Effective Training Frequency

CrossFit Chiltern
Effective Training Frequency

Why we only offer 3 or more classes a week memberships

I have decided to reduce our class membership options for new members to either 12 x a month or unlimited. (Current members on our Intro package can stay on this package for as long as they like.) This was a decision that I thought long and hard over. The reason for doing so is primarily because I have always wanted to ensure that everyone who trains with us achieves results. This can only be done with a high frequency of training.

We offer on average 26 different workouts per month and the programming is designed to enable everyone who trains with us to improve their fitness across all 10 components: Strength, speed, mobility, agility, power, balance, coordination, accuracy, cardiovascular endurance and stamina. In addition, we need to be training in the 3 different energy systems: ATP, anaerobic and aerobic. Considering these factors, we then have to ensure we cover the main movement patterns of squat, hinge, carry, push and pull.

Once we have this basic framework to the programming you then have to look at the main movements involved in CrossFit. If we just look at the basic lifts without their variations, the main gymnastic movements and mono-structural work there are over 40 movements which we cover regularly in workouts.

Taking all this into account you can build a picture of how training infrequently can be detrimental:


There is a huge number of movements that complement each other in CrossFit. For example, any time you squat you are developing that pattern which transfers to your other squat based movements. The same for pulling, pushing etc. However, to see consistent progress in specific movements you need to be practising those. Training just a few times a month will mean that you might go weeks between certain skills. Anything you practice as sporadically as this is not going to yield great improvement.

Rest to work ratio is too great

In CrossFit we consider the ideal work to rest ratio as 3:1. That means 3 days with a workout and 1-day rest. This could be split in different ways. But basically, means you should be resting a maximum of 2 days per week. Rest days are not necessarily days where you spend the whole day on the sofa, it could just be the day you go for a jog, bike ride or any activity that is of lower intensity. Sometimes for me I just go easy on one of the WODs to keep moving but allow my body to recover. Our programming in planned in such a way that we always include a workout that allows you to go slower and recover if you need to.

Having a 1:3 work to rest ratio is just not enough to see the changes we want to see with your fitness.

Injury Rate increases as training frequency decreases

A recent study shows that the injury rates for athletes training fewer than 3 times a week is at least 2 to 3 times greater than for those training more frequently (See Figure 1). This be attributed to multiple factors, but I would suggest one of the most common causes would be that athletes would be entering workouts performing movements they have not touched for weeks. This could mean they have inferior technique, lesser understanding of the appropriate load and also just the large breaks between similar workouts. Training more frequently allows you to maintain condition in the soft tissue.

Another interesting point to note for all athletes is how small the injury rate actually is. For most athletes it is less than 1 per 1000 workout hours!

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I want results for all athletes

My priority for everybody who trains at the box is to see measurable results in your fitness. I know that to do this we need people to be training with us often. We cannot be treating CrossFit workouts like spin or other regular gym classes. Dipping your toe in now and again will not yield success. I have looked back over the year since we opened and reviewed our results and member retention. People training frequently show significantly better results and stay with us for much longer. These two elements go hand in hand, success breeds motivation. If you compare training hours; two athletes training for 1 year, 1 athlete training 2 x a week will complete just over 100 hours, someone training 5 x a week will complete over 250 hours.

I want all our clients to hit performance goals regularly, therefore I want to ensure we only offer memberships that I am confident will bring success.

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