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Old 01-06-2010, 11:06 PM   #1
Ben Clark
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debilitating volume vs productive intensity

I'm currently practicing table tennis for 2-3 hours on saturday and and again on sunday.
On tuesday I spend about 4-5 hours on intermmitent practice and competitive play.
This is serious athletics, I play to the limits of my fitness and could play better if I were fitter. I don't play a second weekly league only because my body won't stand it.

As I've found many times(HS wrestling, AF basic, college tennis,etc) this volume of work exhausts me without increasing performance much if at all. I've found brief, intense exercise, usually HIT and/or short,hard running much better for or performance increases.

I've tried adding one or two weekly very intense workouts to the high volume of sport work. It's hard to force myself to work hard when tired from the high volume. When I do it hasn't worked. I think the volume work makes recovery from the intense work impossible.

I'm not going to cut back the skill practice in the foreseeable future. It's simply higher priority than fitness improvement at this point.

Is having both just plain impossible?

I'm thinking that maybe there is a fine line of intensity to be found where I can coax performance gains even with the volume work interference.

I am 49, male and have reason to believe I have below average general athletic ability and recovery ability. I'm sure there are many here who would find this workload a rest period but for me it is debilitating.

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:29 PM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: debilitating volume vs productive intensity

While your fundamental recovery ability may (or may not) be below average, good diet and good sleep can help you recover as fast as possible. So make sure those are dialed in.

I've found that two workouts in one day with a full day off is often better than skimping on rest days in order to get an additional workout in. Experiment and see what works for you.

Since your table tennis workouts are so intense, I'm not sure I'd call them "skill work," really. I'd definitely want to choose workouts that complimented the table tennis, rather than working the same pathways. I don't know enough about what table tennis involves to make good recommendations, but for example you might *not* want to do high intensity sprinting, but might get a lot of benefit from Olympic lifting to build explosiveness without a huge cardiovascular load. Think about what specifically you're trying to do, and plan your workouts carefully. Since you have a specific sport in mind, the usual advice against cherry picking workouts is less relevant.

Beyond that, listen to your body. It might tell you that you should only do one extra workout a week, or even one every other week. Or it might tell you to hold off on general conditioning work until the off season. Whatever the answer is, that's what it is, regardless of what "they" say you "should" be able to do.

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Old 01-07-2010, 09:42 AM   #3
Andrew H. Meador
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Re: debilitating volume vs productive intensity

1. the best way for you to improve your coordination, accuracy, balance, flexibility, upper body and midsection strength, and believe it or not, will help your table tennis game.
2. instructions for which are available in the CF Journal, and on the following websites: and
I pay no attention whatever to anybody's praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings. -W. Mozart
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