Steven Poacher

Steven Poacher – Short, sharp drills for maximum impact in winter period

THIS is the time of year that most GAA players, particularly at club level will take an extended break and recharge the batteries after a long, exhausting season.

After a season that has been interrupted by Covid, a lot of long, lonely training will have been complete in the dark months earlier in the year in January, February and March.

It’s important the down time though doesn’t last for too long because I am a firm believer that players should strive to arrive at the start of pre-season training in the new year fit to train, not there to get fit!

In an ideal world it would be great if players came back fit to train but unfortunately this is not the case for a majority of clubs and players.

A way around this problem is by organising collective sessions earlier in the year or by possibly providing players with some individual conditioning sessions to do.

It is extremely easy for a player to take responsibility and to do a touch of conditioning training on their own in preparation for the pre-season 2022, which won’t be long coming around again!

Whatever you decide to do, one thing should not change and that’s the training method the players should choose to use. For a number of years, I have been preaching to friends of mine about the benefits of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), not a new phenomenon but for some players they feel the need to still complete long, slow continuous training and sometimes on the road.

Simplistically it’s much handier, quicker, and more effective in less time, but scientifically its benefits are enormous. One particular scientific benefit is the enhancement of the EPOC effect, full title “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Comsumption (EPOC). In basic language, the “After Burn!” Imagine a car at the end of a long journey, the engines worked extremely hard and even when you stop for a considerable period of time the engine remains quite warm, a lot of noise from it and only gradually cools to normal temperature after a number of hours, the exact same thing happens to your body, once exercise is over you can continue to burn more calories, a physiological effect known as EPOC.

The best way for a Gaelic Footballer to stimulate the EPOC effect is simply through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It’s a fantastic workout, you are not aimlessly plodding monotonously around a field for 3040 minutes, instead the session is performed at a high intensity with specific rest periods. Every week you can vary the venue, distances covered, time, terrain, all just to keep it fresh and interesting but the intensity should remain the same as the intensity is the key to influencing EPOC.

Try a HIIT session; here are some of the many benefits of such a session:

Quick, efficient and not time consuming.

Helps burn more caloriesfat even hours after completing the session!

Game specific conditioning, replicates workrecovery times.

Leaves you stronger, more powerful, improves heart & lung efficiency and endurance.

Trains the body to remove waste products in the muscles quickening recovery!

A simple example of a HIIT session lasting approximately 35 minutes you could perform on a Gaelic pitch would be as follows:

Dynamic Warm – Up – 810mins

8 x 45 – 45m runs with 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off

90 seconds recovery

6 x 21-21m runs with 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off

90 seconds recovery

4 x 14-14m runs with 25 seconds on, 25 seconds off

90 seconds recovery

2 x end line to end line runs with 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off

Cool Down – Light Jog, static stretching – 56mins


FAST… As some club prepare for the Provincial club campaigns, other teams are resting. Steven Poacher says you should be thinking about pre-season and HIIT training

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