Tag Archives: training intensity

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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How Long Should Your Workout Take?

28 Dec

high-intensity-training[1]There are lots of workout routines that boast the ability to deliver results with just a few minutes of exercise per day.  Conversely, there are others that claim you’ll need to spend hours in the weight room to improve strength, muscle endurance, etc.

Here’s the deal: There’s no specific amount of time definitively associated with measurable progress, as it relates to strength and fitness.  Inadequate training time won’t deliver results, and too-long workouts can jeopardize performance, as well.

Don’t focus on the duration of your workout, because it’s not nearly as important as the quality of your workout.  Rather, you should identify your training goals and direct your attention to two aspects of your training:

  • The intensity level of your workout — how much stress it imposes on your body
  • The recovery time your workout requires — how much rest you need/allow between exercises and sets

The intensity level of your workout is determined by factors such as the amount of weight you lift, the speed at which you lift it, and the number of repetitions and sets.

Generally, higher intensity training requires longer recovery times between exercises and sets.

Although there’s no ideal amount of time, many strength and conditioning experts believe that 45-60 minutes should be an adequate amount of time for an effective, efficient, and focused workout.

Please see related articles, The Fallacy of Workout Duration, and How Long Should You Rest Between Exercises and Sets

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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?

Training Variety Stimulates Strength Development

22 Apr

Football-Team-Lifting-300x200[1]“Novelty or training variety are important for stimulating further strength development,” according to research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. (Harries, et. al.)

Although this information is not necessarily new, it reinforces the fact that a good strength and conditioning program should incorporate variety of exercise selection; and be periodized and progressive, in order to ensure the athlete’s physical growth and development.

Training periodization is a program design strategy in which the strength and conditioning professional incorporates variations in training specificity, intensity, and volume organized in planned periods or cycles within an overall program, to promote long-term training and performance improvements.

An example of a practical application of training periodization to an athlete’s sport season would be to adapt his or her training to address the relative demands of the sport — over an entire year — including the off-season, pre-season, in-season, and post-season phases.

Obviously, the goal of a periodized training strategy is to help the athlete achieve and maintain optimal strength and power during his or her competition period (in-season phase).  Typically, this requires further increases in training intensity with additional decreases in training volume.

As the athlete adapts to the training stimulus, the strength and conditioning professional must have a strategy of advancing the exercise loads so that improvements will continue over time.  This is referred to as training progression.

A conservative method that can be used to increase an athlete’s training load is called the 2-for-2 rule.  If the athlete can perform two or more repetitions over his or her assigned repetition goal in the last set in two consecutive workouts for a certain exercise, weight should be added to that exercise for the next training session.  (Baechle, T. and Earle, R.; Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning)

It’s worthwhile to note that post-exercise muscle soreness is related to training variety more than intensity or volume.  For this reason, strength and conditioning professionals should be careful about adding excessive, novel training movements during the athlete’s in-season phase.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

How Long Should Your Workout Take?

25 Sep

high-intensity-training[1]There are lots of workout routines that boast the ability to deliver results with just a few minutes of exercise per day.  Conversely, there are others that claim you’ll need to spend hours in the weight room to improve strength, muscle endurance, etc.

Here’s the deal: There’s no specific amount of time definitively associated with measurable progress, as it relates to strength and fitness.  Inadequate training time won’t deliver results, and too-long workouts can jeopardize performance, as well.

Don’t focus on the duration of your workout, because it’s not nearly as important as the quality of your workout.  Rather, you should direct your attention to two aspects of your training:

  • The intensity level of your workout — how much stress it imposes on your body
  • The recovery time your workout requires — how much rest you need/allow between exercises and sets

The intensity level of your workout is determined by factors such as the amount of weight you lift, the speed at which you lift it, and the number of repetitions and sets.

Generally, higher intensity training requires longer recovery times between exercises and sets.

Although there’s no ideal amount of time, many strength and conditioning experts believe that 45-60 minutes should be an adequate amount of time for an effective, efficient, and focused workout.

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?

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