Wednesday, February 3, 2016

High-Frequency Training Trouble

Telltale Signs That Your High-Frequency Training Might Be Causing You Trouble!

     In my previous post, I listed some of the benefits of HFT (high-frequency training).  The benefits are great—trust me, and I don't want to discourage anyone from setting foot on the HFT path.  But, to be honest, this kind of training is always best utilized by lifters who know their bodies well, who understand when to push it hard and when it's time to back-off.
     This is not to say, of course, that HFT shouldn't be done by any lifters who are not advanced.  While it's not the form of training I recommend for the beginner—that would typically be 3-days-per-week, heavy-light-medium training—its perfectly fine for intermediate lifters.  (While I'm on the subject of "beginners" and "intermediate", realize that you are still a beginner if you haven't built an appreciable amount of muscle and/or strength, no matter how long you've trained—even if it's years.)  However, when lifters who are not advanced take up this form of training, I've noticed one of two things sometimes happen.  Either the lifter (a) doesn't push him/herself hard at all because he/she is concerned about "overtraining", performing such little work that they might as well not even train, or (b) the lifter goes overboard, and does too much training, leading to possible overtraining and/or injuries.
     What follows here is for our "b" lifters:
Bradley Steiner to the Rescue
Bradley Steiner on the cover of his training booklet "12 Keys to Bodybuilding Success".

     When I was younger—and when Iron Man Magazine still kicked ass in its sheer amount of training information—Bradley J. Steiner was one of my favorite authors to read.  His column, and occasional articles, were all informative in the pages of Iron Man, and were frequently entertaining to boot.  While I didn't always agree with the man (and probably disagree with him even more as I grow older and—hopefully—wiser), a lot of his opinions held a great deal of validity.
     He once wrote that there were 5 "telltale signs of training trouble"—warning signals that you were headed towards serious problems if you didn't make adjustments to your program.
     Here are the 5 training problems (in Steiner's own words) that must be nipped in the bud, and I find these to be highly applicable when it comes to HFT:

1. "You experience deep-felt fatigue and exhaustion following your normal workout.  Proper training should leave you with a pleasant muscle fatigue, and no more.  Within an hour, you should be feeling exhilarated and vibrant."

2. "You lack the desire to train.  The idea of a hard workout appeals to you about as much as that of painting your house or mowing the grass on a football field.  Rather than looking forward to a good workout, you look for ways to avoid the gym or to slide through the exercises with less than top effort."

3. "The weights seem extraordinarily heavy.  They feel so heavy that you have to use very sloppy form to get out the desired number of sets and reps.  This should happen occasionally, as there are times when you have more or less energy.  When it happens frequently, however, look out."

4. "You feel totally wiped on your non-training days between workouts.  In this case, your recuperative powers are not working right, and you're probably overtrained."

5. "You make zero progress for long periods.  If you stop making gains or find yourself regressing, your training is definitely off base."

     If you are going to set off on a course of High-Frequency Training, you would do well to always keep these 5 signs of training trouble in the back of your mind.

"Telltale Signs of Training Trouble" by Bradley J. Steiner, published in the November, 1991 issue of IronMan Magazine.

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