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Resistance Training, Part 3: Training Frequency

3 Oct

How many times should an athlete train, in a given time period (the usual time period is one week)?  It’s the Strength and Conditioning professional’s job to determine an athlete’s training frequency, based on several factors.

The athlete’s training status – his or her level of preparedness for training – refers to past and present training experience and proficiency.  Resistance training novices may train one or two days per week, allowing for more rest days.  Athletes with a longer history of Strength training experience and expertise may choose to train three or four days per week, provided they follow recommended guidelines for rest and recovery.

The athlete’s sport season will also influence training frequency.  Resistance training frequency should be at its highest level during the athlete’s off-season, with a gradual taper as he or she progresses to the pre-season and in-season phases.  This is referred to as periodization.  Multi-sport athletes can present somewhat of a challenge, with regard to training frequency, especially those athletes whose participation is virtually year-round.

Athletes who train with near-maximum loads will require more recovery time prior to their next training session.  Additionally, research shows that – with regard to heavy-loading – upper-body muscles may recover more quickly than lower-body muscles.  Exercise type also impacts training frequency, as the athlete has the ability to recover faster from single-joint exercises compared to multi-joint exercises.

The overall amount of physical activity must also be taken into account, when considering training frequency.  This can be sport activity (practices and games), other forms of exercise and training programs, and physically demanding work (especially athletes who work in manual labor jobs, or are on their feet all day).


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