When it comes to resistance training, we are looking to create an adaptation so that we can continue to progress session to session. Due to the repeated bout effect, we understand that the training session we did last week may not be enough to elicit a new adaptation this week so we must do more or we must do something different to create the stimulus we desire. This day-to-day progression comes at a cost eventually and we become fatigued and need to deload because progress I no longer being made. This is called functional overreaching. If this period of recovery never takes place than long term reductions in performance will take place, which can be termed nonfunctional overreaching.

Throughout the research there have been no clear mechanisms defined for his overreaching paradigm other then a decrease in performance. Most of this literature in overreaching and over training has been done in endurance athletes due to their high volumes of training loads this can make sense. Some people believe that it is near impossible to over train in resistance training because the volume of training doesn’t even come close to that of an endurance athlete. A recent systematic review was conducted by Grandou et al. 2019 to look at overtraining in resistance exercise. They found that out of the 22 studies that met their criteria only 8 reported declines in performance and had follow-up measures. Some studies used overload principles and found that there was a decline in the rate of strength gains but not a decrease in performance, this diminishing return is not a sign of regression but a typical rate at which performance doesn’t grow as fast as it once did.

A big problem they found and a big problem in science in general is the lack of systematization to control and replicate these types of studies. Some do follow-ups 2-3 days after, other 2-3 weeks, some measure hormones others don’t. The lack of commonality between studies and the lack of guidance creates a real issue in being able to decipher the data. The data we do have shows that it is very hard to create over training within resistance training. This leads to an even bigger question, should we be looking to reach some type of overreaching paradigm, is there a true supercompensation effect or do we just need to find that sweet spot of volume and stay there and focus on progression within that parameter.

The idea that volume drives everything is misconfounded and radically preached within a tight circle of researchers that everyone just piggy backs off of without any real thoughts of their own. When looking out in the industry of guys making the most progress it seems to stray from the conventional research thought so why not explore what is working in real world application as opposed o trying to find the research to support your own beliefs.


Grandou C, Wallace L, Impellizzeri FM, Allen NG, Coutts AJ. Overtraining in Resistance Exercise: An Exploratory Systematic Review and Methodological Appraisal of the Literature. Sports Med. 2020 Apr;50(4):815-828. doi: 10.1007/s40279-019-01242-2. PMID: 31820373.