Understand Overtraining to Avoid Performance Declines | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Understand Overtraining to Avoid Performance Declines

May 3, 2011

Must See Training Videos

As a competitive athlete, your goal is to take your performance to the next level, which is why you spend hours training or playing your sport year-round. The problem with this "more is better" philosophy is that you may sabotage your performance by overtraining.

In an article published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal, Dr. Matthew Kutz describes overtraining as “an accumulation of training and/or nontraining stress resulting in long-term decrement in performance capacity.”

Put simply: Too much training or sports competition produces stress and exhaustion, which cause the body to break down. Symptoms of overtraining include fatigue, irritability, disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, depression, decreased immune system and increased chance of injury.

Kutz says one of the first signs of overtraining is staleness—i.e., loss of performance or inability to make training gains. When your training performance lags behind your expectations, you may be tempted to power through the slump. Bad idea. It may cause you to spiral into overtraining, burn out or even stop playing your favorite sport.

To avoid overtraining, focus on recovery—whether from a long tough season or a strenuous workout. Follow the recovery guidelines below to continue making safe and effective performance gains:

  • Perform in-season workouts one to two days per week with light to moderate loads for maintenance and injury prevention
  • Perform off-season workouts between three and five days per week
  • Wait at least 24 hours—and preferably 48 hours—before reworking a muscle group
  • Vary your training program with different weight loads, sets, reps and rest to stimulate muscle development
  • Avoid always lifting near max capacity by integrating light- and moderate-load workouts
  • Record workout progress to identify performance declines and begin recovery before overtraining sets in
  • Multi-sport athletes should recover after each season with rest and recreational activities to relieve physical and emotional stress

Source:  Kutz, M. P. [2009]. "Contributing Factors to Overtraining in the Adolescent Multi-Season/Sport Athlete." Strength and Conditioning Journal , 31 [3], 37-42.
Photo:  runningmechanics.com

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

31 Pro Athletes Workouts That Will Inspire You in 2015

Greene's Lantern: Riding With 'Soul'

Sanya Richards-Ross Looking Sharp in the Gym, Training for Rio

Johny Hendricks Gets Back to Basics

Antonio Brown Built His Ridiculous Footwork With Pilates

Amari Cooper Shows Off Clapping Pull-Ups on Combine Week

WATCH: Duke Ihenacho's Reverse Hip Raise with Bicycle Kick

7 Training Tips from Professional Triathlete Linsey Corbin

WATCH: Dez Bryant's Superhuman Punching Bag Abs

31 Fitness Experts You Should Follow in 2015

WATCH: Brandon Thompson's Plate Mountain Push-Ups

WATCH: Bryce Harper's 550-Pound 'Human Plate Pull'

Jump Higher and Faster With Transitional Med Ball Box Jumps

GHD Sit-Up: The Worst CrossFit Exercise?

WATCH: Jos

How to Provide a Spot for the Bench Press

Above and Beyond: STACK Velocity Sports Performance San Diego

5 Workout Lessons Every Athlete Must Learn

Versatility Raises the Value of These 11 NFL Draft Prospects

Training With Performance Pyramids

Get Lacrosse-Specific Workouts With Bridge Lacrosse

Why CrossFit Is Perfect for Me

The 13-Exercise Duke Lacrosse Dynamic Warm-Up

WATCH: Clay Matthews Move the Earth in New Muscle Milk Ad

Introducing Youth to Off-Ice Hockey Training

How to Stay Safe When Exercising in Cold Weather

Make the Most of Your Pre-season Training

Kaitlin Sather Nielsen Does It All

WATCH: 3 Power Moves for the Diamond from Edwin Encarnaci

Why You Need to Follow the F.I.T.T. Principle

6 Things the Best Athletes Have in Common

The 4-Day Deloading Plan for Recovery

The Training Formula Behind Drew Brees's 5 TD Passes

WATCH: Jon 'Bones' Jones's Brutal Uphill Sprints

WATCH: Jos

WATCH: Darnell Dockett's Explosive Sled Row with Training Mask

Athlete Assessment: Tips to Get You Started

WATCH: Jos

The Comeback Kid: How Scott Kazmir Resurrected His MLB Career

Kelly Clark: Strong Enough to Fly

The Training Behind Super Bowl XLIX

WATCH: D.J. Campbell's Net Wall Explosive Pull-Up

Game Changer: Should You Be Using Machines or Free Weights?