Follow Journeys

Get out, get active! 5 outdoor exercises to really push yourself this summer

In her weekly column, Irish international and Cork football star Saoirse Noonan tells us how you can replicate her pitch training.

IT’S SUMMER SO of course, everyone wants to bring their training outdoors.

With team sports, the majority of your training is done outside all year round but for people who go to the gym, it’s nice to bring some of that outside to the sun when we get it. Thankfully, an awful lot of what you do indoors can also be done out in the open.

Cork v Galway - All Ireland Ladies Football Minor A Championship Final Eóin Noonan / SPORTSFILE Eóin Noonan / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

There are plenty of differences between Gaelic football and soccer training sessions, and I’ll delve into that in more detail next week, but that said, there are many similarities.

At both Gaelic and soccer, we do sprints, core work and plenty of drills with the ball.

And all of these exercises can be done by everyone and anyone, outside.


We do different sprints at Gaelic and soccer. The Gaelic ones are generally longer, well they feel it anyway. With the Cork minors last year we used to do really long ones, like goal to goal and a GAA pitch is way bigger than a soccer pitch.

Sometimes we’d do hill sprints too. There’s a huge hill in CIT and for pre-season training, we’d sprint up and jog down, and repeat it over and over.

At pitch training with Cork City, we do box-to-box sprinting and then jog from the box to the end-line for recovery. Suicides are good for pushing yourself too:

  • 10 x 20m, with a 10 second break in between.


With Cork City, we do activation at the start of our pitch sessions. It’s basically involved in the warm up. It’s nothing major, but great to get your muscles activated and keep them ticking along.

It’s easy to set up too, just a few different stations and you’re good to go. For example:

  • 10 x squats
  • 10 x lunges
  • Plank for 15 seconds
  • 5 x glute bridges

shutterstock_186719840 Shutterstock / Syda Productions Shutterstock / Syda Productions / Syda Productions

Core blowout 

Every Wednesday night when we’re in the gym with Cork City, we finish up with a core blowout. If I do my own session with gym equipment at home, a lot of my focus is on the core.

I think — and I’m pretty sure all of our team think — that core is basically the structure for everything. If your core’s not strong, none of your body’s going to do anything.

It’s handy too because it can be done outside, perfect for a garden or park workout to push yourself this summer. And a few ideas:

  • Russian twists
  • Crunches
  • Bicycles
  • Plank variations
  • Leg raises
  • Burpees


The kettlebell, for one, is an excellent exercise tool. It’s easy to bring on the road with you and you can perform so many movements with it. Kettle bell swings always do the job.

The bar, then, is obviously another ideal thing to have. Barbell curls, squats, lunges, deadlifts, bent-over row, upright barbell row; you name it, they’re all effective.

I’d use resistance bands quite a lot too to help with mobility and flexibility so they’re another good piece of equipment to have.

And to mix things up with the weights, do some sprints in between. At the gym we train in, there’s a huge car park outside so we head out there and do some of the sprints I mentioned above in between sets.

Saoirse Noonan and Catherine Cronin Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO


The fifth and final exercise I’ll talk about today is rondos. It’s a drill we do at Cork City training, a possession game basically where one group of players has overload advantage.

Ideally, you need at least four people (3 v 1) so it mightn’t be feasible but it’s an interesting one and great for working on your touch and awareness. It keeps us up to pace and it’s great for fitness.

We’d split into groups of six, so four on the outside and two in the middle in a square and we all go for a minute and-a-half. Then we switch up who’s in the middle and spend about 20 minutes in total on rondos and then expand it into a full game.

You can follow Saoirse’s journey over the next 12 weeks right here:

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel