Warm Up

The Activate GAA Warm-Up:

Enhance Performance and Reduce Injury. Activate is a GAA specific warm up for training and matches that improves movement skills and reduces injury. It is a dynamic warm up which includes the ball. This website contains resources and training videos to complement GAA coaching courses and support the delivery of the warm-up to squads.

Activate GAA Warm-Up

Activate has been developed by Sports Institute Northern Ireland (SINI) and Ulster GAA for use by coaches of players from 14 years to senior grade. It is suitable for use by Gaelic Football, Hurling and Camogie squads.

The warm up is based on solid medical research and, if performed regularly with proper technique, can reduce non-contact leg injuries by up to 50%.

The Activate GAA Warm-Up has three phases which should be performed twice a week before training. Initially, coaching Activate properly requires 30 minutes but it can be completed in 20 minutes when refined.

During the pre-match warm up only phases 1 and 3 should be delivered and can be followed by the coach’s own preferred drills.

The ACTIVATE GAA Warm-up was developed by Sports Institute Northern Ireland (SINI), Ulster GAA coaches and an expert group of Sports Medicine Professionals (including County team Physiotherapists, Physicians and Orthopaedic Knee Consultants) to reduce what appears to be an increasing number of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in our playing population.

Current injury surveillance data suggest that one male per squad will tear their cruciate every other season, with females at even greater risk. An ACL injury can be devastating as this type of injury is accompanied by long disability time and high cost as compared with other common athletic injuries.

The warm-up has been adapted from FIFA’s successful 11+ programme to meet the specific needs of GAA players and is appropriate for use with GAA Football, Hurling and Camogie squads.

Strong evidence demonstrates that by coaching movement and running skills, increasing leg and trunk strength and by optimising landing, cutting and deceleration mechanics we can significantly reduce injuries to the groin, hamstring, knee and ankle. The most compliant coaches and squads i.e. those who perform the exercises regularly with good technique have the least injuries and have more players available for matches.

Why a warm up?
Warm ups allow the coach an opportunity to regularly expose squads to injury prevention exercises. Warm-ups facilitate the “switching on” and activation of the correct muscles and motor patterns in preparation for intense activity.

Set-Up & Structure
The coach needs five minutes to set up the 10 cones in a channel. When coaching a squad of more than 15 we suggest setting up two channels side by side, see image below.

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Activate is comprised of three phases:

Phase 1: Running, Cutting and Landing Mechanics – 5 x 2
Five drills are completed in which the first part is performed moving out through the centre of the channel, and the second part returning down the sides of the channel. Each drill is performed twice.

Phase 2: Strength, Plyometrics and Balance – 10 x 10
There are two circuits: 1 and 2 which should be rotated every month. Squads carry out Circuit 1 for one month before progressing to Circuit 2 in which several of the exercises are more dynamic or require greater strength.

Upon completion of Circuit 2 for one month, squads should then alternate monthly between circuits 1 and 2.This is in order to return the players’ focus to the control and perfection of technique required in the Circuit 1 exercises.

Phase 3: Agility and Power – 5 x 2
Five drills are completed: three moving out through the central channel and returning down the sides, and two performed on the base line.

All three phases of Activate should be implemented before training with only phases 1 and 3 necessary before games. Once completed, the coach can then deliver any preferred drills or small sided games at full pace. Whilst Activate contains a dynamic flexibility component, the coach can add any other specific stretching/flexibility exercises to the routine.

Remember: Allowing players to carry out the exercises without feedback and accepting poor technique will not reduce injuries. Time spent early in the season perfecting technique will produce greater athleticism and reduced injury frequency later in the year.

Here are some Activate warm up Charts for easy reference.

Activate Warm Up (click link to download) – Activate Warm Up .PDF

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