ASK COACH HARRY: HOW MANY TIMES SHOULD I TRAIN PER WEEK?
As we are coming into Term 1, I thought it would be good timing to write up an article on a really crucial question that I get asked constantly: how many times per week should I train?
Specifically, when answering this question, I am going to be talking about athletic development [fitness] training.
Finding the right amount of training for you at specific points in time throughout the year is like Goldilocks trying to find the perfect porridge. Train too little and you won’t be able to reach your full potential. You’ll also open yourself up to an increased risk of injury. Train too much and you’ll reduce your performance levels, while also increasing your risk of burnout and injury. However, if you train the right amount, you’ll optimise your performance, minimise your injury risk and set yourself up for success.
Sounds simple, right? Well, unfortunately, there is no magic formula to figuring out the perfect amount of training for each individual. There are countless variables that will go into determining how often you should be training.
Some of these variables include: your level of training experience; your age; your level of external stress [school, work, friends, family, etc]; as well as how often you are training for your sport.
Your answers to the above [and many more!] variables will ultimately give your coach an idea on how often you should be training. However, in a bid to avoid complete deflection of the question, as a guide, I usually recommend 2-4 training sessions per week. These sessions will focus on developing your strength, speed, conditioning and general athleticism.
For example: during their pre-season, a 15 year old athlete could train 4x per week. This is compared to another 15 year old athlete, that is currently in-season with exams fast approaching, who I would recommend train 2x per week with relatively less training intensity.
Understanding that the schedules of youth and their parents are seemingly busier than ever, a follow up question that I often receive is: is it even worth training 1x per week?
The answer is always yes. Even though this amount is not ideal, once per week is certainly better than not-at-all.
Remember, more is not always better. With that being said, I would say that 70% of the youth athletes I see on a regular basis would get massive benefits from doing 1-2 more sessions each week.
Depending on the situation, this could be in the form of a 20-minute mobility session after sport training, sprint training on the field, body weight and core training at home, or one of our classes.
So, how many times should you train a week?
As you know now, I cannot directly answer this question for all of you in a blog post, however, I hope you now have a bit more of an understanding and can use this general guide to help you out.
If you need some more assistance figuring our the perfect number training sessions for your current goals and abilities, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can help you directly with figuring out the best training plan as we move ahead into Term 1.
See you in the gym!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harry Weatherstone is the founder of the Youth Athletic Development Academy and the head Strength and Conditioning Coach at St. Andrew’s Anglican College. He is an ASCA accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach and has a Bachelors Degree in Sport and Exercise Science and Sport Management. Harry has been a sports coach for the last nine years, surrounding himself in high performance sport, athletic development and performance throughout New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and now Queensland. He has dedicated the last six years of his life to creating this movement in youth athletic development; investing countless hours into his own professional development to create the best programs possible for his students, athletes and clients.