Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Deliberate Overreach vs. Overtraining

This past week and this current week, I'm engaged in deliberate overreach.

Deliberate Overreach is when you push past your normal limits in an unsustainable fashion in order to reap a training benefit. It's not sustainable because your training exceeds your recovery, but potentially has the benefit of increasing your work capacity, strength, endurance, and/or other aspects of physical fitness.

This differences from overtraining in that it's deliberate, systematic, and it has a programmed deload phase. It's not running down your system through constantly training more than you can recover from, but rather pushing past your limits for a finite time and then allowing a recovery phase to let your body compensate and hopefully supercompensate (in other words, get better).

In my case, this is near-daily long, hard bouts of MMA training along with lots of cycling, movement drills, rehab exercises, and so on. After this, the training will taper off severely for an equal length of time, and then return to normal.

This came about due to traveling to see some old friends, and being near my old MMA gym for two weeks. I'll manage 9 days of hard training in an 11 day span. The original goal was 10, but a scheduling error meant I had to miss one day. While I would not be able to sustain this level of training normally at this time, I expect to reap the benefits of getting in lot of extra drilling and sparring.

You can use this in your own training. If you have a week or two where you can go very hard, especially if it's followed by a week or two where you cannot (vacation, work-related travel, scheduling issues, etc.), consider doing this. Add in extra training sessions. Put in extra sets on each workout. Push the weight on the main lifts up to something doable but not easily sustainable. Set records in your timed workouts.

Then, as the forced downtime arrives, you can relax knowing you're benefiting from the time away from the gym or the track or the dojo.

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