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Physical and fitness characteristics of successful Gaelic footballers.
  1. A W Watson
  1. Sports Injuries Research Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland.


    Anthropometric and fitness observations were made on 32 members of a top level Gaelic football squad that reached the All Ireland final in the year in which these measurements were taken. The subjects were found to be large and well muscled with a mean somatotype of 2.6:5.6:3.1 (endomorphy:mesomorphy:ectomorphy). Body fat content of the whole squad averaged 15.0% but the most successful group of players averaged 12.4%. The body mass index (BMI) of the group was high and averaged 24.7 km.m-2. This group of Gaelic footballers was found to be taller and heavier than top level soccer players but smaller than Australian rules and American footballers. At 58.6 maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) was higher than that reported for rugby players and American footballers and is probably similar to that of professional soccer players. Scores on three lung function tests: (1) forced vital capacity (FVC), (2) forced expiratory volume during 1 s (FEV1), and (3) peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) were between 112% and 115% of the values predicted from height and age. There were wide variations in flexibility among the members of the group, the best individuals being as flexible as elite track and field athletes while the worst were less flexible than untrained subjects. Vertical jump scores were high and averaged 503 mm. The fitness observations made on this group of elite Gaelic footballers showed that they were not only fitter but more homogeneously fit than rugby players and American footballers and their fitness was generally similar to that reported for professional soccer players.

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