Training Frequency

Since the surge of information surrounding overtraining/overreaching this last five years, I think a common misconception about training frequency has developed. I'm an advocate of careful programming to ensure that an athlete's performance is not affected negatively by the exposure to high volume/high frequency training, however this does not mean that one should sit on their arse because they've already training three times this week.

A good coach will (or should) monitor your fatigue status both subjectively and objectively each and every time you train. This may be in the form of questionnaires or assessments such as vertical jumps and bar velocity scores. You should be providing your coach with regular feedback about your ability to recovery after training sessions, whether you're experiencing muscle/joint soreness, have the onset of a cold, feeling irritable or whether your social presence has changed. All of these are indications of fatigue as a result of your current training programme or external factors including sleep, nutrition, your ability to tolerate stress and physical activity outside of the weight room. No matter what the outcome, this information is only useful if your coach is capable of prescribing the necessary interventions to make the most out of the current situation.

Should be be excessively fatigued in that it's affecting your progress on the platform, a number of clever tricks can be applied to allow you to train at a high intensity (%1RM) without causing you to 'burn the candle at both ends'. These may include:

  • Performing concentric-only exercises

  • Lifting from Blocks

  • Using Straps

  • Working at a reduced RPE for that given load whilst maintaining volume (for example, 10 sets of 1 @ 90% compared with 5 sets of 2 at the same intensity)

  • Prescribing deload/back off periods in which intensity is maintained but training volume is reduced by 40-60%

  • Selecting exercises that have less demand on the central nervous system (i.e. Block Power Snatch compared with Hang Snatches)

Success in Olympic Weightlifting, and other sports that involve complex movement patterns and skills rely on repetition, and shit loads of them! In addition, these repetitions need to be executed with near perfection every time as bad reps only develop bad habits.

This means that no matter how you feel, you need to get your ass in the gym and practise. Often.

Rest days do not translate to sitting in your favourite arm chair topping up your oestrogen levels by watching the latest episode of Love Island. Rest days are an opportunity to get to the gym and pick up an empty bar and practise drills that will help you become a better lifter. Rest days are miniature breaks from reading the programme card that your coach has sent to you and performing a productive but low intensity session that will help prepare you for when you next walk onto the platform.

Muscular strength, size, motor-skills and ultimately athleticism is not made in the kitchen or when you're sleeping, or whatever else some dog shit instagram PT tells you in his/her latest meme. Theyre developed on the platform, track, field and squat rack. It takes a lot of time, a lot of practise. You'll experience many frustrations along the way. Not every session will be great, in fact, you may only train well one in every five, but the important thing is that you're in the gym developing habits whilst everyone else sits at home wishing.

Here at Cheshire Barbell we offer unlimited coaching sessions no matter what membership package you chose. If your current PT is promising you results upon you purchasing just one session per week with them then they are lying to you. You will achieve nothing training with this frequency.

Train smart and train aggressively or accept the fact that you will never achieve your goal(s).

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