Sunday, December 19, 2010

Deep Thoughts on Training Frequency and Volume

Maybe it's the French-Canadian accent that makes me think that I'm really listening to Georges St. Pierre in these videos from T-Nation's Christian Thibaudeau. But I'm finding Thibaudeau's ruminations on training for power and mass to actually be potentially relevant to training for jiu jitsu. Specifically, the notion of how to best use training frequency and volume to achieve the maximum amount of "muscle development"/"muscle memory" in the shortest possible time.

At the end of the day, this is all about the same thing: drill, drill, drill. But in terms of coming up with ways to drill every day, to make each training session a real building block toward a concrete goal, that is the real trick, I think. Rafa Mendes and Draculino talk about it in that Gracie Mag issue on training a little bit. But as far as training more frequently and more efficiently in 2011, spending some time over the holiday's thinking about some of these issues could be time very well spent.

Neural Charge Training
In the simplest terms, the key to maximum gains lies with increased training frequency and volume. Frequency and volume are obviously tied together, but of the two, frequency is by far the most important factor.

I can accomplish everything I need to maximize gains through increased frequency, which in effect equates to also increasing volume. It's far more effective, at the extreme level, to perform three 30-minute workouts per day than to do the same volume in one 90-minute workout.

Likewise, it's more effective to spread the amount of time per week you devote to training over more days than fewer. For example, let's say that you're currently training four days per week for an hour each workout, a total of four hours per week.

I'm telling you, from my experience, you'd make a lot better progress performing six 40-minute workouts per week. You'd make even greater progress training 35 minutes per day, seven days a week.

Face it, when we lift weights, all we're doing is asking our body to react to the stimulus and grow muscle. Which would you rather do? Ask (stimulate) your body to grow four times per week or six times per week?

Again, substitute "lift weights" for "train jiu jitsu" and "grow muscle" to "develop muscle memory" (or circuitry, if you're tracking any of this from Talent Code perspective).