In the quest to make exercise the top on the priority list, there is no doubt the odd week where regular schedules are altered by other issues that arise. Quite often, there may be a situation where the week is almost out, the set 2 sessions are not yet achieved, and Thursday and Friday are the remaining 2 days for potential exercise. The general consensus tends to be the thought that is it not favourable to exercises on 2 consecutive days as you will be too sore or may risk injury, however that isn’t the recommended course at Optimum.
Exercise Frequency as a whole
Training frequency is the amount of sessions the client may complete in one week. Factors influencing the recommendation of optimal frequency by the Exercise Physiologist and clients’ needs include:
– The clients goal
– Types of exercises required to achieve this goal
– The number of muscle groups trained per session
– The structure of the program – volume/intensity
– The client’s training age / overall fitness level
– Work hours
– Psychological, academic, life stresses
The recommendation of consecutive days by the Exercise Physiologist will usually be made based on the individuals work and family schedule, as well as training age and overall fitness level, as novice exercises will generally require longer periods to recover. However, there will no doubt come a time where 2-3 days of consecutive exercise are the only option in order to complete sessions for the week and continue progressing to the set goal.
The research has consistently shown, in general, 48 to 72 hours is the optimal recovery period following strength training for a muscle group to fully recover, adapt, and get stronger, otherwise it may be counterproductive and contribute to things such as injury risk, loss of muscle mass, and other negative physiological responses.
Even when a low volume of strength training is performed, if the loads are very heavy or moved at a high velocity, the central nervous system is stimulated and needs time to recover from the stress of the session. If not enough time is allowed, appropriate adaptations may not have a chance to take place and this may again be counterproductive.
The Exercise Physiologist has a number of solutions to the potential negatives and ensure this is achievable, whilst continuing to move toward the goal and minimizing risk. These may involve:
– Altering training sessions to be somewhat of a ‘split’ routine, compared with full-body – Whilst maintaining same volume/training stimulus e.g. separating ‘push and pull’ exercises, ensuring rest of involved muscle groups.
– Substituting one mode of exercise for another e.g. adding additional mobility work as a trade of for lower volume in strength work to work on achieving greater range of motion in a given strength exercise
– Altering training variables e.g. velocity and load in a given movement can be changed to achieve benefits, pending on the goal
– Altering volume on exercises which cause particular stress to the body e.g. maintaining heavy weight in a barbell squat, but reducing volume, so that progress is maintained and technique can continue to be improved
Not everyone is training to be an athlete, but the above principles can be used to ensure there is no sessions missed and the individual continues moving toward the set goal without losing progress. The Exercise Physiologist will assist in implementing these principles where necessary, for best outcomes.