To be a great athlete (and even just to be a good one), you need to train, and when you train, you are putting your body under stress. This is the only way that we as human beings know of that allows us to develop muscles, speed, strength and everything else an athlete needs. Only by constantly working the muscles over a short period of time and putting them under physical stress do they end up developing and therefore athletes put themselves under severe amounts of physical stress every time they workout or play in a game.


The line between proper training and over training is a thin one indeed and one that is sometimes difficult to detect. When the appropriate exercises are done in an appropriate way, then proper training is taking place. However if even just one small part of them is done incorrectly over a prolonged period of time, then over training has the potential of taking place.


Ways to Bring About Over Training


There are many different ways to cause over training, but some of the more frequent causes (as well as brief explanations) are provided below.


  • Improper Warm-Up and Warm-Down Sessions: Before beginning a work out, it is very important to increase muscle flexibility and get the heart beating at a faster rate by doing a warm-up that involves a short cardio and stretching program. Likewise, to prevent cramping afterwards it is important to do more stretching in a warm-down. Prolonged neglecting of these two facets could result in over training symptoms starting to show.


  • Improper Changing of Work Out Conditions: This can include increasing the number of repetitions, the number of sets, the time that a work out is completed over or the weight resistance that an athlete uses when doing their training. Any one of these, if increased too quickly (remember it is always better to err on the side of caution) can result in an over training response.


  • Improper Decisions in Work Out Continuance: From time to time, athletes are going to have to take breaks in their training. It is a fact of life. Everyone experiences flu and cold symptoms, broken bones, sprained muscles and all kinds of injury related symptoms. If they do not take sufficient time off to get the outside influence under control before coming back to their training, an over training situation might arise.


Warning Signs that Over Training has occurred


If an athlete has fallen over into the realm of over training, there are ways to find out and warning signs to look for. In a general sense, over training will manifest itself in an athlete’s co-ordination, conditioning or mood before it will anywhere else and a few of the classic warning signs along those three categories are explained below.


  • Significantly Affected Co-Ordination: This can include things like old mistakes popping up (like a hole in a batter’s swing in baseball or cricket), jerky movements, poor concentration ability and terrible judgment while performing the sport they play. Assuming these are all out of the ordinary for the athlete and all other things have remained equal, chances are if they do occur, they are related to over training.


  • Significantly Affected Conditioning: If an athlete finds that their endurance levels are down, they don’t feel ready for their normal workout or just generally seem to be less inclined from a physical standpoint to give their usual output; chances are they might be suffering the ill-effects of over training


  • Significantly Affected Mood: If an athlete starts to easily show irritation and yells at the coach for normal criticism, this is a big warning sign that they might be over training. If a normally sociable athlete suddenly starts keeping to themselves and avoiding their normal friends and fellow team-mates, this too can be a big warning sign.


The truth is that over training can be just as detrimental to your mental health and physical health as not training enough. Your body needs time to rest, in fact it is during your "down" time that your body builds muscle. Work out in moderation, don’t overdue it and you will experience the kind of results that will improve your athletic performance.