When trying to improve in a specific area, the simplest option is to do more work in that area.
Which seems obvious, but we’ve all been through the “my muscle-up sucks so I’m going to do more muscleups ok two weeks was good I’m going to “run out of time” and lift instead because I like that better oh man my muscleup suck so I’m going to do more muscleups….”
If handstand pushups are a giant weakness, doing them once a week isn’t going to improve them. If aerobic capacity is holding you back, going 20+ minutes of continuous effort once or twice a week is not going to yield the same dividends as going the distance three or four times.
Provided that the athlete isn’t being dumb with the work they’re doing (“I suck at handstand pushups so I’m going to do 50 every day until I get better”), generally speaking the more work they put into something, the more improvement they’ll make.
Before you add work, you’ll need to know what work is programmed, so following a program a week behind is almost necessary otherwise it’s a giant guessing game and things will get complicated.
Increasing the frequency of work typically comes in four forms: modifying the workout already programmed, adding an additional piece of work, double sessions, or adding an additional day of training. To keep things simple, I’ve explained each and then listed the pros and cons of each below:
Modifying the Workout Already Programmed
This is substituting a weaker movement for a stronger one, shortening a workout or making it into intervals to promote power production, or lengthening a workout to promote endurance.
-Easiest to design, the meat and potatoes of the work is already there
-Less possibility of interference with other work
-Most balanced, Not necessarily doing more or less work, just more specific work
-Can begin to miss out on important work, e.g. if all the rowing becomes power development intervals, athlete will eventually become deconditioned to endurance based rowing.
-Skill development can begin to slide because of substituting one skill for another
-May not give the athlete the stimulus they need in the right context, aka it’s easier to modify certain workouts than other, aka you can’t shine a turd.
Athletes perform two separate sessions on one or multiple days per week.
-Recovery between workouts will improve the physical quality of both training sessions.
-Mental break between efforts
-Warm-up/prep work can be more specific to the work being done
-At the gym more often so can experience a greater part of the gym’s community, e.g. Not always going to the same class time
-Impractical for most people
-Athlete may not be advanced enough to benefit from two sessions, or have the ability to recover well enough to make double sessions worthwhile
-Can contribute to the prevalent “more is better” mentality and people just end up tired, slow and/or injured instead of training and improving.
Additional Day of Training
A rest/recovery day becomes a training day.
-More practical than double sessions
-More time to recover between sessions
-Can simplify programming because there isn’t other work to compete with
-It can take away a day dedicated to recovery as to not interfere with the following day
-Work on these days should be longer and lower intensity – the athlete may not have the discipline, maturity, or knowledge to keep it low intensity.