T Nation



Recently I read a comment by Berardi that his athletes train ~ 25 hours a week.Now I know from his articles that this consists of many varying types of workouts, but isn't this too much? I can't imagine what their maintenances would be.Is it possible for me to increase my weekly workouts(not as high as 25hours) without overtraining?


depends on how much training you are demanding from your body when compared to your current level of conditioning.

as conditioning improves over time, so does tolerance for total work volume, and reduced rest periods between sets and different workouts.


I would venture to say most people will never even come close to "overtraining". Looking at elite level atheletes you will see they train at high levels of intensity for long periods of time and they do just fine, even on less than optimal diets.

When in doubt, assume you NOT overtrained and then train some more.


You MUST take into account those are pro atheletes. This is thier life there job etc. You on the other hand have outside stressors as well. In todays society mainly mental do to the lack of physical labor and a market driven society but still that adds up.

CT touched on this well in his w/o log. He can handle more work not only due to his High work capacity built over time but this is his job he loves it less stress. he can live to train and train others. He has the time and facilities for OPTIMAL recovery etc..


im sure many people reach over training. many people make the mistake of adding voume to quickly and spending way too much time in the gym you dont think there over training?

i can tell when im over training because i start to get a cold and i start getting canker sores and it usually happends at my tough times during training


It sounds like you know your body well enough to determine that. However, many people on this site look at a program that calls for 4 days in the gym and say "Wont this lead to over training?"

If you are REALLY pushing yourself in the gym, day in and day out, you could definitely fry your body, I dont deny that. I just don't think most people do.

I read several natural BBers logs and they train 4 to 5 days a week, along with cardio 4 to 5 sessions a week (balls to the wall cardio in some cases). These guys are not on drugs and they don't overtrain.

I just think overtraining is harder to do than its made it.


This is simply the most intelligent response I have read with respect to this issue.

Too many people promoting the wonderful aspects of unfettered and frequent training don't take into account the outside stresses.


I agree that overtraining of the muscles is harder than most people think, but overtraining is really a nervous and other peripheral system issue. Outside stresses "excercise" your nervous system and therefore contributes to the fatigue it will experience in any given day.


Professional atheletes have been training CONSISTANTLY for several hours a day since at least puberty and often before, depending on the sport. Not only have they built up their tolerance gradually over many years, but there is a selection effect at work with the guys with naturally superior recovery ability making it to the top in the first place.


Overtraining is not only how much you do in a week . It is how many weeks you do without a break .


I believe that the Greek oly lifting team trains ~6-7 hours a day, 6 days a week, with 'only' a 2-3 hour practice on Sunday morning.

That's in excess of 40 hours of training a week. But their coach says (from an Ironmind article):

Iakovou says, "For my opinion, nobody go with this system - NOBODY - without start 10, 11 years, slow, slowly to go up this system. You cannot go fast - you can't, you going to die. It's heavy. It's very heavy... Some people read in books, the Greek team or Abadjiev make this, so I'm going to make this heavy training. You can't, it's difficult. You must prepare yourself, because it's a big training. To make a big training like Dimas, you can not be a pussy."


i hope this is a joke. elite athletes are far beyond 99.9999% of people posting in these forums. and pro athletes don't monitor their diets? that's quite a generalization. and it depends on the objectives, too. which athletes are you talking about? please define a 'long period of time'. what kind of training are they doing?

people on these forums are into bodybuilding and powerlifting. people in most gyms are into bodybuilding and powerlifting. so how many hours pro golfers spend per week on their strokes or how many hours basketball players do for their layups are not a concern to us. many people in these forums and gyms are overtraining in one aspect or another. whether it's too much weight to perform a movement with proper technique, or too many total sets per week or too many per workout or too many sets 'til failure.... many people overtrain.

again, it depends on conditioning. there is no magical nuber of sets that defines 'overtraining'.


you are making an important point of differentiating between different dimensions of overtraining.... local muscular overtraining or CNS overtraining. but i disagree with one of your points, it's pretty easy to overtrain a given muscle group if you want. just o a bunch of sets 'til failure, and the delayed muscle soreness that sets in after 24-48 hours and that lasts a few days signals overtraining.


I agree with most of the points that have been made, and reading the posts I have written I dont feel I conveyed my ideas correctly.

I certainly agree that overtraining is possible and does indeed happen. My example of the athletes was to point out that people can build themselves up to "training" MANY hours a day and do so without overtraining.

It seems very frequently on this site that the question of overtraining comes up. As I understand it, which may be wrong, overtraining typically results in a whole host of symptoms that include your lifts dropping, over performance being impaired, and general fatigue. As I understand it, it is fairly hard to be in a state of overtraining, although now I feel the need to research the issue further.

I have seen questions about overtraining on simple 3 or 4 day-a-week programs that don't contain that much volume. It just seems like everyone wants to be overtraining so they don't have to work as hard.

I just don't want to see someone sacrifice their training because they MIGHT be overtraining, whatever that means. Overtraining your biceps is, to me, a little different than "being overtrained" as a whole.

I am always happy to be wrong and shown the right information, please point me in the direction if it appears as though that is the case.


Lonnie, I just found this article by Berardi and thought it would help. Check out

G-Flux:Building the Ultimate Body. He goes into how his athletes train in varying workouts (ie:resistance,cardio,intervals,iso-metrics,stretching etc,etc)I think it's also fair to say that everyone has a threshold for what constitutues overtraining and that threshold can be increased. An olympic athlete has taken years and years to build up such a threshold.


Read the article previously, but it does seem to show that people can and should tolerate a high level of training volume. I believe John advocates getting your training volume (not as in a HVT, but a total energy expenditure) as high as possible every day.


I believe most people overtrain in volume and undertrain in intensity.


Hello all, I think that most of your are right in your own way... Overtraining can be monitored by physical signs but rarely does it start with physical fatigue. Mental overtraining comes first.. So is it easy to overtrain?

It depends on you...if you believe you are overtraining then you are. If you don't believe in overtraining (most ELITE athlete overlook the overtraining factor) so they end up working harder then others. (Hockey players play 2-4 games a week, travel around in different time zone which create jet constant lag, not ideal for recoup, and have gruesome training session and yet they last a whole season).

Now perhaps muscle need more rest to grow but not because of overtraining, it is due to muscle growth process which BBers are after.

anyway my 2 cents


Depends on the kind of training. When I cycle I can train 30+ hours a week without particular problems. But I can't lift weights for more than 10 hours a week without getting sore as hell. It's because resistance training is much less demanding both to the CNS and muscular/skeletal systems.

As a 14-yo I did 6 months for a medium-level football team and we tranined 15 hours a week but it wasn't overtraning at all, if you spend a lot of time just praciticing the techinque.


As was said earlier, there is no magical threshhold of sets or reps or percentages or anything else that specifically defines overtraining.

Overtraining depends on context. Performing barbell bench presses for X amount of sets with Y weights/Z percentages, etc... this training parameter might be good for one athlete but not good for another. It depends on your current level of development/conditioning.

As you progress with your training, your ability to train more often, with heavier weights and more reps and more sets, etc.... this all improves.

What constitutes overtraining for one person doesn't necessarily constitute overtraining for another person.