Training Frequency

A question I commonly hear is “how often should I train?” The answer is as often as you can. Elite level athletes may train twice a day in more intense, focused sessions. Others might do a single longer session. According to Rob MacDonald, Training Director of Gym Jones, you need 130 hours of hard work to get fit. Some people train twice a day for 30 minutes to an hour per session, others train once a day for an hour or longer. No matter what method you choose, the work needs to be focused and intense. The program is used to ensure proper intensity levels can be achieved while balancing recovery. There is no substitute for hard work and there are no shortcuts. 

I train 5-7 days per week. Three to four hard work days, the other two are recovery. I never train hard more than two times in a row. The intensity of each workout should be high. You should feel like you cannot train hard the third day. Also, I never strength train after an endurance day. Here is an example schedule:

Monday: Power
Tuesday: Recovery
Wednesday: Power
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Power Endurance or IWT
Saturday: Endurance
Sunday: Recovery

Rarely are injuries caused by overtraining, rather, they are caused by under recovery. Recovery is up to how your body is feeling, listen to it. Three example recovery workouts are:
Row at a conversational pace for an hour.
Complete 100 perfect reps of push-ups, pull-ups and dips. focus on form and range of motion.
15 Turkish get-ups each side with a barbell or light kettle bell, taking time to stretch and foam roll between each rep.
Feel free to contact me if you wish to know more about recovery techniques.

When I played football for TCU, our off-season training schedule consisted of two hours of training per day for four days per week, with one recovery workout on Wednesday. On our long days, we would lift for an hour and run for an hour, following a similar pattern of no more than two hard days in a row. 

Monday: Lifting- Running with cutting and agility
Tuesday: Power- Hills and Stadiums
Wednesday: Recovery strides (30 minutes, max)
Thursday: Lifting- Running with cutting and agility
Friday: Lifting- No Running

There is a method to the madness on scheduling what days to lift heavy, what days to focus on power and explosion, what days to do intervals, and when to do steady state endurance. Also, an effective training plan accounts for what muscle groups to target each of these days to prevent chance of injury and achieve personal goals. Working out is simple, but training and following a plan is hard. Trust your coach and trust the process. The program has been designed with your goals in mind, the outcome will take care of itself. Focus on the process of getting better each day you show up. 

George Cullen