Undertraining Vs Overtraining

Athletes in general are competitive animals. In the weights room constant ‘pushing’ can be detrimental for the following reasons:

  1. Technique and form degrade increasing injury risk.
  2. Postural changes may actually decrease the stimlus on a target muscle group.
  3. Stress on the nervous system is pronounced and can cause overtraining.
  4. Equal or greater force can be exerted with sub-maximal loads due to the velocity of movement.

Undertraining Vs Overtraining? I vote for the former, Less is more!

Good points. I agree with you. If you over-train, you are basically opening pandora’s box of injuries and CNS overload. Glad to know that this fine core of forum members would never get into these situations :smiley:

I think sprinters tend to push too hard in the weight room because they lose sight of how the weights fit into the overall picture. Sprinting is the primary high intensity stimulus in the training. The weights merely supplement that. Pushing too hard in the weight room is inevitably the result of overestimating the importance of weight training relative to sprint work. I think if athletes and coaches think of output in the weight room as more a reflection of output on the track, rather than the other way around, they’re more likely to place primary emphasis where it belongs and avoid over extending in the weights.

You can use overtraining as a tool as well…

You can (e.g., shock cycles), but I think that’s playing with fire. You have to REALLY know what you’re doing.

You can use overtraining as a tool as well…

How do you mean exactly CoolColJ? I believe the overtraining that Flash and the others are writing about already has a negative impact on overall training. More specifically I think they saying that when an athlete is overtrained, the extended recovery time negates any sort of increase in performance that the athlete may have had. I could just be misunderstanding everyone though.:slight_smile:

you are on it Herb

Well this is only something you do in the offseason off course, but you would ramp up volume over a short period of time, say 3-4 weeks, to maximally stress the body’s recovery system, and then back off and increase the quality and intensity of training. The body will over-shoot its super-compenstation capabilities due to the lag factor. Then you will get a heightened training effect for the next few weeks, perhaps as long as 6-12 weeks.

Its called “Concentrated Loading”. It is difficult to walk the fine line, but the few times I have tried this for strength purposes, I’ve had nothing but great results

Do you lower the intensity or maintain? Also, are you then suddenly dropping the volume after the 3-4 week cycle and increasing intensity at same time? It seems that during the 3-4 week cycle you would see some hypertrophy due to the larger quantities and lower intensities (from what I understand). Is this something you want or considered? Can you post an example of this workout for us to read? Thank you

I posted about this in the old forum

Just be aware that you will feel like trash, and speed/strength ability will plummet, but once you back off, things start getting better in a hurry. And also I wasn’t doing much of anything but weights during the loading phase, but that changed once I backed off.

Here is what I did the first couple of times I tried this. I have a different approach now, but same principles apply

start from here and follow the thread


Yes I did gain lots of hypertrophy, but that as one of my goals as well, Even now with my more speed and strength orientated workouts, I keep piling on size !! It’s how I am, being so white fiber heavy, so why fight it? :slight_smile:
I’m not losing peformance, but gaining so its all good.

I think the confusion is probably centered around the term “overtraining”.
In some cases it is used as cool is describing it, a part of the supercompensation cycle. However; it could also be said that once you’ve overtrained you’ve screwed up your supercompensation cycle.
although I agree with the latter use of the term, when I read cool’s statement I didn’t take it word for word, I just interpreted it the way I would see it :slight_smile:

The idea with supercompensation is to gradually increase volume AND intensity, and then cut back on volume (and probably slightly on intensity), before you enter the overtrained zone. I know charlie has illustrated it very well in wave diagrams in his seminar and CFTS.

For those of you that have CFTS check out the figures on pg. 91 (stair case model) and pg. 106, figure 6-9.

These (especially the latter) illusrate very well what I am unable to explain clearly :frowning:

But! One thing I do agree with is that its always better to undertrain than overtrain.


As a practical matter, almost all training should be undertraining because the only way to know your exact limits is to actually cross them, and then it’s too late.

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.

-William Blake from the Marriage of Heaven and Hell-

Ok. so it seems basically you are pulling out any CNS work from the 3-4 week cycle and then re-introducing it afterwards, hence the compensation. This would make sense, becuase when you are under heavy volume loads, the quality/ response to CNS work will be decreased.

  • I didnt get a chance to look at the thread since I couldnt get it to open. I will keep trying. Thanks for posting it.

Colin - 3/4 continuous impact weeks? Sounds too much? I tend to pyramid sessions over 5 weeks (Decreasing volume, increasing recovery and load) but only the 5th week would be decribed as ‘impact’

this has been the best offseason ive ever had. it started in sept and will end the first week of may, and over this time, my strength has reached an all time high in all lifts aswell as vertical jump and (im touching wood as i say this) im completely healthy and injury free…no virus, no flu not even a cold. thats 0 missed days due to injury or illlness. (again touching wood)

whats turned it around for me is i have finally learned how to use overtraining to my benefit. i compare it to leaning back in a chair, if you dont lean back far enough its no fun, if you lean back too far you land on your butt and thats no fun but if you get that majical spot of weight-less-ness (dont know if thats a word), now that is cool.

I think there is a problem in the definition of overtraining here.

Overtraining is when you have crossed the line to negatively affect your progress. It is when you will NOT get adequate supercompensation afterwards because you have pushed too far.

I like the chair analogy very much. I’d extend it to a rocking chair. Overtraining is when you rock too far backwards and up on on your head. Basically, you’re f*c#ed.

You can rock back and forth vigorously as you supercompensate. You can rock in small movements and get a small level of benefit maybe un-noticable if you don’t rock hard enough. You can rock hard and really get things moving.

In short, you can train very hard without overtraining and supercompensate hard as a result. It all comes down to timing and recovery elements.

The only way not to overtrain is to perform some type of recovery everyday, whirlpool, ems, sports masage (spelling with one s so i wont have an im dumb) or whatever else is available. I believe checking muscle tone and the mood of an athlete are probally the two best ways to tell if he or she has overtrained. Also tests such as one rep tests of lifting, running or jumping exercises might be able to help evaluate the athlete too.

I wouldn’t dramatically increase workload during training for more than one day, followed by carefully planned recovery. You cannot sprint on chronically tired legs.

DCW definition of overtraining I would consider truer than other forms. The rocking chair analogy is very good :slight_smile:

However a short term phase of training were you delibrately train in excess of your bodies capabilities is done by most, I guess the secret of this is to make sure the supercompensation is on the money, otherwise it will lead to longer overtraining symptoms.