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What we’ll cover
  1. Overtraining or Overloading
  2. What is load?
  3. Why is load important?
  4. What happens to my body when I safely increase my loading?
  5. What happens when I increase my load too quickly or I ‘overtrain’?
  6. How can I tell if I am overtraining?
  7. Must dos when increasing load:
  8. How can physiotherapy help prevent overtraining?

What is overtraining?

Do you want to know the signs of overtraining? Our physiotherapist Tegan Skipworth explores the importance of increasing your training load safely.

Overtraining

Overtraining or Overloading

We know that exercise and physical activity is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and ones well-being. However, poor load management (too much, too little, too soon or too late) may be a reason for injury development or poor recovery from pain and injury.

If we increase our exercise (load) too quickly we are more likely to develop a soft tissue injury, e.g. tendon, muscle or stress reaction pathology. This circumstance then results in more time off of sport or needing to modify training/exercise habits.

What is load?

The easiest way to think about load is to consider it as exercise. It includes all physical activity that stresses the body and is not just limited to structured sports or training.

Load is broken up into internal vs external load

  • Internal = HR, Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) or intensity
  • External = Distance, surface, volume or time

All elements of load need to be considered when exercising in order to do it safely.

Why is load important?

Load is a contributing factor to non-contact soft tissue injuries in sport and exercise. Training load that is very high, too low or spikes can cause potential problems.

Building safely from low > moderate > high training loads is very important for injury prevention. The issue is getting to these high training loads. It is important to ensure that progressive loading is occurring within safe limits.

What happens to my body when I safely increase my loading?

Safe progressive overloading results in positive adaptive changes to the body. It stimulates muscle growth as well as the development of stronger and denser bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It can also have a positive effect on the respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological systems.

Exercise and load will facilitate tissue healing when we are injured, e.g. tendon repair, bone following a stress reaction or muscle following a previous strain. The body does require a certain amount of rest for these physiological changes to occur.

What happens when I increase my load too quickly or I ‘overtrain’?

Overtraining or overloading occurs when the total volume of loading exceeds the body’s ability to recover. Overtraining is different to being tired post work out – the body’s systems are stressed to a point where they are unable to promote recovery from loading.

Physiological maladaptation or tissue breakdown will start to occur with continued overloading. This will result in changes in hormone levels or production, e.g. reduced testosterone and increase in cortisol (stress hormone). Cortisol will also contribute to fat storage.

Overtraining can see reduction in strength, co-ordination and endurance and will eventually lead to a decrease in performance or at the very least a plateau. Overall it is likely to result in pain or injury.

How can I tell if I am overtraining?

Look out for these common signs and symptoms:

  • Persistent muscle soreness
  • Persistent fatigue (different from being tired after exercise)
  • Increased perceived effort during workouts
  • Increased injuries or injuries that are not recovering
  • Decreased performance
  • Possible changes to sleep or mood

* Remember effects of overload are usually delayed and will occur anywhere from 1 – 2 weeks or 4 – 6 weeks post a rapid increase in training.

Must dos when increasing load:

  • Avoid boom/ bust exercise habits or the all or nothing principle
  • Aim to increase loading by ~ 10% per week to reduce injury risk
  • Allow the body sufficient rest between loading days to ensure physiological recovery
  • Seek advice from your physiotherapist, coach or sports trainer
  • Remember consistency is key!

How can physiotherapy help prevent overtraining?

Your physiotherapist can provide an injury risk screen or musculoskeletal assessment. They can also develop an appropriate and progressive training program considering all current sport demands and goals.

Furthermore physiotherapist’s can provide cross-training or low impact options for individuals already in an injured or overtraining state. Physiotherapy offers education around injury prevention and management and will also provide tracking tools to allow safe self-progression after physiotherapy discharge.

If you want to avoid overtraining or treat your injury caused by overtraining or overloading, contact our friendly team on 9571 6888 or book online today.


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Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone. Shoulder impingement can be incredibly frustrating and painful. 

Tony has been working closely with our physiotherapists Vernon and Dilen to get on top of his shoulder pain. His treatment plan has included hands-on physiotherapy and individualised exercises in our hydrotherapy and strength programs.

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