How Often Should My Athlete Workout? A Parent’s Guide
By Mark Keil, CSCS
Posted on May 19, 2022
I’m often asked, ‘How often should my athlete workout?’.
And I get it – you want your athlete to train hard 1) so they won’t be fatigued in practices and games and 2) so they can have an edge on their competition.
But if they train hard 100% of the time, the likelihood that they will run into ‘overtraining syndrome’ increases (which is not a good thing).
Plus, you want to make sure your athlete’s Training Frequency is appropriate for their age and that it aligns with their Training Goals (which are often determined by where they are in relation to their Sport’s season).
Factors that effect Training Frequency
Your Athlete’s Age
Older athletes (High School and up) will typically strength train 1-4x/week depending on their Training Phase (more on that in a minute). Younger athletes (13 & younger) may only strength train 1-2x/week. This will really depend on the type of training and the athlete’s training age (experience).
All information below is applicable to athletes ages 14 and older.
Your Athlete’s Goal
Is your athlete trying to gain muscular size? If they are, then Training Frequency of 4x/week is common. Most Strength Coaches will break this 4x/week routine into what’s called a Lower-Upper Split (Lower-Body exercises are performed Monday and Thursday and Upper-Body exercises are performed Tuesday and Friday).
If your athlete is working to develop strength and / or power, then Training Frequency of 3-4x/week is common. Most often, training for Strength and / or Power consists of full-body workout routines performed Monday / Wednesday / Friday. While 4-day routine is possible, it must be programmed well for the athlete to replenish energy before the next training session.
Where your athlete is in relation to their Sport Season
This is probably the most important factor in determining Training Frequency. From a Strength Coach’s perspective, this is really the only question that needs to be asked. The goals (developing muscular size, strength, power, etc.) will fall into place based on the Training Phase and the Training Phases will fall into place based on where the athlete is in relation to their sport’s season.
At SportStrength, we take the sport’s season and work backwards to map out the year. You can also start with season and work forward; but, to me, the most important Training Phases come right before the start of season and if I’m going to schedule a shorter phase, I’d prefer it be an Off Season Phase.
Strength Training is broken down into the following:
Each of these seasons consist of different Training Phases. And each Training Phase has a different goal. The combination of the Training Phase and the associated goal dictate the Training Frequency.
Below you’ll find the Training Phases we use and the associated Training Frequency. It’s possible that other programs / articles / publications will differ slightly, but having worked with numerous Collegiate & Professional Sports Teams, I’ve found this to work the best.
Goal: Develop muscular size and strength
Training Frequency: 3-4x/week
Strength Phase & Max Strength Phase
Goal: Increase muscular strength
Training Frequency: 3-4x/week
Power Phase & Max Power Phase
Goal: Increase explosive power
Training Frequency: 3x/week
Goal: Maintain strength & power developed in previous phases; stay healthy for competition
Training Frequency: 1-3x/week
Recovery Phase (Post Season)
Goal: Active recovery
Training Frequency: 0-3x/week
Deciding how often your athlete should Strength Train first depends on their age. If they are in high school, then it will depend on their Training Phase which will be decided based on where they are in their Sport’s Season.
Interested in SportStrength delivering your athlete with a Sport Specific workout plan built around the Sport Season? Click here to learn more.