Having come from a GAA background, hurling and football, I would have played right up to my early 30s before, prematurely, hanging up the boots. In any event, now at the age of 37, I wanted to get moving again. So, in April of this year (2013), I put myself in the hands of Shane Fitzgibbon to attain some measure of fitness – and balance – in my life.
I had met Shane many years ago but with the publication of his book – ‘Training and Optimal Health for Sport’ – in the Spring, our paths crossed once more and I was impressed with the way he translated the mechanics and dynamics of personal training into easy to follow instruction.
Shane’s assessment of where I was at and where I needed to go got the ball rolling and over the ensuing weeks I slowly began to work towards my goals of a greater degree of fitness, more flexibility, more energy and less weight!!! This was done with a HIT warm-up followed by squat thrust, elevated press ups, assisted squats, upright rolls, squat bridge and, my personal favourite, crunches (not!!!). What I really found effective were the various flexibility exercises and, to some degree, these were vital in enabling my body to progress from week to week.
By the end of July, I had moved up to sprints and more difficult degrees of squats (including the goblet squat), push-ups and supine pull-ups, in addition to core work centring on such exercises as the plank and side plank.
In the three months, I also lost over a stone in weight and that, to me, underlined the value of following such a well-thought out programme that catered for the requirements of the individual. It was specific to my needs.
Meanwhile, seeing the benefits of the programme, I also decided, as Craughwell manager, to send one of my senior hurlers who was constantly injured to Shane for some help. In all, they did eight sessions over a number of weeks and the results were remarkable. Not only did this hurler improve significantly on his core work – and, consequently, reduce the threat of related injuries – he also became more confident in his own ability and played with renewed vigour. Indeed, the day after finishing his last session with Shane, this hurler scored 1-7 – all from play – from midfield in a senior challenge game. No matter what the quality of opposition, it was an amazing feat.
As a result, the club will be employing the services of Shane over the Winter months to work with both our senior and U-21 hurlers. If nothing else, it should ensure a solid foundation will be laid for our 2014 campaign . . . even if they are not all scoring 1-7 from play at the end of it!