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over-training

Hey, it sounds pretty self explanatory, but what the heck is over-training? I have always gone to the gym and worked out as hard as possible. I feel arrogant if I say that I’ve hit a plateau from over-training. I feel terrible if I leave the gym knowing that I’ve held back a little. Am I slowing my gains? If I structure my workout schedule, so that, I only work one muscle group per week, with a cardio-only day in between, can I go to failure every set, or is this a dumb idea? Please include examples of your routines. Thanks to everyone for the help, and for all the interesting threads.

I had stumbled upon an article called “Smart Training” in T-Mag - there is talk about overtraining. It’s written by Chris Shugart. I suggest you find it and read it. Also when are your days off? That’s when you give your body time to grow and recover. And I have the type of thinking of that not only are days off from training good for the body, but I use to the days off to do something else OTHER than weight train. You know, go to the movies, check out a art gallery/museum, read a book. Sometimes I think the body uses overtraining to signal us to do something different occasionally. And to answer your question that by training a bodypart a day is slowing your gains? - I think it might. Don’t hold back when your in the gym ( and learn about periodization, too) - but do give your body and mind some rest .

Overtraining is the reaction of your body to too much stress on the central nervous system for too long a time. You end up feeling burnt out and tired and pretty sick. It does not really have anything to do with hitting plateaus, though you probably won’t be making much progress when overtraining. The easiest way to avoid overtraining is to keep workouts short and get enough rest in between, but what ‘short’ and ‘enough rest’ means can be very different from person to person. Same thing for intensity. If you had no problems with very intense training, then it seems you can tolerate it. No reason to hold back then if you don’t want to (though I don’t really know if it does any good either). Just one more note - how much you can tolerate depends on many factors, so don’t be surprised if you experience signs of overtraining even though you didn’t change anything in your workout.

Which muscle group are you working on this week?

You mean you only work each muscle group once a week right? I also feel bad if i skip on something i was suposed to do in the gym, thats ok i guess…You can find here in t-mag what are the simptoms of overtraining, to me they were dificulty in falling asleep, loss of strenght and motivation, lack of tolerance to day light, loss of appetite, increased heart rate at rest, loss of weight, and probably some more i didnt notice. You have to find out what your limitations are, i know now that i make the most gains working out 4 times a week, ocasionaly going to 5 but not usually.
Overtraining SUCKS big time and i dont wanna go trough it again.

Sorry, that was a typo, i meant work each group only once per week w/ cardio-only day between workout days. Thanks for the responses.

I doubt that going to maximal fatigue every single day is optimal for a long period of time, but again everybody would not respond to such training in the same way. I rarely go to total failure, since I don’t lift with a spotter, but I still make great gains without max fatigue. As to your routine, I do a similar one, where I do 3 workouts a week of weighlifting, rope skipping, and GPP, that last 1 and a half hours. In between them, I do 2 light, half hour workouts of rope skipping and sprinting. A large volume, yes, but I don’t overtrain on it. Light, short workouts like this can help you with “active revcovery” that counteracts overtraining by increasing work capacity and speeding recovery.

Pick you an article on “cheat Sheets” by Ian King it ciff note to wieght training great article by the way explains what Overtrainig is.