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Articles.elitefts.com-Training With Purpose Limiting Stress

Articles.elitefts.com-Training With Purpose Limiting Stress

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Published by Thomas Aquinas 33
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Published by: Thomas Aquinas 33 on Sep 20, 2013
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http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/training-with-purpose-limiting-stress/
Training with Purpose: Limiting Stress
The purpose of this article is tobuild onthe past few about the adaptation process as well as take a look at how to use overreaching as a tool to either break plateaus or use before a planned layoff from training.This article will also give some examples, mostly from my own experience, of what not to do during the possible layoff to actually get a desired effect from overreaching. Remember that anything speculated here is individual and may or may not be appropriate for everyone.
Supercompensation, overreaching, and playing your cards right
 
Supercompensation
To put the theory of supercompensation simply, it is the theory that the body will adapt to a higher level after repeated stressors. It’s a cycle that follows this progression:1. Physical load is imposed on the body. Initially, this causes fatigue and a reduction in performance.2.Recoveryfrom the load brings performance back to the pre-load level.3. Following the initial recovery to the pre-load level, further increases can be observed (i.e. thesupercompensation phase/peaking).4. Following the supercompensation phase of increased performance, a return to the pre-load level ismade.Initially, it was proposed that every training session should occur in this phase of supercompensation.However, this meant that recovery would be needed between every individual workout to allow time for thecycle to reach the third step listed above, limiting the number of sessions that could be done to maybe two tothree total sessions per week. It didn’t take long to figure out that this type of programming would only workwith novice and mid-level athletes who didn’t require as much load. For more advanced athletes, this isn’t aviable option because the loading will be insufficient to produce the desired training effects. The first twomodels in the figure below show this theory.For higher level athletes, supercompensation needs to be looked at on a larger scale. Basically, fatigue isaccumulated over a period of several workouts. Because of this, a downward trend may be noticed. After acertain length of time, a decrease in loading is used to allow recovery. After this period of recovery, theincrease in performance can be observed. This is known as a delayed training effect. This can be seen in thefourthmodel in the figure below. However, if adequate recovery isn’t reached, supercompensation can’t occur, which will keep performance on a downward trend as shown in the third model in the figure below.
 
If the programming is too conservative and there is infrequent or insufficient stimulus, supercompensation willbe kept at a minimum or won’t occur at all. This is what eventually causes stagnation. At this time, morefrequent loading, higher volumes, or higher intensities need to be implemented tocontinueto provide stimulus.
Overreaching and systematic use to your advantage
First to define overreaching, I will discuss some things in reference to overtraining. This is the thing that manypeople are always avoiding like AIDS. Overtraining is a long-term imbalance between stress and the ability oan organism to adapt. This is chronic and occurs after extended periods of loading that is in excess of whatthe body can cope with. Overreaching, on the other hand, is acute, meaning that it is a short-term period oloading that is above the current level of adaptability. What is the difference in time, you might be wondering? Ican’t necessarily throw out any certain number of days, weeks, months, years, etc. However, I will say that if you decrease your loading for one to three weeks and experience a return to pre-load levels or an increaseover these levels, you were overreaching and not overtraining. Overtraining is a long-term process but manypeople equate any drop in performance to this. This is problematic because this is where we have those thatcontinue to use similar volumes and train with similar frequencies year in and year out only to continue toremain stagnant. If anything, they will think they are of all things overtrained.Overreaching can be useful in breaking through plateaus that have been experienced. However, this is only if itis done systematically with a set plan. Many people will talk of the programs like Smolov and these massivegains that they saw in their squat and be in awe. I can’t understand why this would come as a surprise, sincethe program is a concentrated loading of squatting over a set number of weeks. Granted other stressors areaccounted for outside of this, how could squatting with high frequency, volume, and intensity do anything butaccount for gains in the squat?If one is to look at the premise of block periodization, it is in essence a systematic use of overreaching. Witheach concentrated block, a drop in performance is observed before loading is decreased to allow recovery.The key here is that this is planned, and volumes, intensities, frequencies, and means of training are carefullyselected. The idea is to tear down for a period, decrease the loading, and experience the supercompensatoryeffects.
 
To use my own training as an example, for about six weeks I have been systematically increasing loading tooverreach. My reason for this is I have a period of close to two weeks where I will not be able to train much iat all. The week of my wedding I will maybe get into the gym twice. On my honeymoon, it is questionable if I willtrain at all. Over the six weeks, I have gradually increased intensity, volume, and frequency to the point where Ihave been doing some form of squatting, benching, and pulling every time I enter the gym. During this period, Ihave still been able to move the weights in the intensity zones that I have planned, but the rate of perceivedexertion (RPE) toward the end of this period has gotten higher. As I am writing this, I have finished the lastday. While I am fatigued, I definitely can tell that my performance has only dropped slightly. I also have usedsome basic methods of assessment (finger tap test, resting heart rate) to gauge my fatigue. I have done thisin the past when I knew there may be a period of extended layoff (to me, more than one week) of intensivetraining.However, what needs to be understood is that this is not something that is sustainable for long periods of time. The reason I used it here is because I wanted to push myself to a point where I need the time to recover.The other thing to be considered is the individual and their adaptability to stressors. For someone who isn’tused to high volumes and frequencies, periods of concentrated loading may be too much to recover from or even complete. This type of training works well if the stressors in your life outside of training aren’t high.For myself, I work as a public school employee and coach, so other than the planning of my wedding, themonths of June and July were pretty low in stress. This is why this was a good time for me to run a brief period of this type of loading. If you are working a physically or psychologically demanding job for extendedhours, have a family, and are constantly stressed outside of training, this is probably not a good option. Alsoqualification comes into play as well. I am in the middle of the road as far as qualification so volume/frequencyhas been paying dividends. Novices do not need to use a concentrated system to induce overreaching. Whilethe highest levels of athletes can do this and at times do, these athletes also may be the most prone to actualovertraining, injury, and may need more recovery time.

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