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The Effects of Self-selection for Frequency of Training in a Winter Conditioning Program for Football.

Hoffman, Jay R.; Kraemer, William J.; Fry, Andrew C.; Deschenes, Michael; Kemp, Michael
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 1990
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Information concerning frequency of training for resistance trained individuals is relatively unknown. Problems in designing training programs for student athletes are frequently encountered due to differential time constraints placed upon them. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of self-selection of resistance training frequency on muscular strength. Sixty-one members of an NCAA. Division IAA football team participated in a 10-week winter conditioning program. Each subject was given the option of choosing from a three-day (3d, n=12) four-day (4d, n=15), five-day (5d, n=23) or six-day (6d, n=ll) per week resistance training program. In addition to the strength training, the subjects participated in a football conditioning program twice a week. Testing was conducted before and after the 10-week training program. Field tests common to football off-season conditioning programs were utilized to evaluate strength (1 RM squat and bench press), speed (40-yard sprint), endurance (two-mile run), vertical jump and anthropometric measurements. Posttests revealed significant changes for the 3d group in decreased time for the two-mile run (2mi), decreased sum of skinfolds (SF) and an increased chest girth (CH). The 4d program revealed significant decreases in body weight, 2mi, SF, and increases in 1 RM squat, CH and thigh girths (TH). The 5d group significantly decreased 2mi, and SF, and increased both 1 RM squat and bench press and CH and TH. The 6d group revealed significant decreases in 2mi, and SF, and an increase in 1 RM squat. Of the total variables measured, 4d and 5d frequency groups revealed the greatest amount of improvement. In conclusion, when resistance training frequency is self-selected by athletes (i.e., college football players) it appears that four or five days per week are the optimal choices for developing strength, endurance and muscle mass.

(C) 1990 National Strength and Conditioning Association