You are able to define four main areas when it comes to how we adapt to our training sessions. Each of these areas has an important role in how our bodies develop to the stimulus of training.
First up we have the undertraining stage. This is generally low intensity exercise or exercise thats not providing enough stimulus for us to cause any breakdown of muscle, remodelling of bone or cardio vascular stress etc. Constantly training in this stage will most likely result in minimal progress performance wise, however, these intensities are great for your active recovery days between intense sessions.
The acute overload and overreaching phase are where we can make the most physiological adaptations to our body. This can be monitored by varying factors such as intensity, duration and frequency of training sessions. Our adaptations are based on the specifics of our training sessions. A power athlete will start to develop explosive and strong muscles and a kick boxer will be undergoing an accelerated bone remodelling process to build tougher more durable bones.
Overreaching is where we are looking to peak for a competition. Its a short lived phase and needs to be programmed properly or we risk entering the over training phase. Its a time when we look to hit higher intensity percentages of our maximum efforts so we can then replicate this is competition.
Over training is a a debatable concept in the exercise physiology, whether or not we are actually over train or are we under recovering is discussed often. Regardless, most therapists would agree that this is the danger area for injuries. We are most at risk here due to the increase demands we are placing on our bodies leading to faulty technique.
About the author
Michael is an Osteopath, trainee strength coach and competitive powerlifter.