Tag Archives: training frequency

Build Strength with Training Volume, Not Frequency

3 Sep

More is not necessarily better, especially as it relates to training frequency, according to recent research from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

In the study (Training Volume, Not Frequency, Indicative of Maximal Strength Adaptations to Resistance Training; Colquhoun, Ryan J., et. al.), the authors determined that “6 weeks of resistance training led to significant increases in maximal strength and fat-free mass.  In addition, it seems that increased training frequency does not lead to additional strength improvements when volume and intensity are equated.  High-frequency (6x per week) resistance training does not seem to offer additional strength and hypertrophy benefits over lower frequency (3x per week) when volume and intensity are equated.”

Bottom line: When you’re at the gym, train hard.  Push yourself.  Get your work done.  But don’t underestimate the rest/recovery process that follows.  There’s no need to be in the gym every day to get results.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Don’t Skip In-Season Strength Training

18 Nov

9070245-large[1]Once again, the fall season was a blur and the winter-sports season is upon us.  Hundreds of athletes have spent the off-season at my facility, working hard to get stronger and faster, in order to improve their athletic performance on the court, mat, or in the water this winter.  And, invariably, many of them will make the same mistake as they begin their competition season: They will suspend their training until the season is over.

Some will say they don’t have time, due to the rigors of school (homework, studying, etc.).  Others assume that practices and games will keep them in  shape throughout the season.  All are mistaken.

The nature of muscle is this: Use it or lose it.

In-season strength training isn’t about having time… it’s about making time.  Working out during your season will help you maintain the strength you developed during the off-season.  Additionally, three or four months of practices and games — five or six days a week — will wear you down.  In-season strength training can help your body withstand the physical stress of a season’s worth of sport-specific activity.

Research has shown that one strength training session per week is adequate to maintain strength and speed, during the season.  The key is to maintain the intensity (weight) of your workout, while decreasing the volume (frequency, sets, reps).  Also, focus on exercises that work multiple muscle groups and joints, like the squat, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, bench press, and row.  You can resume assistance and impact exercises once your competition season is over.

Get in the weight room, get your work done, and get out.  The duration of your in-season workout should not exceed about 30 minutes.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Taper Your Training Regimen for Peak Performance

12 Oct

Straight Bar Deadlift

Tapering is an important component of the training process. It involves the systematic reduction of training frequency, duration, and intensity combined with an increased emphasis on sport-specific skill development and nutritional intervention. The objective of tapering the training regimen is to attain peak performance during the competition season.

As a general rule, your strength and conditioning activity (frequency, duration, etc.) should be at its highest level during your off-season, when sport specific activity (practices, games, etc.) is typically at its lowest level.  As you progress toward the pre-season phase (usually 4-8 weeks prior to the beginning of the season), your strength training should gradually taper down until the season begins.  At that point, your strength training activity should be at its lowest level, relative to your yearly cycle. At Athletic Performance Training Center we typically observe three phases: Off-season, pre-season, and in-season. That being said, it’s not quite that simple — in reality — when you factor in multiple sports and “off-season” activities like AAU basketball and JO volleyball. Nevertheless, your goal should be to build strength during the off- and pre-season phases, and (at least) maintain strength during the in-season phase.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

The Fallacy of Workout Duration

10 Aug

gym-weight-plate-clock[1]More is not necessarily better, when it comes to strength and conditioning.

Many trainers would have their clients believe that hour-long (or more) workouts are required to get results.  Sadly, I know of a trainer – a PhD, no less – who has gone on record saying that workouts lasting less than an hour are a waste of time.  And this individual is not the only trainer conveying this misinformation.

There is no support, in the scientific literature, that “more is better.”  As a matter of fact, there can be a diminishing return as workout frequency and volume increase.

The key is to focus on effort, not time.

You can get the same – or better – results in less time, but you have to work hard.  Think workout intensity instead of workout duration.

More importantly, your training should incorporate task-specificity: The appropriate weight, repetitions, sets, rest intervals, and exercise selection, based on your desired goal/outcome. (a qualified, knowledgeable strength and conditioning professional can help!)

Work hard and work smart.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Skip In-Season Strength Training

19 Aug

9070245-large[1]Once again, the summer was a blur and the fall-sports season is upon us.  Hundreds of athletes have spent the summer at my facility, working hard to get stronger and faster, in order to improve their athletic performance on the field or court this fall.  And, invariably, many of them will make the same mistake as they begin their competition season: They will suspend their training until the season is over.

Some will say they don’t have time, due to the rigors of school (homework, studying, etc.).  Others assume that practices and games will keep them in  shape throughout the season.  All are mistaken.

The nature of muscle is this: Use it or lose it.

In-season strength training isn’t about having time… it’s about making time.  Working out during your season will help you maintain the strength you developed during the off-season.  Additionally, three months of practices and games — five or six days a week — will wear you down.  In-season strength training can help your body withstand the physical stress of a season’s worth of sport-specific activity.

Research has shown that one strength training session per week is adequate to maintain strength and speed, during the season.  The key is to maintain the intensity (weight) of your workout, while decreasing the volume (frequency, sets, reps).  Also, focus on exercises that work multiple muscle groups and joints, like the squat, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, bench press, and row.  You can resume assistance and impact exercises once your competition season is over.

Get in the weight room, get your work done, and get out.  The duration of your in-season workout should not exceed about 30 minutes.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Taper Your Training Regimen for Peak Performance

24 Jul

rosie-chee_training-deadlift-1[1]Tapering is an important component of the training process. It involves the systematic reduction of training frequency, duration, and intensity combined with an increased emphasis on sport-specific skill development and nutritional intervention. The objective of tapering the training regimen is to attain peak performance during the competition season.

As a general rule, your strength and conditioning activity (frequency, duration, etc.) should be at its highest level during your off-season, when sport specific activity (practices, games, etc.) is typically at its lowest level.  As you progress toward the pre-season phase (usually 4-8 weeks prior to the beginning of the season), your strength training should gradually taper down until the season begins.  At that point, your strength training activity should be at its lowest level, relative to your yearly cycle. At Athletic Performance Training Center we typically observe three phases: Off-season, pre-season, and in-season. That being said, it’s not quite that simple — in reality — when you factor in multiple sports and “off-season” activities like AAU basketball and JO volleyball. Nevertheless, your goal should be to build strength during the off- and pre-season phases, and (at least) maintain strength during the in-season phase.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Stop Training In-Season

15 Oct

You’ve spent the entire off-season working hard at your Strength and Conditioning program.  You’ve improved your Strength, Speed, Agility, and Athleticism.  Your confidence level is high.  Now it’s time for the competition, in-season period, including all the pre-season, regular-season, and post-season games.  Most sports have long seasons, spanning 3-4 months or more.  There are several good reasons to continue Strength training throughout the season:

Strength Maintenance

Research indicates that Strength training just one day per week is adequate for athletes to maintain off-season Strength gains.  Additionally, two Strength training days per week can help athletes continue to build strength throughout the season.  Although volume (sets) and frequency (days) should be reduced, it’s important to maintain the intensity level of your workout.  If your off-season workout incorporated bench press sets of 150 lbs., reducing the weight during the season will not help you maintain the same level of strength.  In-season Strength training not only keeps you strong, it helps you endure the “grind” of the season and avoid wearing down.

Injury Prevention

In-season Strength training – especially a program designed and supervised by a Strength and Conditioning professional – should be balanced.  That means you should be performing both push and pull exercises (we refer to this as agonist-antagonist paired sets).  This approach is both effective and efficient.

Use It or Lose It

Use it or lose it… that’s the nature of muscle.  Season-long participation in practices and games will not keep you strong.  Conversely, it will wear you down.  In-season Strength training is necessary to maintain Strength, Speed, and Agility.  Detraining also has the potential to increase body fat and weight and decrease VO2peak and metabolic rate, according to Ormsbee and Arciero (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research).

Make Time

You can’t wait until you “have” time.  You’ve got to make in-season Strength training a priority.  One or two 30 minute workouts per week is all you need.  Put the power, plyometric, and assistance exercises on the shelf until the off-season.  Core, multi-joint Strength building exercises – like the squat, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, bench press, and row – should comprise most of your workout.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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).

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Next: Exercise Order

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