Conditioning and Overtraining

Hey Everyone,

I have been thinking a lot about some things I’ve read lately.

Dan Gable (1972 Olympic Gold Medal in freestyle wrestling) used to work out like a mad man. He trained six or seven days a week. I also read that he did a lot of running. I read that sometimes he would use a deck of cards and do bicep curls according to whatever number he drew and would go through the whole deck.

The great boxer Rocky Marciano (undefeated in his pro career) was known as the best conditioned boxer of his time and perhaps ever. These two guys did a lot of running. And, Gable would have his championship-winning college teams work out up to thre times a day leading up to the NCAA Championships as opposed to doing a taper of any kind. Gable once had a wresler that he had running 10 miles, 2 or 3 times a week leading up to the NCAAs and this wrestler won the NCAAs.

I don’t want to open up the whole thing about the value or not of cardio necessarily. But, can one overtrain? Science would seem to say so and yet Gable would seem to contradict that.

Did Gable and Marciano succeed because of their training or “despite” their training. It seems like Gable would have been training the wrong energy system too often and perhaps overtraining and he didn’t seem to use any cycling or periodization. Can skills training (e.g. live wrestling) be done too often?

So, can a person overtrain? Did Gable succeed “despite” his training? Thanks.

of course people can overtrain but its very unlikely that you’ll reach that level.

most people are too big of pussies/too lazy to push themselves to the verge of overtraining. Going to the gym 6 days a week for 1-2 hours is no where close to “overtraining”

You also have to realize that these guys won against people who were doing the same thing; no one tapered in Marciano’s day. He was great for his time, but modern training and nutrition science mean that a good number of modern boxers would likely destroy him had they ever fought. Sure, there are people who can go full speed up until the day of competition, but if you’re not genetically gifted you’ll probably preform better with a little rest.

Edit to add: I’m not saying they over trained, just that there is a benefit to tapering before competition.

See the thing with overtraining is, its hard to do especially with conditioning. Look at people doing sports, I remember I would practice 5 hours a day in the water and a couple hours in the gym back in high school. I know people who do run 5-10 miles every couple days and spend hours in the gym and are seeing nothing but improvements. Overtraining in most cases is an excuse and difficult to achieve, especially using the example of cardio.

Just my opinion, but I think more people are under- or poorly-fed than are overtrained.

I always think there need to be two distinct notions of overtraining, since people seem to usually interpret it as one or the other.

  1. Training too much so as to affect PERFORMANCE.

  2. Training too much as to affect HEALTH.

In this sense, number 2 is damned near impossible to achieve, but number 1 is much more common for athletes and what constitutes overtraining will depend on the person and ones general level of fitness.

Ive been thinking a lot about this in regards to my training. My brother came home for two weeks from the military and every night my mom and dad would take the fam out to eat.My brother is a strength athlete, I am a fighter and we trained everyday. He would just lift and do some cardio. Because I need to make weight,I would do weights,cardio AND an extra hour of cardio and weights after my meal. I always thought the day after I would be too tired to anything else but Ive gotten used to the extra cardio and now, i just just keep doing it…I know I have a high work capacity but it makes you wonder how much the human body can take…

OVertraining has seriously fucjed me up twice - its real

  1. lifting 5*5 as beginner and training for marathon = after 4 months, squats got over 100kg and was running 20 miles once a week = sleep disorder so bad I slept 2 hours a night for 2 weeks

2.Doing 5-3-1 up to a 500kg+ PL total. never took deload weeks = had to quit all lifting for a few months because of constant fatigue, irrespective of how many kcals or how much sleep. And a seriously compromised immune system