By Coach Manny A.
In the world of CrossFit and sports, training age, which refers to the number of years an individual has spent in training and participating in various physical activities, is an often overlooked factor that affects performance and recovery. Over time, the wear and tear from countless hours of training can take a toll on an athlete’s body, causing them to peak in their mid-20s before experiencing a decline in performance. For older CrossFitters, training for frequency rather than volume can be more efficient. Training frequency is the number of sessions in a given week, while training volume is the total amount of work done within a day or training session.
While younger, competitive CrossFitters with a high training age can benefit from training at a higher volume, those who are aging may experience diminishing returns. As an individual’s training age increases, their baseline fitness may also increase, allowing them to learn new movements and skills more quickly and recover faster. However, this advantage may eventually dissipate as the athlete ages, and their body begins to feel the effects of years of high volume training.
For aging CrossFitters, high volume training can take a toll on their body, especially when it comes to recovery after intense sessions. Recovery becomes increasingly challenging, even with extra rest, good nutrition, and active recovery. As a result, athletes may find themselves forced to take more rest days and active recovery days. The same training volume that may have once been manageable can become overwhelming for an aging athlete, making it crucial to find ways to maximize training while minimizing the risk of injury.
One strategy is to decrease the daily training volume and increase training frequency. Instead of working out for a longer period each day, athletes can split their training sessions into shorter, more frequent workouts. For example, an athlete who typically trains for 3 hours per day, 5 days per week could instead train for 2 hours per day, 6 days per week. Although the overall volume is slightly lower, spreading out the work across more days can help to reduce the toll on the body and allow for more consistent training.
Decreasing training volume and increasing training frequency can also improve the quality of each training session. By working out for shorter periods of time, athletes can focus on training harder rather than training longer, which can ultimately lead to better results. In the words of Coach Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, “impress me with intensity, not volume.” By focusing on quality over quantity and prioritizing recovery, aging CrossFitters can continue to make progress and stay healthy in the long term.