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What is the maximum time that could wisely be spent strength training?

babyhauler

Level 1 Valued Member
Assuming a person hired the best Strongfirst trainer and was ready to dedicate themself entirely to strength training. Physical training and healthy food only, no steroids or anything like them. Their goal is to become the strongest person in the world, or become as strong as they possibly can.

How many hours would they actually spend in the gym? How many days a week would they go?

I'm asking as a newbie because it seems like once you have done several of the heavy lifts, you have to rest, right? Or is there more and more strength training you can do?
 
It comes down to the classic line. “It’s not how much work you can do but how much work you can recover from.” It’s highly individual, but will be affected by diet, sleep, injury history and general state of your body, stress levels, age, type of training and plenty more.

I am no advocate for PEDs, but this is why so many athletes - not just bodybuilders and strength athletes - take PEDs. They can recover quicker and so train more which is obviously an advantage.
 
A lot can go into this. As mentioned, ability to recover, age, well as what the training stimulus is. Is it an hour of A&A training, sprinting, marathon training. It just depends. Usually I keep my sessions, warm up to cool down under an hour, walking or light rucking being the exception. I’m 52, full time job and a spouse with several medical issues so that is what I can afford to do without burning out. Your results will vary.
 
Their goal is to become the strongest person in the world
Probably start out with 3x 45min-1hr sessions a week. Build up to 6x a week 2+ hours with some 2 a days as you become advanced. (Hall's routine prepping for his deadlift record was long, frequent, and hard.)

Assuming you are competing for the Worlds Strongest Man title as the goal. Training will look different if you are chasing a powerlifting title record. A lot fewer lifts you need to master and a lot less athleticism that needs to be trained.

You will have a good idea in the first year or two if it is achievable if you start winning a lot of local comps. Years 3-4 you should be starting to win national competitions. 5+ years you should be competing internationally. Ideally getting podium finishes. If after 10 years you still aren't getting podiums, you probably aren't going to get that title unless something weird happens (eg. 2017 WSM, end of the Kaz era, that sort of thing ).

As for PEDs... Terry Holland once said he didn't know anyone that used them at worlds. But like... yeah... WSM has more of a "sniff" test for drugs instead of regular drug test regiment. I think there has been like 1 guy DQ'd for drugs in the life of the contest.. and he was third place.
 
It comes down to the classic line. “It’s not how much work you can do but how much work you can recover from.” It’s highly individual, but will be affected by diet, sleep, injury history and general state of your body, stress levels, age, type of training and plenty more.

I am no advocate for PEDs, but this is why so many athletes - not just bodybuilders and strength athletes - take PEDs. They can recover quicker and so train more which is obviously an advantage.
Symanoy, I understand it can vary. What about answering for yourself only then? Supposing you were going to maximize strength training uniquely for you, without PED's. How many hours a week would you train? How many days a week would you train?
 
Symanoy, I understand it can vary. What about answering for yourself only then? Supposing you were going to maximize strength training uniquely for you, without PED's. How many hours a week would you train? How many days a week would you train?
That is an incredibly individual question.
There are a couple concepts that can help understand how often you can train. Minimum Effective Volume and Maximal Recoverable Volume. You need to hit the MEV without surpassing your MRV.
If you are just starting, I'd pick up Power to the People and just do that. Once the basic program stops working, switch to a step load. All explained in the book.
 
Assuming a person hired the best Strongfirst trainer and was ready to dedicate themself entirely to strength training. Physical training and healthy food only, no steroids or anything like them. Their goal is to become the strongest person in the world, or become as strong as they possibly can.

How many hours would they actually spend in the gym? How many days a week would they go?

I'm asking as a newbie because it seems like once you have done several of the heavy lifts, you have to rest, right? Or is there more and more strength training you can do?
I would say a normal time commitment for a beginner is 30-60 minutes a session 3-4 times a week. But really what matters more is how much are you able to do consistently. We're not dealing with hypotheticals, we're dealing with people. Can YOU commit to 60 minute sessions 3 times a week, after factoring in work and commute and family and school and everything else? Is that too much and you really can't do more than 45 minutes? Do you have a young child you're hauling around and with a 15 minute drive to and from the gym you can really only "afford" 30 minute sessions so you're not gone more than an hour?

For me in the past 6 months, there was a 4 month period where I had at most 45 minutes to train, followed by a 2 month period where I really had no constraints on training time and I would easily train 60-90 minutes a day 6-7 days a week. I made progress in both situations because I understood my stress and recovery capabilities, my time commitment potential, and my goals.
 
This is basically how I am training beginning Monday for about 8-12 weeks with some easy weeks every 5-6 weeks.
Monday: Press
Tuesday: Snatch and Deadlift, Stretch that night
Wednesday: Press
Thursday: 2 hand swings and Deadlift, Stretch that night
Friday: rest
Saturday: Snatch, press, and stretch that night
Sunday: rest

Deadlift is PTTP. Warm-ups are basically get-ups, windmills, and bent presses to get the body moving.

My guideline for forming my training is Rite of Passage. It is a really solid program.
 
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Symanoy, I understand it can vary. What about answering for yourself only then? Supposing you were going to maximize strength training uniquely for you, without PED's. How many hours a week would you train? How many days a week would you train?
For me personally I like to train 6 days a week 1-3 shorter 10-30 minute sessions. I train with kettlebells and body weight at home so that works for me. I don’t like to go much beyond the hour total in a given day but i play to how I’m feeling. I also do a lot of mobility and restoration work around this.
 
I recently read an interview on a junior world champion, IPF. She trained something like 15 hours a week, in about ten sessions or so.

Every serious sport has the trainee spend hours upon hours on it. Strength sports may be slightly different but that different? Doubt it.
 
I recently read an interview on a junior world champion, IPF. She trained something like 15 hours a week, in about ten sessions or so.

Every serious sport has the trainee spend hours upon hours on it. Strength sports may be slightly different but that different? Doubt it.
Assuming 6 days a week, that would be about 2.5 hours a day. That is probably the highest on this thread so far. It's interesting to me that stregth training is so time efficient. Sounds like 2.5 hours a day is a lot for strength training, but even that isn't really much compared to other pursuits.
 
Assuming 6 days a week, that would be about 2.5 hours a day. That is probably the highest on this thread so far. It's interesting to me that stregth training is so time efficient. Sounds like 2.5 hours a day is a lot for strength training, but even that isn't really much compared to other pursuits.
There is a point of diminishing returns. Your body has to recover from the work. That’s why there is typically a light, medium, and heavy day. However, something like simple and sinister where near daily training is prescribed because it is moderately difficult and set in a rep range that your body can adapt to the work. Then later once you start pushing past timeless and add in a day where you go all out, training needs to fluctuate to recover. So 3-4 days is recommended. I’d say if you are a beginner and not pushing big weights on something like PTTP where 2 sets of five is prescribed, you can do it near daily. Once it gets heavier, you will notice and will need to go down to 3-4 days per week.

I’d be willing to bet that even the strongest in the world can’t push their bodies super hard all the time or they too would risk injury, burnout, and poor performance for when it really counts.

Your body is the best truth to listen to. Discover when to push a little and be smart when you think to hold back a bit. And try to avoid that one more rep mentality. It will probably get you hurt more than it will do any good. Save the one more energy for something important.
 
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It's interesting to me that stregth training is so time efficient.

When I was in my 30s (almost 2 decades ago), I had a coach. While not StrongFirst and not the best in the world, he was what I could afford. And I was by no means elite. But there were weeks when I would "train" 3 hours a day for 6 days a week. But this was powerlifting. And it was for a couple of weeks of peaking. But I'd work up to a heavy weight and then do 2 or 3 singles at that weight. And this would take an hour for one lift. I was taking 10 or 15 minute breaks between reps. It could take me 30 to 45 minutes to get through 3 reps :) When I powerlifted in college, I'd do my homework between reps!

Maybe my coaches were terrible and had me resting too much. But I never injured myself and rarely missed a rep.

So time efficient? For the generalist, I'd agree.
 
Their goal is to become the strongest person in the world, or become as strong as they possibly can.

How many hours would they actually spend in the gym? How many days a week would they go?
Are you counting recovery methods as "gym time"?

If I didn't have any other responsibilities and I could just train (and I was younger), I would put the gym-time component at somewhere around 1-3 hours/day, but I'm including things like stretching, sauna, massage, electrostim/TENS, aerobic work, etc.
 
One of the dangers of being a newbie is overthinking this. We all do it to some extent even when we gain experience. Buy the book simple and sinister or power to the people or enter the kettlebell and get started. Geoff Neupert and Aleks Salkin are other good sources of programs. There are many others but just include strongfirst in your keywords when searching on youtube as the quality of fitness information varies. Take some one day workshops from StrongFirst. That is what I did. Take classes or hire a SFG trainer for a few hours if you can and can afford it. That will accelerate your progress.

There are many articles and program suggestions on this forum and site. Just choose programs from experienced trainers and stick to them (not Instagram) and get to work. I wasted some time reading a lot about fitness but unless you have competitive athletic goals it is really not that complicated nor is nutrition for the general population. Consistent practice of the basics will always beat any ideal program not followed or continual program hopping.
 
Assuming a person hired the best Strongfirst trainer and was ready to dedicate themself entirely to strength training. Physical training and healthy food only, no steroids or anything like them. Their goal is to become the strongest person in the world, or become as strong as they possibly can.

How many hours would they actually spend in the gym? How many days a week would they go?

I'm asking as a newbie because it seems like once you have done several of the heavy lifts, you have to rest, right? Or is there more and more strength training you can do?

The real question is what a person can recover from. Do as much as you can recover from. If your performance is decreasing then you are doing too much and not recovering enough. recovery includes, sleep, stress control, mobility, supplements, and nutrition, not only rest. Therefore, this will always vary with each individual.
 
When it comes to recovery, the demands depend a lot on how you train.

Pavel has often quoted Zatsiorsky for the best strength training maxim: "do as much as possible as fresh as possible as often as possible". That's what it's about.

The other word often used is practice. If you were to practice darts, would you have a heavy, light and medium day? Or would you train according to the maxim?

There are ways to keep the recovery cost as little as possible, and StrongFirst methods are all about them. Long rests, few reps, heavy loads, GTG, etc. I could add concentric only training, short range of motion, exercise selection, and so on.

Last, it is obviously expected that one develops to tolerate more training volume. You don't start with ten sessions a week of 90 minutes each. That's what you end up with.

Assuming 6 days a week, that would be about 2.5 hours a day. That is probably the highest on this thread so far. It's interesting to me that stregth training is so time efficient. Sounds like 2.5 hours a day is a lot for strength training, but even that isn't really much compared to other pursuits.

Remember that even if it's six days, it's multiple sessions on plenty of days.
 
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