Article written by Marshall White for LiftBigEatBig.com
I am a proponent of training like an animal and believe you me I love training as much if not more than most athletes. Here's the thing though, as an athlete if you want to make optimal gains you have to train HARD and SMART. What does this mean? This means that sometimes training 6 days a week for 3-4 hours a day is not always the way to optimize your gains.
I've been seeing some people lately on the LBEB Facebook site talking about using the Bulgarian method as their system of training. While I respect their ability to work like a mule I do not think they are getting the gains they could be getting if they added a dash of smart to all that hard they have in their program. Think about it logically. Building muscle and strength is all about tearing down muscle fiber then letting it heal stronger. If you are constantly tearing the muscle fibers you are obviously missing out on a key component to getting stronger. There has to be a time for healing and recovery.
The argument is made that by training like the Bulgarians the athlete is doing so many reps of the selected movement that form is being worked so hard that it almost becomes second nature. There is some validity to this argument. But again let's look at this logically. If an athlete were to properly program in form work without neglecting or negatively affecting building their pure strength and recovery would this not create a better athlete? Yes the athletes form might be slightly less efficient but if the athlete is fully recovering between training session they will be stronger, thereby moving more weight. Which is the end goal right?
I respect athletes that can train 5-7 days a week but I maintain they would be better off by "condensing" these workouts into fewer, more intense days, allowing for recovery and repeat the process. It seems to me that moving a 400lb deadlift 3 times in a week is far better than moving 300 6 times in a week. In addition all the food and sleep you are getting will go to making you grow and add muscle rather than recovering you just enough to do the same workout 4 more times that week.
As athletes I think we all want to believe that if we just work a little harder than everyone else we will be the best. Hell I know I do. I wish to god I could just go out and load stones all day and all of a sudden be the strongest man in the world. Unfortunately, the reality is it doesn't work that way. We must be smart about our programming, allow for recovery while still working our asses off in order to see the biggest gains.