Over the next few weeks I’ll show you what goes into “building” a high level GAA athlete and how to approach your own training to enhance your performance.


  Here’s an intro to a series of article that will begin this week exclusive to you. It has been requested quite a bit. I’m usually inundated with combat sport requests or weightlifting but GAA has been getting a lot more love with requests since the lockdown lifted and training has resumed.   During lockdown, we seen a lot of heads posting about their road running (so so many, did you even run if you didn’t post it?) and this is fine. Fine being the operative word, compared to a GAA match this intensity is relatively very low and places none of the demands a game would on you.   Sprint, shuffle, back pedal, accelerate, decelerate, change direction, jump these are the just the non-contact physical attributes you need before we add the technical and tactical aspects to the game.   After lockdown, there is an increase in injuries due to the lack of preparation for the game demands and collisions involved (Shock absorption).  

“Train with purpose, not habit”

  The slogan of Momentum. Having trained many athletes from various sports at a national, international and elite level this is something I remind people of when outlining the program that has been developed. “You’re here (point 1), we want to get you to here (point 2), this is why, and this is how” Everything is laid out in a methodical manner.   “Sure what’s the harm in road running” you must be saying. It’s not high on the list for effective training for GAA athletes– if you’re simply doing general preparation and looking to increase low intensity aerobic capacity then fine.   Some of the data for today:   ~3% of your running time is with the ball, ~97% of running occurs without the ball.  
  • The intermittent, stop-start nature of hurling/Football demands players perform repeated short duration, high intensity bouts of anaerobic (explosive) exercise interspersed with sustained moderate aerobic activity.
  • 8-9km: the average distance per match.
  • 4.68 m/s the average maximal aerobic speed of high level GAA players.
    • That’s equivalent to running 1km in ~ 3mins 34secs.
  • 12.4% the % of distance (~1km) covered by high speed running >17km/h
    • (Not sprinting, more on this in time)
  • Average heart rate was 82-84% of maximum heart rate throughout match.
  • The ability to accelerate over 5m is of critical importance to players.
    • Most strikes are made within 1m of opposition.
  • Accelerations occur every 22 seconds.
  • <6 seconds, the duration of high intensity bouts.
  • Between 1,200 to 1,400 changes of directions can occur in a match.
  I want you to think of meeting a 10-year-old version of yourself and this little person asks you “I want to get fitter for GAA, what’ll I do?”, I’d be surprised if your answer is still just to rack up the km (or any km at a steady state) on the road.