Professional Crossfit athletes may train 2 – 3 times a day, 5 – 6 days a week. Olympic lifters can spend 3, 4 or 5 hour days lifting weight and cycling through accessory work. This level of dedication is impressive, and it seems logical that in order to improve, surely more time must be spent training?
What is wrong with this oversimplification, and what often gets lost when we look into the training programs of elite level athletes is the progression that has taken place prior to their current program. Often this has taken place over many years, with an athlete gradually building up volume over time
Take Katrin Davidsdottir for example, as a young girl she trained gymnastics for over 3 hours a day. For her, this was normal and her body adapted accordingly. When she transitioned into Crossfit, she said (in an interview with BOXROX) that her sporting background gave her an advantage not only with the movements, but also in the way that it allowed her to cope with the high volume and training intensity of Crossfit.
If an athlete that is used to 2 light workouts and a run at the weekend, and they instantly switch to 7 sessions a week, they will probably burn out, no matter how strong they are mentally or how solid their nutritional program is. Crossfit is an intense form of training and volume should never be underestimated. Building up this aspect of an athlete’s training program over time will help them to adapt to increased volume.