PLAYERS have been put through their paces, just from afar, according to Barrow Raiders’ fitness guru Paddy Maher.

Maher has the players reporting to him on a weekly basis with their home workout sessions, which he has designed to keep the players “ticking over” until the season hopefully resumes.

“A lot of the lads still have jobs but have been put on schemes like furlough, I don’t think I’ve spoke to anyone who still has to work,” he said.

“I’m trying to replicate how we were training before the lockdown, when we trained twice a week and played on the weekend.

“It’s very basic sessions at the moment with limited or no equipment available for the majority of players.”

When asked how he keeps tabs on all the players, he said: “The lads have to check in with me each week to let me know what they’ve been up to, and to be honest my phone has never been busier.

“We’re using the Strava fitness app to log their workouts so we can see what each player has been doing without them having to tell me.

“Everyone has been very responsive because a lot of the lads are at home, and a lot are doing more than they would normally be doing because they don’t have work.”

According to Maher, the type of fitness has to be very high intensity- the players can’t just go for a jog.

“Rugby league is a high intensity, high repetition sport,” he said.

“It’s not just about who can hit hardest, or run fastest, but about being able to repeat that effort over and over again.

“Speed and power are crucial, and they can drop off after two to three weeks of no training, but aerobic fitness can drop off quicker, so I’m making them do a speed session once a week, to keep that ticking over, and I’m sending out two aerobic sessions.

“It’s very difficult to push yourself on your own so we’re just training to keep everything ticking over - they’re not likely to make too many fitness gains as we already did that in pre season.

“It’s very hard to maintain strength or hypertrophy with just body weight exercises, but conveniently a lot of the lads have taken stuff from the gym, so they can keep up their strength sessions.

“Some have no equipment, though, and I’ve been posting sessions on our Facebook page, and even some of the fans have been getting involved and trying the workouts.”

Maher also said the players have kept positive during the lockdown, saying: “We’ve only been in lockdown for just over a week now, but the lads have been keeping their spirits up.”

“The club’s Whatsapp group has been going off constantly, with lads posting games and stuff like that to keep them entertained.”