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2013 Na Fianna Senior Hurling Off-Season General Physical Preparation Program

The following is a summary of a 7 week GPP program which I put in place for the 2013 Na Fianna
Senior Hurling Squad.

Team Training Experience:

1-2 years of structured Strength and Conditioning work done by majority of squad members

Facilities & Equipment:

800sqft gym
2 full squat cages
3 benches
1 bench press
7 Olympic barbells
2 Trapbars (with high and low handles)
2 25kg plates
8 20kg plates
8 15kg plates
8 10kg plates
6 5kg plates
12 2.5kg plates
12 1.25kg plates
2 TRX’s
Dumbbells from 5-50kg – 2.5kg increments
1 Kettlebell set 8-32kg
Plyo boxes 10-32’
5 2kg Medicine balls
5 4kg Medicine balls
5 5kg Medicine balls
22-32’ Hurdles
6 & 9’ Hurdles
3 Reebok Steps
8 chairs used as 4 make-swift Olympic platforms – worked great!

Handball court, Basketball Court & All Weather Pitch facility (used for warm ups, plyos, medball
throws, speed, and multi-directional work)

All 23 players were screened using the Functional Movement Screen.

22 all needed active straight leg raise corrections

1 needed rotary stability
Performance Testing:
The following tests were performed:
10m sprint
20m sprint
Counter Vertical Jump
Non-Counter Vertical Jump
1RM TrapBar Deadlift
1RM Bench Press
Chin Up xAMRAP
Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 2
Testing Norms
Test Target Scores
Body Fat% Poor: 15% <
Fair 13-15%
Average: 10-13%
Elite: 10% >

10m 80kg >: Poor: 1.8 </ Average: 1.7 / Good: 1.6/ Very Good:
1.5/ Elite: 1.4>
80-90kg: Poor: 1.9 </ Average: 1.8 / Good: 1.7/ Very Good:
1.6/ Elite: 1.5>
90-100kg: Poor: 2.0 </ Average: 1.9/ Good: 1.8/ Very Good:
1.7/ Elite 1.6>
20m 80kg >: Poor: 2.8 </ Average: 2.7 / Good: 2.6/ Very Good:
2.5/ Elite: 2.4>
80-90kg: Poor: 2.9 </ Average: 2.8 / Good: 2.7/ Very Good:
2.6/ Elite: 2.5>
90-100kg: Poor: 3.0 </ Average: 2.9/ Good: 2.8/ Very Good:
2.7/ Elite 2.6>
5-10-5 N/A

Counter Movement Jump Poor: 20>

Average: 20-25
Good: 25-30
Very Good: 30-35
Elite: 35<
Non Counter Movement Jump Good: 18-20% > of Counter Vertical Jump
Poor:20% < of Counter Vertical Jump

Trap Bar Deadlift 1RM 2-2.5 BW

Bench Press 1RM BW-1.5/BW

Chin Up x AMAP Poor: 5-8>

Average: 8-12
Good: 12-15
Very Good: 16-20
Excellent: 20<
Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 2 Fair: 720-1000m
Good: 1000-1200m
Very Good: 1200-1500m
Excellent: 1500m+
Training Schedule:
Block A:
Monday – Linear Speed/Gym
Tuesday – Linear warm up & Tempo
Wednesday – Multi-Directional Drills/Gym
Thursday – Multi-Directional warm up & Tempo
Friday – Off
Saturday – Linear Speed/Gym
Sunday – Off

Block B:
Monday – Gym & Linear RSA
Tuesday – Linear warm up & Tempo
Wednesday – Linear Speed/Gym
Thursday – Multi-Directional warm up & Tempo
Friday – Off
Saturday – Gym & Multi-Directional RSA
Sunday – Off

Programme Design:

Roll and FMS corrections – Handball court

On basketball court/ or All weather pitch:

Warm Up
Jumps/Plyos & Medball Throws
Linear Speed/ or Multi-directional drills

Olympic Lift Variations (hang clean/snatch)
Strength Training

Grass Field/ or All Weather Pitch

Repeated Sprint Ability in Block B
Putting Players into Buckets
The Performance Testing guides what specific bio-motor quality each individual player needs to
improve upon to enhance sporting performance.

That’s why the performance testing covered many different qualities:

Linear Speed
Multi-Directional Speed (Change of Direction/Agility)
Starting Strength
Explosive Strength
Max Strength
Aerobic Capacity

Al Vermeils athletic development pyramid/hierarchy is a great guideline as to what qualities need to

be optimally developed before enhancing others on the hierarchy.

Elastic/Reactive Strength

Explosive Strength
Maximum Strength

Work Capacity
Movement Quality
Nutrition, Lifestyle, BF%
Mental/Emotional/Spiritual Health

Table 1: Adapted From Al Vermeil

So as you can see for the above Nutrition, spiritual health, movement quality, and work capacity are
the foundation to support the bio-motor qualities higher up on the hierarchy.

To summarize the hierarchy I always say – “The premise of the Athletic Development Hierarchy is
that all of the preceding qualities need to be optimally developed to support the succeeding
qualities higher up on the hierarchy”

Something to keep in mind here about the above diagram is that you may have athletes with well-
developed levels of qualities higher up on the hierarchy, while concurrently having less than optimal
development of qualities lower down the hierarchy that are critical to support the qualities nearer
the top.

For instance you may have athletes with well-developed levels of strength, explosive strength,
elastic strength, and/or speed, without having an optimal foundation of nutrition, movement
quality, and/or work capacity. The key point here is that without an optimal foundation of preceding
qualities on the hierarchy; 1) The risk of injury is increased, and 2) Optimal potential cannot be
realized as the supporting structures are not in place to support the entire system.

High levels of strength, explosive strength, and/or elastic strength and speed, developed on top of
poor movement quality carries a higher risk of injury.

High levels of strength, explosive strength, and/ or elastic strength and speed, developed on top of
poor work capacity will lead to poor recover ability, and carries a higher risk of injury also.

High levels of strength, explosive strength, and/or elastic strength and speed, developed on top of
poor nutrition will lead to poor recover ability, and carries a higher risk of injury also.

High levels of elastic strength and/or speed, developed on poor strength, explosive strength, work
capacity, and/ or movement quality and nutrition……….

I think you are getting the picture.

So from the results of the performances tests, each player was put into a program that would
enhance their most lacking quality on the hierarchy.

15 players – Work Capacity Emphasis

3 Player – Hypertrophy Emphasis
5 Players – Strength

Block A:
15 players – Work Capacity Emphasis
3 Player – Hypertrophy Emphasis
5 Players – Strength

Block B:
20 players – Strength emphasis
3 players – Hypertrophy Emphasis

Or whatever you want to call it!

From the explanation above of testing and then deciding what quality needs to be focused on, I
guess I use what is term a block style of periodization.

The Programmes: Click Here

Strength and aerobic capacity had large improvements across the board as expected, but….
Lessons Learned?
Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition!!!! Like most people the players need a serious lesson on nutrition.
Nutrition like most topics can be as simply or as complicated as you want to make it.

I always just break it down like this:

Eat animals, vegetables, plants, fruits (depending on the goal), and a little amount of nuts and seeds
if tolerated (sorry Josh Rubin).

Make quality water you main fluid supply.

Limit/ eliminate processed/ man made foods. Eliminate grains for the most part is well, due to the
fact that the vast majority of people that I see cannot tolerate grains too well, particularly wheat.
Good resources on this would be Dr Tom O’Bryan, and Dr William Davis.

What about Dairy? Again depends on a number of factors. What’s the goal? Putting on mass?
Maybe. Losing body fat? No. What is the person’s digestion like with dairy? So many people seem to
have such a compromised gut that dairy, and other things like nuts and seeds seem to be very hard
for the system to handle. Again its very much person and situation specific, we are all so different.

But if you want dairy then I recommend it raw, or at least organic.

Anyway I just didn’t get a chance to give a nutritional presentation to the team. I only had time to
post some educational content on the team Facebook page.

But after 7 weeks of training, and absolutely little to no change in most players’ body compositions
proves the undeniable fact that nutrition is the most important aspect of body composition
improvements. Nutrition along with our circadian rhythms is the biggest environment influences on
our genetic expression.

The Stress of Culture

The amount of times the players came to training in a very poor physical and mental place! The
stress of culture is just so ridiculous. Guys, who are not even 30, look 40. The extreme excess of
cortisol that is being produce daily by most is a huge contributing factor to some many ailments that
not just the players on this squad have, but the entire population.

When training the guys I find its about doing enough to get a sufficient training stimulus, but not too
much as to add more stress to an already burden system. So many soft tissue injuries and illness are
results of the constant state of inflammation that the guys are in. Inflammation is caused by excess
stress. Excess stress is cause by environmental mis-matches. It’s a vicious cycle as the table 2 shows

Over-Training Poor Nutrition

Mental/ Poor Sleep Patterns

Emotional/Spiritual &
Health Circadian Rhythms

Enviromnetal Toxins

Table 2: The cycle of Environmental/Biological Mis-Matches that lead to Poor Physical and
Mental/Emotional Health

Wrapping Up:
I am hoping that this 7 week block of GPP is but just the first step in a long term development plan
with this group of players. This is a reason why I am not freaking out about getting every single detail
absolutely perfect. If you go out with that mind-set you will just go crazy. It’s a process. The
nutritional & lifestyle education will be the next big thing to tick off the list. I hope to empower the
guys to start taking their own health and performance into their own hands.