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The Overtraining Syndrome in Sport- Are You Overreaching?

Updated on October 29, 2013

Are you Over-reaching or overtraining?

Are You 'Overreaching' or Overtraining?
Are You 'Overreaching' or Overtraining? | Source

Have your sporting performances started to plateau?

An accumulation of sports training related stress can lead initially to temporary decreases in speed, power, strength and endurance performance however in many cases performance levels can return to normal or elevated levels after recovery. However over-training can occur if a persistent decrement in performance capacity occurs.

Are your Overreaching?

Overreaching is a normal aspect of endurance, strength and power training. It forms one of the building blocks of the development of sporting performance. Overreaching as part of a sports training regime for endurance, strength and power is necessary to stimulate performance improvement. The key defining factor of overreaching is that sporting performance recovers rapidly following a reduction in high intensity training or period of rest.

Are you Overtrained?

Overtraining can be signified as performance incompetence despite a prolonged period of rest and the body’s capacity for improvement has been exceeded. This means for the body the paramount sustainability factor is survival rather than sporting performance improvement.

Overtraining syndrome is often referred to as ‘burnout’ or staleness in athletes and is more than just hitting a plateau in their sporting development as performance levels often drop while suffering from Overtraining Syndrome.

Different types of Overtraining Syndrome (OTS)


Parasympathetic OTS affects Endurance Athletes like Cyclists, Triathletes and Rowers

Sympathetic OTS affects Strength Athletes like Power Lifters, Shot Putters and Judo players.


The Cycle of Compensation

How does overcompendation work
How does overcompendation work | Source

Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome

Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome of response to training stumuli

Stage 1- Shock/ Alarm Phase

Damage is caused as a result of the stimulus from exercise.

Stage 2- Resistance Phase

Overcompensation occurs as the body recovers and adapts as a result of the exercise stimulus.

Stage 3- Exhaustion Phase

When overcompensation no longer occurs as a response to damage to muscle tissue the body is exhausted.

Overcompensation is the basis for periodization of training to improve sporting performance

Is your Cycling being affected by Overtraining?

Is your Cycling being affected by Overtraining? Or are you Overreaching?
Is your Cycling being affected by Overtraining? Or are you Overreaching? | Source

Common reported symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome

Common self reported Symptoms

· The workout/ endurance, strength or power training session feels harder than the athlete expects it to. (Kinaesthetic feedback)

· Heavy muscles which feel stiff and sore

· Poor quality of sleep

· Loss of personal drive

· Loss of libido (sexual appetite)

· Loss of appetite for food

· Disturbed mood patterns/ Depression

· Unusually high resting heart rate

· Loss of menstrual cycle in female athletes (amenorrhoea)

Physiological Symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome

· Lower maximal heart rate during exercise

· Lower maximal blood lactate during exercise

· Decreased VO2 Max during exercise

· Increased blood Cortisol levels

· Frequent Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI’s)

· Decreased Testosterone levels

How Can You Avoid OTS?

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