Growing up playing Gaelic Football, one guarantee is the common sight of players pulling up mid-sprint and falling to the floor. Similarly, the queue of players standing on the sideline during training. So, what can be done to help prevent these lower extremity injuries. Well, as part of my MSc, I am involved with a research group looking at how the hamstrings adapt to various training intervention strategies. This is important, as hamstring injuries are highly prevalent problem amongst many field sports, notably Soccer (Petersen et al. 2011) and AFL (Opar et al. 2014). Similarly, in Gaelic football, hamstring injuries were reported in a 4-year perspective study to be the most common muscular injury, accounting for 24% of all reported injuries and over 50% of muscle injuries (Murphy et al. 2012).
Figure 1. Nordic Hamstring exercise being carried out by one person holding the ankles, as the other person slowly lowers their body to the ground.
One common type of hamstring training that S&C professionals utilise is the Nordic Hamstring exercise. It is very simplistic in its design and can be simply carried out by two people (Figure 1.). This can be included as a supplementary exercise to most S&C programs, and has been shown to be beneficial when performed twice weekly, with repetition ranges varied between 1-13 reps per set (Van der Horst et al. 2015). This can be easily progressed as capability improves by adding more sets, or there are some variations of the movement out there. However, I would suggest becoming proficient at the classical movement before progressing.
Periodization of a team’s strength and conditioning sessions over a season can be a mine field of information. How many sessions should be run in each phase? How intense should each session be? When should we move from phase to phase? A lot of coaches use either a linear periodised programme or a non-linear, perhaps without even knowing they are. So the question becomes which of these two styles is better utilized for teams? I believe the question should not be “which?” But “when?” Both systems have their place within a full season macrocycle it’s only at what point they are best utilized. (more…)
Michael Boyhan (3rd Strength and Conditioning)
Laois Minor Hurling Backroom Team
I myself find my own current position as a challenge to say the least. I am currently involved with the Laois Minor Hurling backroom team in an S/C position and its application to those under the age of 18. Is Strength and conditioning needed at that age? Yes is clearly the answer, and sometimes the possibility is it is clearly needed at a younger age in terms of development through various type movement and technique that will aid a child’s development stage within their sport. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that strength training is an inappropriate and unsafe activity for youth. (more…)