Superovercompensation And Overcompensation For Improved Athlete Performance
Overcompensation as a result of training stimulus
What is overcompensation?
Overcompensation is the physiological response by the body to physical training. It signifies an overreaction by the body to training stress and causes an improvement in performance by allowing the body to cope with a greater training stimulus.
The basis of the principle is Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome
Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome
Stage 1- Shock/ Alarm Phase
This is the phase where the body is damaged as a result of the stimulus from exercise.
Stage 2- Resistance Phase
This is the phase where overcompensation occurs as the body recovers and over adapts to the stimulus of exercise.
Stage 3- Exhaustion Phase
When overcompensation will no longer occurs as a response to damage to muscle tissue
Overcompensation is the basis for periodization of training to improve performance
What is Superovercompensation?
Superovercompensation is an advanced version of overcompensation through performance and fitness training. It is extremely effective in raising performance levels however must be approached with extreme caution by any athlete.
The athlete is subjected to a greater than usual training load or stress which leads to the body being forced into supercompensation. The effect of this is to put the athlete into a mild state of overtraining for a relatively short period of time. Upon recovery from this training stress the body superovercompensates which leads to improved athlete performance.
Contraindications for Superovercompensation
- Superovercompensation should not be attempted in young athletes- their performance should be gently nurtured over time and Superovercompensation could be considered too intensive for this group
- Inexperienced athletes who are not adjusted to the physical and psychological stresses of training should not undertake this form of training
- Superovercompensation should not be used more than once during a competition build up period due to the stress it places on the body and mind.
- Athletes who believe themselves to be in a state of overtraining must not participate in Superovercompensation training and must be prescribed a period of rest and recuperation
Superovercompensation in Cycling- An Example
Many racing cyclists, triathletes and competitive runners attend Pre Season 'Training Camps'. These camps are a great example of how Superovercompensation works.
During a training camp the athlete will in many cases perform an increased workload of training. An example could be that a cyclist would ride 500 miles across a 7 day period which will likely be significantly higher than their average weekly training volume which may be for example around 250-300 miles.
After the training camp the cyclist will likely feel physiologically and mentally tired for a period of a week or more during their recovery phase. Upon recovery there is an overshoot in performance as a result of Superovercompensation in endurance capacity and muscle strength.
As the athlete's body is not accustomed to regularly cycling 500 miles per week if this level of mileage is continued it will not allow the body time to recover and lead to a state of overtraining in which short term rest and recover will no longer lead to improved performance benefits.
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