Overtraining can be called as an imbalance of training stress and recovery. That is too much training (and all other possible stressors like work, family, time lag etc.) followed by too little recovery that will result in decreased adaptation state.
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Sports Scientist (PhD),
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THE PROCESS OF
What is overtraining?
Overtraining can be called as an imbalance of training stress and recovery. That is
too much training (and all other possible stressors like work, family, time lag etc.) followed
by too little recovery that will result in decreased adaptation state. Overtraining is not
always bad, but a common practice in the successful training plan.
Training causes load to the body and therefore causes fatigue (decrease of the red line,
Figure 1). During recovery the body restores its resources to a higher level. This can be
called as the short-term training effect and is the basis for training adaptation, also
Figure 1. Adaptation effect to four training sessions. Blue bars indicate workouts,
red line indicates body s adaptation.
Overtraining vs overreaching
If a new training is followed before the full recovery for several times, it will result in a
decrease in performance, or in other words – overtraining. This means that you train
more than is possible to recover (Figure 2, yellow line).
However, if a longer rest is applied, the body can still adapt to a new higher level (Figure
2, blue line) - this is called overreaching. Adaptation effect after multiple loads is usually
higher than the effect that can be obtained with just a single load-recovery cycle.
Figure 2. Manipulating with increased stress followed by longer recovery to
maximize increased performance level.
What is overtraining syndrome?
Applying high stress with little recovery during an extended period of time might cause a
situation where the adaptation capability of the body could reach its limit and even after
recovery the supercompensation effect might not be reached.
The problem arises when even after two weeks of recovery the performance level
remains lower than it was before the trainings (Figure 3). This situation must be avoided
in the training process.
Figure 3. Adaptation after too high training loads and too little recovery between trainings. The
performance decreases and stays lower than where it was before applying the load.
The process at a glance
The athlete can be brought to the overreaching state intentionally.
Performance is decreased, however, if rest is administered the
supercompensation effect will take place and performance
increases. A common practice in training process
High load, not enough recovery
Athlete is brought to overtraining syndrome where performance is
decreased and the body s ability to adapt positively to training is
disturbed severely. The recovery from this state might take several
months. Should be avoided in training practice.
High load, not enough recovery
Short-term periods of high training load with little recovery are needed to stress the
athlete. However, do not overstress the athlete, as there is a thin line between the
maximum benefit from overreaching and the disaster from overtraining syndrome.
The maximum training effect can be obtained in a close cooperation between the athlete
and the coach, and with maximal sharing of the information of the current state of the
athlete to prevent the athlete crossing that red line.
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• Rest and recovery during training (wiki)
• Adaptation (wiki)
• Recovery for rowing after high intensity strength training (research)
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