T Nation


I had a thought this morning that I wanted to share. Perhaps it will make sense, perhaps not. It should make for interesting debate, nonetheless. Consider this hypothetical:

Scenario 1: Let’s say you’re playing tennis and you fall and scrape your elbow and it’s a bloody mess. You decide that you won’t play tennis again until it heals. As we all know, the human body has the skill to repair most wounds. Within a week or two the scab has healed and there’s no evidence that you had fallen at all.

Scenario 2: Same as scenario 1, only this time you’re a t-man or t-woman playing tennis and you surely won’t let an elbow scrape keep you from playing. Unfortunately, the next time you play you land on the same elbow and gash it up once again…before it’s been healed. Let’s say 2 days later you decide to play…and once again you fall on the SAME elbow.

Further, let’s assume you do this 4 or 5 times (or more). Finally, after cursing your awful luck, you decide to let the damn thing heal before you play again.

This time, however, because of the repeated trauma to an area that never fully healed you have a scar…and a big, ugly one to boot.

You probably know where I’m going with this, but hear me out. In a nutshell, I made this analogy to discuss overtraining.

If muscle is scar tissue, wouldn’t it make sense to train perhaps the same body part(s) for 4 or 5 days in a row (or longer) in order to repeatedly damage the tissue so that there is “scarring”? Isn’t that the goal?

If you train in a manner that allows a particular body part to fully heal before you attack it again, aren’t you allowing the body’s reliance on “homeostasis” to return you to the form that you started with? Isn’t that what the body is supposed to do, other things equal?

The reason I wanted to discuss this is that I’ve often questioned in my own mind what “overtraining” really is. If it’s excess scar tissue (aka muscle) that we’re after, “overtraining” would seem to be exactly what you need to do to make muscles bigger.

Let’s hear it!!!

The assumption that extra muscle is scar tissue is wrong. Blows your whole post right out of the water, eh?

Try reading Zatsiorski’s “Science and Practice of Strength Training” book to get an overview of theories of muscle growth.


Muscle is excess scar tissue?

Based purely on nothing, I’d say “CNS overtraining” is more of a problem than “muscular overtraining”. Whats your analogy for that? :slight_smile:

Go mag!

yep. strength is a NEURO-muscular motoric quality, and is overtrained in either aspect. anyway if you where right, 1000-rep pink dumbell side latreals would build HUGE shoulders.


Mike, The problem with your analogy is that muscle is NOT scar tissue. Its living and you want it to repair…

Now some of the guys that posted seemed to be taking the piss out of you… Id like to point out that there have been strength articles/programs studies outlining training were you train the same musclegroup several days in a row and then give it an extended period of time to fully recover…

Jay Shroeder also advocates training bench press and other exercises 14 times a week and having his athletes overtraining by 7% or something like that…

So while your analogy was not good the general idea has been used successfully by some successful coaches…

I’m busy with uni at the moment so maybe you could look for some info on it and get back to us with it.

Read through the “New Ripped, Rugged, and Dense Routine” thread; this was discussed there.


Hey, I’m no scientist (obviously), I was just opening up a line of debate. Since my original assumtion is wrong, perhaps my whole theory is shit. So be it.

HOWEVER, it never hurts to look into different ideas. High protein diets were once thought to be ludicrous…eh?

Would anyone disagree with me that the body wants to remain in homeostasis and will do whatever it can to keep the status quo?

Perhaps I will just ask the jury panel to consider the 2nd part of my original post, which was if you train a muscle group and cause damage, let it heal, then train it again (which is the typical formula) why is the supplement industry a billion dollar plus business? Why are we here at t-mag? If this process works so well, there would be no need for any of it.

We know, for example, if you eat too much and are not physically active, you get fat! This is pretty universal, everything else equal. But sometimes one can train muscles for months and even years, yet they do not get noticeably bigger. On the flip side, overeating and not exercising for months and years at a time will most likely always make you fat…right?

Ok…bring it on…it’s a slow work day for me today. :slight_smile:

My friend you really need to do more reading. What you’re asking has been answered in part in many of the articles in T-Mag. However, there are whole books written on these subjects.

If you’re looking for a decent intro book you’ll find Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning by the NSCA is a pretty decent book. Not the best but it gives you all the basics in an understandable format.


I lost another post to that logout bug, but the short of it is that you should be using the gel banages (or at least liquid) on wounds such as that scraped elbow of which you spoke. Yes I know this wasn’t the point of the post, but I’m wierd. They protect the wound from reinjury-- especially the heavier ones-- they prevent the scab formation and result loss of skin elasticity, and they prevent scaring. Make sure you shave the area first though if it’s hairy-- like a leg wound-- although you really need to do this anyway with a wound.