rows – 10
Bench Press – 10
3 sets of all of the above

Treadmill – 300m sprint with 100m walk x 5

Natural Reverse Hypers – 10
Back Extensions – 10
Ab Rollouts – 10
3 sets of all of the above

Then had the a session with Ballyboden Camogie…they did a great session…it was one of those sessions that you know everyone was ‘putting in’…the reason I knew this is because they were very quiet throughout the whole session.

Here’s a description of the entire session…it is always much easier to lay it out this way.

Here’s the girls in action

I’ve been as busy as a beaver…

…hence the lack of blog updates. So what have I been doing I hear at least one of you ask. Well I don’t even know where to start.

New Gym

I still occasionally see stuff on the internet regarding me being a fraud…some of the best stuff has been along the lines of me stealing the videos that you see on this blog from YouTube or other training websites…these are videos that I apparently steal that for some reason have me in them…now you have to admit that is pretty funny?

Anyway…I’ve been so successful at being unsuccessful that I’m considering being a fraud on a much larger scale…about 10,000 square feet larger in fact. So I was checking out a possible venue last week and working on a plan for world domination…well maybe not world domination…I’ll settle for dominating the local area. It is still very much in the planning stages but I’ll let you know what comes of it either way.

Friday Night Lights

We were supposed to play a friendly on Friday night but the opposition pulled the pin at the last moment so instead we had to play with ourselves. It was a great laugh. I included this next clip because it basically has everything…

From Friday nights game…we won by the way!

You really need to watch it a few times…you’ll see Rhonda put in 2 seconds of effort to make a covering tackle then spend forever laying on ground trying to get his breath. Sextoy moaning and giving out like a big baby…even after he realises that he’s completely in the wrong. I also love it when Flaps threw some shapes at Sextoy but couldn’t even take himself seriously. There’s some other good videos up on YouTube…in just about every single one you’ll hear Flaps giving out to Daz and Gus…don’t be surprised because it was all he did for the entire match.

The Spider Test

Michael asked for a description of the ‘spider test’. Well here is a video of a test in full:

Spider Test – 6x30sec/30sec

I like this test for a lot of reasons. Mainly because whoever is the fastest and most agile gets the furthest in the first effort and whoever is the fittest gets the biggest total. It’ll tell me who are the most well rounded athletes. Who are the explosive athletes with no staying power, who are the athletes that have a great engine but who just aren’t dynamic enough along with telling me what athletes are better built for chess. This was the first time that these girls have done this test. The best single effort was 125m and the worst was 80m. The best total was 660m and the lowest 555m. One of my favourite things about the test is that the better you are and the fitter you get the more the test hurts. Nothing like that taste of blood in your mouth at the end of the test. The girls will be testing again in 6 weeks. We’ll see how they get on then.

Best laid plans…

Over the last couple of weeks I’d been putting a lot of work into getting things in place to follow an athlete through their strength and fitness testing along with detail their program construction. I was going to give a weekly video update and video some of their training so people could better see the process. The attendees at the seminar were there to question this athlete and see him through his testing which was all videoed…so in short I had done a huge amount of work getting things organised only for him to get dropped in a lineout yesterday and for this to happen….


Ouch...the picture actually makes it look better than it is

Ouch...the picture actually makes it look better than it is

So…in short…I will have to select another volunteer and make them promise not to let themselves get injured in anyway shape or form for a couple of months.


This was Garrets 1st Work Set

This was Garrets 2nd Work Set

Now Garret was pretty broken when he found me. We are slowly putting him back together again. He is one of a large number of athletes that I see only from time to time. Comes in for a chat…gets a new program and then heads off into the wilderness and makes a mess of it. He injured his back recently and is currently doing a months training with me so we can kick him back into shape. We have been doing a lot of work trying to sort out a lot of little issues that all rolled up together make for one major pain in the arse. This was just something that we were looking at tonight. You can see the issue with his right knee in the first video and in the second the correction that we made. His issue is a pretty common compensation. The reason that I am putting it up is because I’ve been making all the videos for the seminar notes over the last week. I’ve been videoing the screening of a number of different athletes….some tall, some short, some with ankle and others with knee or hip issues…all sorts of different issues. I’ve also been explaining my views on Functional Movement Screening versus Critical Observation…I don’t screen unless I need to….I rarely need to because I am watching athletes train all the time…I’m a coach…so I figure while I am in the gym I might as well do some coaching. Functional Movement Screening has it’s place….but it’s a limited place.

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.

Seamless Transition

Things were a bit limited over at blogger functionality wise and I got sick of all the the people I know who use wordpress always making fun of me so I want to give this place a bit of a go as I think it has a lot more possibilities.

So…I won’t crap on about it but I want some feed backon what people think could be improved? Is there anything missing? It will take a while to settle in and I intend on tarting up the place a bit to make it pretty…so let me know what you think?

Busy day today but I thought I would throw up the 2 different program variations that the girls did this evening.

Session 1

Warm Up – 3x500m on the rower with 2 mins stretching between efforts

1A Over’s and Unders – 2×8 each side

1B Reverse Lunge Twist – 2×8 each side

Box Squats – 2×5, 6×3

Hang Cleans – 5×5

Hanging Leg Raises – 3×15

Horizonatal, Vertical Band Pull-A-Parts and Band Dislocates – 3×12 of each

2A DB Band Press – 6×5

2B Pad Work – 6×15 seconds

Band Assisted Pull Ups – 5×12

Standing Ab Pulldowns – 3×15

3A Natural Reverse Hypers – 3×12

3B Back Extensions – 3×12

Session A

Warm Up – 3x1km on the bike with 2 mins stretching between efforts

Horizonatal, Vertical Band Pull-A-Parts and Band Dislocates – 3×12 of each

1A DB Band Press – 6×5

1B Pad Work – 6×15 seconds

Band Assisted Pull Ups – 5×12

Hanging Leg Raises – 3×15

2A Hurdle Steps – 2×8 each side

2B Single Leg Hip Pop Ups – 2×8 each side

Trap Bar Deadlift – 2×5, 6×3

Box Jumps – 5×5

Standing Ab Pulldowns – 3×15

3A Natural Reverse Hypers – 3×12

3B Back Extensions – 3×12

So pretty much identical but with a decent sized group and a gym that really wasn’t big enough from day 1 you need to split groups up.


Peter and Paul…not the apostles but the Gaelic Footballers…came in to do their testing this evening

I asked them to take a guess at what they would get in their testing before they started. They were both pretty much spot on…they got much closer than I expected. The scores in brackets are their guesses and the score beside it are their actual scores. They also did their rowing test but for some reason both the rowers malfunctioned and didn’t record the details properly…doesn’t matter…we’ll just pretend it was a test run.


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

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



So maybe it wasn’t so seamless a transition!
I just realised that for some reason some videos didn’t make the jump and there seems to be a couple of missing posts as well. As I said it might take a while to get every sorted out but I think it’ll be worth it in the end so bare with me.

I do love the sound of my own voice

I did a presentation on Function Strength Training for Gaelic Footballers for Dublin GAA Coaching and Games Development Department. I really enjoyed presenting and I hope all the lads that attended enjoyed listening to me blather on. It was a great mixed group of attendees with coaches, managers and trainers involved with all levels of Gaelic Football from underage level all the way through to senior level.

As always the presentation was made all the better by the great questions asked by the attendees regarding everything from dealing with athletes with no weight training experience all the way through to managing athletes who….how can I put this delicately…lets just say who are in the twilight of their careers. Along with questions about integrating weight training into a complete season long program. There were also obviously a lot of really specific questions about things such as what training methodologies give the maximum benefit with regards on field performance…in particular with regard to acceleration and speed. Any way suffices to say there were a lot of great questions.

The presentation format was roughly as follows:

We started with questions first…I always like to know what the attendees are actually there for…some people attend these things out of general interest in the area while others are there for very specific reason…such as…I am training a Under 15’s squad…what do I need to do with regard their strength training.

The first thing we discussed was strength testing. What strength test I do and why I do them.

We covered what these ‘in gym’ strength tests tell us about our athletes. Most importantly we went through what we do when we have these results.

We went through the basic classifications for strength training…what styles of training are generally utilised and why.

Next on field strength training was covered before we dealt with all the in gym stuff.

We wrapped up with Q&A and as per usual I and the attendees had to be stopped so we could be thrown out after going a good 30 minutes over time.

So What Is Next?
I am going to put together a video series to go with this presentation in particular for the attendees but I will throw it up on the blog as well.

2 Day Seminar
I’ve decided that no matter what…I’m doing a seminar before Christmas and I’m going to decide on a date this weekend when I make sure that 1. I actually have a free weekend before Christmas. 2. That I can ensure that I have a free presentation room. 3. That hopefully I can secure the bar and food so we can enjoy ourselves on the Saturday night.

Seminar Format
I want to put this out there for suggestions and input…particularly from those who’d potentially be interested in attending.

Introduction to Strength and Conditioning for Athletes
I want the seminar to focus on preparing athletes of all types from all sports and I’m going to deal with everything from the generalities to the specifics of all the sports and athletes with who I work with.

Screening and Functional Movement Analysis
I am going to try and rope in a lot of the sports professionals with whom I work to cover very specific elements like this. Essentially everyone who is attending who is able will have a screening done and also perform them. It’ll be a case of learning by doing.

Strength Testing and Fitness Assessment
I am going to drag a large number of my athletes in by scheduling by mere coincidence their strength testing and fitness assessments to coincide with the seminar and once again…everyone who is able will do a full strength test and fitness assessment.

We’ll then be able to look at the data we have and use that as a basis for much of the rest of the seminar.

We’ll go into what the results mean and how to interpret them as a reference point for the information to come.

Strength Training Theory
I’m going to go through the basic principles of strength training but more importantly I want to discuss what all this theory means in practice.

Getting Our Pump On
As part of all this we are also going to TRAIN…we’re ALL going to go through fundamental exercises, focusing on technique and the coaching points important to coaches and athletes.

That essentially will be the Saturday…I think we have a proper catered lunch and dinner and drinks in the bar afterwards…so people can basically come for the day…bring their change of clothes for the night. There is plenty of accommodation nearby so a short taxi ride will be all that is needed to those out of towners. We can get this sorted out when I have the dates sorted.

The Sunday will go something as follows…
Program Construction
This will be an opportunity for me to present my fundamental training theory…the how and why of what I actually do.
We’ll then actually design some programs based on ours or others results from the previous day.
We can then examine and critique the various training options that we come up with.

Conditioning Theory
As with the strength training portion we’ll go through very basic theory but focus more on the actual ‘take home’ points.

Getting our Sweat On
This will be acceleration, agility and speed session primarily but we’ll also cover conditioning and field based conditioning games.

We’ll wrap up with lunch and a good Q&A that will basically go on as long as needs be or until people get bored and start drifting away and I am left talking to myself.

That’s essentially my line of thinking at the moment but I am open to suggestions?

Functional Strength Training for Gaelic Footballers

I forgot all about this…I have been presenting this seminar for the Dublin GAA Coaching and Games Development Department for a while now and the reminder just popped up in my diary.

I will be held at Craobh Chiaráin from 7.30pm till 9.30pm. If you are interested in attending the cost is subsidised by the good folks at Dublin GAA so the cost at the door will only be €10. You’ll find the club here if you don’t know already.

I’ll basically be covering the following:
The strength requirements of Gaelic Football.
Strength testing.
On field and in gym strength training for Gaeilic Footballers.