Sunday, September 26, 2010

High Frequency Training That Works

First off —for those of you who enjoy reading my blog—forgive me for my lack of posts. I have been inundated as of late with work (I have a regular job, and have had to rotate shifts recently—which really blows!) and with family obligations (both of my sons play football, so I have multiple practices—and games—to attend). So, when I have had time to write, I have been working on articles. On top of that, add in the fact that I try to fit in 3 to 4 workouts per week, and, well, this blog just kind of took a back seat. Hopefully, however, I can fit in at least 3 or 4 posts per month from now. So—with that out of the way—on with this latest post...

High Frequency Training That Works

Most of you know that I have long been a proponent of high-frequency training. While I don't think that it has to be performed all the time—and there are certainly other ways to train—I do think that it's one of the more effective forms of training. For instance, I would say that a properly designed high-frequency training program is more effective than a properly designed one-bodypart-per-week routine—at least, for most lifters.

The key words here are properly designed. What follows are some keys—in no certain order—to allow you to properly design your own workout program based on your needs, goals, and your level of strength/fitness:

  • You cannot combine high-volume with high-frequency... at least, at first. If you want to embark on a high-frequency training program, keep your sets per bodypart relatively low until you are able to build up your work capacity.
  • At first, stick with a whole-body program. You can't go wrong with a Bill Starr-style heavy-light-medium program to start things off right.
  • Perform between 30 and 50 reps per bodypart three times per week.
  • If you are solely interested in gaining muscle mass, then 5 sets of 10 reps is a good set/rep combination.
  • If you are interested in a combination of size and strength, perform multiple sets of low reps. 10 sets of 3 is a standby that cannot be beat.
  • If you decide upon a 10 sets of 3 program, use a weight where you reach failure on the 6th repetition.
  • As you get more advanced, you can start adding back-off sets for more volume. For instance, you could start off with 10 sets of 3, then add 2 back-off sets of 8 reps with a lower weight.
  • Once you adapt to high-frequency training, incorporate heavy singles into your program. These are a must if you want to get as strong as possible.
  • As you get more advanced, you can also begin to add extra sessions. These should be light—nothing too taxing— and can be performed on your "off" days.
  • Once you become advanced, you can start splitting your bodyparts, training half of them on one day, and half on the next. This, of course, also means training 5 to 6 days per week, but if you have the time, it can be highly effective.
  • And, finally, the best piece of advice I (or anyone else) can give you: be creative and have fun. Training should be enjoyable—even when it's hard. If you're not enjoying your workouts, then something's wrong. (And this goes for all kinds of training.)
If anyone has a question about HFT, don't be afraid to shoot me an e-mail.