Understanding how much training is just right for you, your friend, your client or your child is difficult. I completely appreciate that, in the past I have regularly spoken to Simon, one of our coaches about the topic of fatigue indexes and measurements and the simplest response I have had to date was,
Just ask them how they are feeling, it's pretty subjective but usually right.
Many moons ago I actually wrote about how frustrated I was, watching swimmers, young, junior swimmers, training for hours and hours per day, every day. How they were amounting almost 20 hours every week then suddenly you see competitive swimmers retiring at the age of 23, that's 5 years before physiological prime!!! I am not going to explain any more of the above, on this occasion but here I am, in 2019 and something has changed. Have we reacted in our normal, extreme, knee-jerk manner, I think so. We now have children training once, may be twice per week for a total of 2.5 hours. That simply isn't enough to make a difference. Especially when I observe some of these training sessions, 30 minutes is a waste of zero-intensity chatting and walking with the rest made of facilitated drills and instructions.
That isn't coaching, athletes are not made that way.
Training has to be compiled on varying levels of intensity, drills, preventative work, strengthening and capacity opportunities. To focus on one area, leaves another vulnerable, I completely understand that time isn't always available but wasting so much time at group training is just mindless and in my opinion border negligent...OK that's probably an exaggeration but I'm frustrated because these junior athletes should all just train with us instead of the staying within the poor environments they are in. Where social skills, leadership, responsibility PLUS technical and physiological improvements are not developed.
Like all personal trainers and coaches, we want more time with the athlete to help them achieve their goal and I totally understand that isn't logistically or financially viable a lot of the time, this is why group training has to be efficient and effective.
If you or your children want to develop, make improvements in sport, physically develop then time at intensity under direction is critical. The old 10,000 rule is pretty flawed, I don't follow it. I do however know, that you need to spend well over 3 hours per week training. Development is all about adaptation and in order for that to occur you need to dedicate real time and effort in your week.
When I trained for Decathlon, my training week was pretty full on. It taught me an awful lot about periodisation, how to maximise training intensity and most of all HOW to maximise training opportunities using different components of fitness within each session. The most important factor there, speed training. Train speed and power 3 - 5 times per week and you will improve those facets. Reduce recovery time in between those reps and although maximal speed will not improve at such a good and fast rate, you will also begin to improve general conditioning. However, please take note that, that's effectively 5 hours per week as an immediate start and if you want to see results, you need to really overload the component of fitness for a period of time.
Overtraining was shouted about in all the fitness magazines and in fact, the chance of overtraining or fatiguing is so so little if done properly that no one need worry. Save overtraining for serious athletes. Unless you've never exercised before, you can actually train back to back days, I mean you can even train the same muscle group, twice even three times in a week and not overtrain! A great example of this was from Krieger et al (2018) who found for maximal hypertrophy to occur, rather than training several muscle groups every week, focus on the same muscle group, perform 30 sets of 10 repetitions every week and they will improve. I did this and noticed improvements within 8 weeks of doing this. I sure didn't feel fatigued, I actually felt better for it and more motivated because I saw results so quickly! My point is simple, if you want to improve you need to dedicate far greater time to it. I am witnessing far too many individuals training too infrequently. Swimming may have had too much but other sports just train too little to make a difference IF you want to improve at a decent rate. It does take sacrifice and at time it can be difficult or mundane but that's also why so few people succeed.
Participating for fun, that is no problem. Do what you enjoy, stay active and have fun. I have nothing against that, I am a proponent of that. If you want to train with myself or one of the Performance Physique coaches then just drop us an e-mail to Info@PerformancePhysique.co.uk and we'll be happy to help you attain your goals! Train Hard, Arj @Performance_Physique