Training Variables (How To Always Improve)

Given a long enough timeline, regardless of talent or advantage, every athlete will encounter a barrier to their progression at multiple stages in their development. This article will introduce an organisational strategy that when applied to your training plan can help you to work around these plateaus.

This article builds on topics discussed in ‘Basic Training Theory’, I recommend reading that first in order to place the information in the proper context.

In the previous article I mentioned that homeostasis can be circumvented through applying the principle of progressive overload to your training. I used the example of slowly adding weight to an exercise over time, in strength training this is known as linear progression.

Any kind of physical training can be measured and defined by 3 variables:

  • Volume The amount of training done in any specific session or period.
  • Intensity – The level of difficulty or resources required to recover.
  • Frequency – The number of training sessions in any time period.

In the example I gave for linear progression, the volume and frequency would remain the same whilst the intensity increases over time. As I mentioned in the previous article, this will only work for so long because once the load is heavy enough the stimulus will be too great for the body to effectively recover from.

high-overload

Image Source: www.gohardgetstrong.com

Another example of this issue is when an athlete trains bodyweight pull ups and continues to add to the volume by performing more reps or sets. They will not be able to do this indefinitely as the volume will eventually become too high to recover from.

So how do we continue to progress once the stimulus becomes too great to recover from effectively?

Change the variable you are focussed on developing.

In the first example I gave, the athlete could reduce the weight (intensity) and increase the reps or sets of the exercise (volume). In the second example, the athlete could decrease the reps and sets (volume), and then begin to add weight (intensity) over time.

This is also directly applicable to parkour. If you are stuck and cannot seem to meet the difficulty of the movements you want to perform (intensity), perhaps you can work on increasing the amount of training you do within your comfort zone (volume).

A final word on Frequency; this variable is incredibly useful. It can allow you to slowly build the overall volume of practice you can perform at a higher intensity whilst allowing for recovery. For example, rather than performing 25 repetitions of heavy squats in a single session every week, you may be able to build up to performing 50-75 total repetitions over several sessions throughout the week.

If you have any further questions about this article, or if you are interested in how I can help apply these concepts to your training, please feel free to contact me via email. movementpowerful @ gmail.com

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