Overtraining On Purpose

Here I am fresh off my wonderful trip to Africa.  This is not an example of overtraining.  It's just me relaxing in the grass.  I will, however be using the overtraining principle in my upcoming training for both biceps and shoulders.

Here I am fresh off my wonderful trip to Africa. This is NOT an example of overtraining. It’s just me relaxing in the grass. I will, however, be using the overtraining principle in my upcoming lifting sessions for both biceps and shoulders.

Everybody knows that chronic overtraining will have negative consequences on your body.  The following (in green print) was taken from  an article by Elizabeth Quinn called Overtraining Syndrome And Athletes from About.Com Guide.

Overtraining syndrome frequently occurs in athletes who are training for competition or a specific event and train beyond the body’s ability to recover. Athletes often exercise longer and harder so they can improve. But without adequate rest and recovery, these training regimens can backfire, and actually decrease performance.

Conditioning requires a balance between overload and recovery. Too much overload and/or too little recovery may result in both physical and psychology symptoms of overtraining syndrome.

Common Warning Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome

  • Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
  • Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Sudden drop in performance
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Decreased Immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
  • Decrease in training capacity / intensity
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Depression
  • Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased incidence of injuries.

Allowing body parts sufficient rest between training sessions is critical to good muscle development.

There are times however, when purposeful overtraining can be used effectively as a method to make improvements.  I do this occasionally when a body part is lagging and I want to see quick results.  Currently, I’m purposely overtraining my biceps and shoulders.  This means that instead of my usual once a week training session I’ve bumped up the frequency with which I train these parts to three times within a seven-day period.  I’ll do this for 3 weeks then take one week completely off shoulder and bicep training.  During the overtraining phase I’ll make sure to get my shoulder and bicep muscles good and depleted and then the week off allows a nice window for recovery and repair.  At that point I’ll return to my normal once a week training split.

We all know that our bodies stall when we do the same thing repeatedly.  Change is the key to making improvements once you’re past the beginner’s stage.  By changing the demands we put on our muscles we keep our bodies building to accommodate  new loads/ routines.  A short period of overtraining tells your body to emphasize growth and development of the targeted area since you’re using it with great frequency.  The body is remarkably reactive to this type of stimulus.  In its effort to be efficient, it will respond by increasing muscle in the target area.  This however, primarily happens during the rest week when it can catch up with the demands that have been placed on it the three weeks before.  As with all other training methods rest is key.  This type of training would be ineffective if used over a long period of time.  It’s too much use of the muscle and not enough rest/growth time but used once in a while on a lagging body part it’s a wonderful tool!

*Although I’m utilizing this method right now with two body parts simultaneously, I don’t recommend this unless you’re very experienced and know your body well.  One body part at time is a better way for most see the best improvement.*


16 responses

  1. Triple Drop Training | Reply

    The Overtraining Principle is old-school! Great to hear someone else trying this approach, it’s always worked well for me. The gains when your body rebounds are always impressive.

    1. Hi! I love this method of stimulating new growth. Sometimes my body seems to go into “lazy” mode. It’s a good way to kick it up a little and force a response. This is week two of three and so far my shoulders in particular are feeling quite strong even with the increased demand. I think they needed this!

  2. I know the overtraining is the easiest way to an injury. Be careful! Looking forward to your results…. 🙂

    1. You’re right! I’m being careful. I do one full workout for shoulders/biceps per week and then tack a few shoulder/bicep sets onto other workouts twice a week. It’s been an excellent few days in the gym. I’m full of energy and having a great time.

  3. Those shoes…they are hella sexy!!!!! I do a “overtraining” cycle about every 4-6 weeks. Currently paying for it as I aggravated my shoulder that got jacked up in Afghanistan. Oh well, little rest, focus on some cardio since I am starting to resemble Jabba the Hut. Well my beautiful spider monkey, it appears that my time here in paradise is coming to an end, looks like I’ll be heading to the Ft. Lewis area unless my packet gets picked up and then I will be heading to train in Arizona then who knows from there! Take care beautiful and as always…I adore you!

    1. OUCH! Poor ‘licious…do take care of that shoulder. You know, it’s weird…I had a shoulder that hurt steadily for two years and I used to have to make all kinds of adjustments in my lifting to accommodate it. One day it just stopped hurting. I have no idea why. I’m certainly not complaining but I sure thought it was permanent. I hope yours stops giving you trouble the same way. Oh…I’m a little sorry that you’ll be leaving Hawaii. I like to think of you there. It’s one of my favorite places. I know Ft. Lewis will be ok but I’m glad you got a chance to live the Hawaiian lifestyle for a while. Arizona is quite pretty…not in a lush Hawaii sort of way but it has a beauty all it’s own. If you’re there for a while, make sure to get out and explore a little. Sending you wishes for a cooperative shoulder, good workouts and wonderful last days in Hawaii!! P.S. I LOVE the internet. That way I get to talk to you wherever in the world you go!

      1. Me too!!! Thanks for the well wishes. I am definitely going to explore no matter where I wind up! I think I have another couple of months here…I have enjoyed my time in the middle of the pacific and am looking forward to the next chapter of my life! Stay safe and as always…I do adore you my spider monkey!

  4. great pic..will be checking on your progress……

    1. Hi! Thank you! How goes it over there? I sure hope you’re enjoying these summer days. I was just looking at the calendar and believe it or not it’s not too long until my boys are back in school. I do love the fall but I’m not quite ready yet!

  5. I had to visit your blog to check out your hair;) I’m glad I did because I love your photo with the fantastic green shoes. Your legs make those shoes look good;) Excellent article as well!

    1. Hi! Thanks so much! Unfortunately I found a place to get VERY inexpensive fancy heels like the green ones. I’m going broke saving money. Lol!

      1. I know how that works!! Well a variety of heels are always great to have stashed around for photos;)

  6. Awesome article! Thank You!

  7. Wow you look stunning, sophisticated, and what a sexy physique Lynn..you look younger and younger each time I see your pics…you are beautiful inside and out…that smile of yours is a killer and gorgeous

    1. My beautiful, sexy and classy friend no matter which part of the world you may visit the results are the same, beautiful, simply beautiful. As for the blog, so spot on and as always I looked forward to each post. UR amazing and special. Keep rockin it Lovely Lynn:)

      1. Hi Matt! Thank you…I’ve been having some GREAT days in the gym. I think the break was good for me since I feel “strong like bull!” Hope you’re doing well and having a good time with your workouts too.

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