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
- Decreased Immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
- Decrease in training capacity / intensity
- Moodiness and irritability
- 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.*