Managing fatigue as a component of frequency

Volume is often considered as the main driver for hypertrophy and as well all know having more muscle provides us with the opportunity to have the most strength.

Additionally, there is a further advantage in skill acquisition doing the same squat 100 times a week is going to provide you with much greater technical skill versus doing it 10 times a week.

Fatigue really comes in two specific ways in reference to powerlifting.

  1. Overall Cumulative Fatigue
  2. Daily Session Fatigue

So let us break those down and how to effectively manage them and ensure that we can meet maximum recoverable volume and continue to progress.

To set an example let us say that over the week we want to accomplish 100 reps of squat and now we can consider how this would impact our squats session by session and out other lifts.


So as much as squat volume and frequency are impactful on fatigue in that lift they also can have a large impact on the overall fatigue you may feel week to week.

Think about it like this if you did a 10×10 your first session of the week the next day or days you will be fatigued. Deadlifts will be very difficult in this fatigued state and it could even impact bench press if you squat low bar.

Additionally, it is very unlikely that you will be able to accomplish a considerably high intensity over the session due to such a high volume of reps. Thus, increasing the frequency of your training for each respective lift is going to allow you to handle a greater volume with a greater level of both technical and fatigue based efficiency.

Think about it this way, doing 6 hours of homework on one day is going to be stressful and result in a decreased quality because you are trying to rush it, inevitably this will also result in you being less invested in each respective element of homework.

Back to lifting, breaking down that 100 reps across 2-4 sessions allow you to accomplish a high level of volume as well as not necessarily causing fatigue that will impact your lifts. Thus you would be likely more able to train another lift on the same day or the next day and benefit from reduced overall fatigue. Moreover, spreading out your work across the week should allow you to train contingently for a longer period of time without taking substantial breaks.


This is something that is perhaps the most important when building a training program. Understanding how to control your fatigue throughout the sessions will contribute majorly to the overall fatigue you are carrying and ultimately your ability to push your training and thus your meet performance.

There is one component of fatigue management which can transform your training and meet performance allowing you practice almost exactly as you play.

Multi-lift sessions.

They will literally change your life, most of us came to powerlifting from bodybuilding or generic training so we were used to splitting up our training into body parts thus when we moved to powerlifting we split up our training into leg day (Squats) Chest Day (Bench) and Back day (Deadlifts) this can work fine, however, it is preventative of increased frequency or volume as your workouts are spread out. Moreover, it presents another issue in that you are training every lift in a non-fatigued state, completely against how we compete.

I am not saying you have to train every lift every session, but having somewhere your lifts are being completed in a fatigued state: after another lift, this will help you in preparation for competition.

Personally, I train like this:

Monday: Light Squats, Heavy Deadlifts, Lower Body Accessories

Tuesday: Heavy Bench, Accessory Bench, Chest Accessories

Wednesday: Heavy Squats, Medium Bench, Light Deadlifts, Shoulder Accessories

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Medium Deadlifts, Accessory Deadlifts, Back Accessories

Saturday: Medium Squats, Accessory Squats, Light Bench

As you can see I do not always train in the exact competition style, but I do replicate it within reason. Especially, benching to a reasonable intensity after squatting heavy and deadlifting heavy after squatting light. As you can see I do not bench heavy after squatting, this is not exactly optimal but I would prefer to prevent elbow issues to the fullest extent.

Additionally, this method of training allows me to get in 3 sessions of each lift within 5 days of training. providing me with 2 full rest days and 2 partial rest days. This allows me to go into my heavy sessions with minimal baseline fatigue as well as accomplishing more within each session and completing these movements with a higher level of intensity.

Basically, what I am saying is fatigue will always be there, and usually, if you are approaching a meet there will be a lot of it! So, when designing a program or adapting one for your own use you have to recognize the importance of prioritizing fatigue management as it can be a most dangerous adversary but also a hugely useful tool. Moreover, before you start working with any coach you should generate an understanding of how you operate and effectively manage fatigue so that you can consider what you are capable of as it pertains to volume. Personally, I am aware that due to previous injuries exceedingly high reps 6+ on deadlifts can be particularly fatiguing and could potentially destroy my squat performance as well.

Just prioritize understanding fatigue and how it affects you and program with that in mind, but, most of all remember that strenght has no limit.



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