Understanding The Importance of Proper Frequency, Intensity, and Volume Regulation
Strength training is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your body. For an athlete, an adequately written training program provides you with the strength development necessary to run faster, jump higher, and have the ability to exert high levels of absolute strength on demand. The problem is, a properly written training program can be challenging to come by. Often, athletes find themselves using subpar methods and ideas in the pursuit of strength.
When this happens, the chance for injury rises tremendously. As an athlete, using subpar training methods that mismanage recovery times, use inferior exercises, or don’t correctly adjust frequency, volume, and intensity levels will ultimately lead to failure. At best, you will experience slow or stagnated gains in strength; at worst, you will injure yourself.
The question then becomes, what can an athlete control to make sure they are not putting themselves at risk of wasted training time or injury? Below, we will provide some advice to ensure you have success with your training program.
One of the key controlling factors of training plan success is training frequency. Typically, athletes new to strength training conclude that if training sometimes is good, training all the time will be even better. While it is understandable how a beginner could come to that conclusion, mismanaged training frequency can be one of the fastest ways to experience burnout or become injured.
At Westside, we have found that four strength training focused days per week is most optimal in the training of all athletes. In season, athletes should keep total training sessions to four strength training days per week. Once the athlete reaches the off season, an extra conditioning day or two can be added to the training plan to provide a similar amount of weekly activity experienced in season.
If you understand the science behind strength training, you know the importance of absolute strength and its role in developing all other strengths. For this reason, having proper training intensity exposure and regulation is possibly the most critical factor of any performance-focused training program.
To develop increased absolute strength levels, the name of the game is motor unit recruitment. More motor units are required to perform the task by exposing the body to higher intensity levels, leading to positive absolute strength adaptations. While training heavy is important, that does not mean maxing out every time you lift.
One of the most common mistakes any beginner or intermediate to barbell training will make is improper intensity regulation. If you choose to go heavy too often, you will experience higher levels of accumulated fatigue, leading to decreased training performance and results over time. Choosing to go too light too often is nearly as bad. By avoiding high-intensity training, an athlete is leaving themselves unprepared and weak, a recipe for disaster.
Once training frequency and intensity are correctly regulated, the final thing to tackle is the overall training volume of the program. Volume is the amount of work done in a workout. This is typically calculated by multiplying the weight lifted by the number of reps performed, adding up the volume for each exercise performed to calculate the overall volume for the training session.
Similar to the idea that athletes cannot develop high levels of absolute strength without exposure to proper training intensities, they cannot develop high levels of strength endurance, muscle mass, and cardiovascular preparedness without adequate training volume levels to match their sporting requirements. As the athlete becomes stronger and in better shape, volume must continue to increase to keep the training effective.
When adjusting training volume at Westside, we always focus on changing the accessory work included in each training day. Typically, our ME and DE main exercises are set in stone to meet certain training parameters necessary to develop the specific strengths targeted. By selecting different accessory exercises regularly and progressively increasing the overall volume, you will build the mass and endurance required to succeed in your main exercises.
Westside Barbell Book of Methods; by Louie Simmons
Special Strength Development For All Sports; by Louie Simmons
Supertraining; by Dr. Mel Siff
Science and Practice of Strength Training; by Dr. Vladimir Zatsiorsky and Dr. William Kraemer
Tags: Programming, Conjugate Method, Training