Overtraining is an exclusion diagnosis in which, despite sufficient regeneration over a period of at least two weeks, there is a reduction in performance without any detectable organic disease.

Engl. Overtraining Syndrome


Under a Overtraining one understands an overload condition of the organism. The overtraining is caused by continuous training with excessive intensities. Overtraining is characterized by an initially stagnating state of performance with ultimately falling performance. Overtraining is problematic, as the decline in performance is often attributed to incorrect or even insufficient training. Side effects of overtraining are common sleep disorders, a headache and stress. A decline in performance due to illness, for example infections, must be ruled out.


The symptoms of overtraining are decreased performance despite intensive and frequent training. This is often associated with a deterioration in technology. But stagnating performance does not have to go through Overtraining be conditional. These are mostly too monotonous and too weak training stimuli. A variability in the Training plan provides a remedy here. Other symptoms of overtraining are, as mentioned above, sleep disorders, headaches, susceptibility to infectious diseases, increased Resting heart rate, as well as exercise pulse and increased Lactate levels. Other side effects are pain in the musculoskeletal system. The susceptibility to injury increases and Fatigue fractures consequences. The muscles can also be damaged by overtraining and it can too Torn muscle fibers come, e.g. to the Torn muscle fibers in the chest. Depending on the athlete and performance level, overtraining can lead to too depressions to lead.

Recognize overtraining

In a running competition cycle or in preparation for a competition over a certain period of time, overtraining can occur. When overtraining, the body will beyond its limits burdened, and that over a period of time. Overtraining manifests itself in various ways and should be recognized early enough by an athlete. The most common signs are fatigue, listlessness, Drop in performance, frequent Injuries, low pulse, increased blood pressure and general weakness. Not all of these symptoms are immediately apparent. Occurs z. B. If listlessness occurs not just for two days, but for weeks, you should give your body an urgent break.
If necessary, you also provide a stronger one aching than usual. This is a sign of the body with which it signals that it is something more Quiet needed.
One of the most obvious signs is a failure to increase performancewho often even become one Drop in performance developed. Come Lack of concentration, frequent Infections, allergic reaction and weakness in general, this is an emergency signal from the body that it needs rest and relaxation.

Symptom of muscle breakdown

Overtraining has many symptoms and is therefore usually recognized early. However, if overtraining is ignored, then it can due to the lack of regeneration also lead to muscle loss, i.e. exactly the opposite of what the training should achieve.
After a training session, the body is only given a short break during which it cannot recover 100 percent. Another training session falls into this regeneration phase and a new stimulus hits the muscles. The body and especially the muscles are not yet able to cope with this stimulus, since they had no chance to completely recover from the first stimulus. If this development is not stopped and the recovery time is extended, the level of performance continues to decline.
Due to the physical weakness, the hormonal balance is also messed up and it becomes produces less testosterone. In this context, the body also begins to break down muscle cells as there is less testosterone available to maintain them. In addition to the falling level of performance, the athlete notices pain in the muscles and ligaments.

Symptom diarrhea

One of the symptoms of overtraining is diarrhea and is almost always underestimated because athletes are reluctant to talk about it. Stomach cramps and the feeling of having to empty the bowel occur just as often.
This is related to the changes in the body. Because overtraining causes many different symptoms, the body is going "crazy". The testosterone value drops, the muscle cells are broken down and the psyche also suffers from excessive overload. Changes in the hormone balance can have a negative effect on food processing in the stomach and intestines. Food is no longer digested as well, the intestine withdraws less water from food and many important nutrients are no longer absorbed or only in small quantities. In addition, the gastrointestinal tract is less supplied with blood due to muscle breakdown and can therefore not work properly. All of this can lead to a feeling of nausea during or after exercise and diarrhea or vomiting.

Are you interested in this topic? For detailed information, see: Diarrhea after exercise


The Overtraining a distinction is made between sympathetic overtraining (basedown) and parasympathoid overtraining (addisonoid). Sympathetic overtraining is rather temporary and characterized by increased heart rate, sleep disorders and organ-related complaints. Parasympathetic overtraining is more chronic and characterized by depressive components. The latter are more difficult to diagnose due to the lack of symptoms.

root cause

Overtraining is caused by overexertion over a long period of time. The overtraining usually occurs in anaerobic lactic acid Energy range (Load in the range of 30 sec - 2 min) and during intense endurance exercise. A sudden increase in the amount of training (Units per week) and too frequent competitions are also possible causes of overtraining. In addition, there are stressful situations such as exams, relationship problems, bottlenecks in the time budget or too early resumption of training after illnesses and one-sided nutrition as training-independent factors for overtraining symptoms. The cause of overtraining is a wrong rhythm of exercise and recovery. The training always sets the stimulus for adaptation processes during the regeneration period. However, if the body is not given enough time to adapt, a new training stimulus is set too early. However, the organism is still in the development phase.

Overtraining in bodybuilding

Overtraining in bodybuilding is relatively common. Due to the high competitive pressure, the first symptoms are often ignored.

Overtraining is im Bodybuilding a well-known and widespread phenomenon and occurs over a certain period of time after excessive and long-lasting exposure. The Musculature and also that central nervous system can no longer cope with the constant stress, because too little Regeneration time is scheduled. The fatigue keeps increasing.

Especially in bodybuilding, it's always about that to go to the limit and to exercise more than the competition. Muscles and Tendons but don't do this in the long run. The first signs are often overlooked by the athletes and they continue training. It is easier to counteract overtraining in the early stages than pronounced overtraining. The second variant is found more and more often in bodybuilding, as the many competitions put enormous pressure on the athlete. Above all, the high level of competition in bodybuilding ensures that the first symptoms are easily overlooked or ignored. Those who have trained less generally have no chance of getting onto the podium in competitions. Also the principle, which is wrongly used too often, "A lot brings a lot“Is firmly anchored in bodybuilding.

Overtraining while running

Overtraining can be observed relatively often in running, as training here is about achieving better and better times and always improving. The pressure to perform is incredibly high here, and too much break every day could give the opponents an advantage.

If there are too many running units and too few rest breaks, the normally positive training effect is reversed and the body breaks down even though you train so much.
When running, the causes of overtraining are often too intense tempo and uphill runs in combination with a dense sequence of units with very few breaks. Another cause of overtraining can be many long endurance units be in quick succession.
Even with this form, the result is less or more pronounced overtraining.

In order to avoid overtraining, every runner should ensure sufficient recovery time and not train according to the motto: "If I run more, then all the better." So that overtraining can not occur in the first place, everyone should exercise their body and hear its signs of exhaustion. The following symptoms can indicate overtraining: Reduced physical performance, reduced strength, loss of appetite, weight loss, recovery phases last longer, fatigue, sleep disorders, mental instability and a tendency to infections and injuries.


An established diagnostic program does not yet exist. Since overtraining is linked to multifactorial causes and different symptoms, a uniform diagnosis is almost impossible. A confrontation with the athlete through personal conversations and Wellbeing tests can be helpful in finding a diagnosis. There is a standardized questionnaire POMS (profile Of mood state), which can be helpful.


Also there is no special drug therapy. Treatment with nutritional supplements and antidepressants is not recommended. However, it is advisable to switch off the causes for the occurrence of overtraining. A change of load (temporary change of sport) is also recommended over a short period of time. In some cases, overtraining is chronic and can last for months.

How can overtraining be treated?

Depending on the degree of overtraining, the therapy can vary in type and length. A sports medical examination is strongly advised. First and foremost, the body must initially be given sufficient time to sufficiently compensate for all stresses and overloads. In less serious cases, a training break of about a week is usually sufficient. Doping is in no way a treatment for overtraining.

How long should the sport be paused?

Should be over-trained immediately a break be inserted. If the athlete is at an early stage of overtraining, then one is recommended absolute training break of several days. An absolute break from training means doing without any sport or intense exercise. Alternatively, the training can be significantly reduced in intensity and scope and only continued with low loads until the athlete feels recovered.
However, it also occasionally happens that overtraining is recognized very late. In some cases, athletes' excessive ambition is the problem and they ignore the signs of overtraining. In such cases the athlete, whether in endurance or strength training, should pause for at least two months so that the body can completely recover. A maximum recovery time of three months is sufficient to restore the body to its full capacity.

How can overtraining be avoided?

In addition to sufficient rest periods between training units, care should be taken to ensure that there is sufficient nutrient intake in order to stimulate regeneration.

In order to avoid overtraining, you should know your body very well. Optimal design, alternating between stress and relaxation, is decisive for sporting success. How long the breaks after training really are, nobody can say exactly. The single ones Regeneration times for the different muscle groups play a role. If these are known, an appropriate recovery after training can be guaranteed. This is often only possible for experienced athletes who have been training for many years and therefore know their bodies well.

It is a bit easier to pay attention to a few important points in order to avoid overtraining.
Especially after a workout the body should enough sleep be available. Sufficient sleep ensures a good recovery and prevents overtraining. The nutrition also plays an important role. Who his body after a training supplies the right nutrients, it makes regeneration easier. To counteract overtraining you should also try this Stress level to keep it as low as possible in everyday life. In the long run, stress promotes overtraining, as it prevents the organism from regenerating. And above all the training plan should be chosen so that between the individual training units always enough recreation is scheduled.

One should always rely on the body's own stimuli. Hurts the Musculature, we strongly advise against training. Usually enough 24 to 48 Hours to regenerate strong supra-threshold stimuli. Too strong stimuli lead to a strong one aching and therefore require longer regeneration times. However, that doesn't mean that a Strength training or Endurance training shouldn't be noticeable.
If you follow these simple rules, you can easily avoid overtraining.

Natural bodybuilding is a good way to train the body naturally, healthy and without the help of doping agents and other substances. Read more about this topic under: Natural bodybuilding - what is it?

Overtraining and the Consequences

If overtraining occurs, there are direct consequences for the time being lack of performance increasethat quickly turns into a Drop in performance developed because the body is no longer able to maintain the level.

In addition to increased aggressiveness, listlessness and general weakness, overtraining can lead to too hormonal changes to lead. Hormones necessary for the Muscle building are only produced in smaller quantities and also the Testosterone production can go back. This can make it a massive one Muscle breakdown come.

Overtraining can also do that Weakened immune system so infections and Allergies may occur. In addition to the susceptibility to diseases, the muscles and the supporting apparatus are particularly affected. It can too Muscle injuries, Inflammation in joints, Damage to tendons and Ribbons and weak muscle contraction occur.

If you do not pay attention to the symptoms and signs of your body for overtraining, or if you do so much too late, it can also in pronounced cases depressions come and the quality of life will decrease significantly. At this point at the latest you should get a Time out before the body pulls the emergency brake and refuses to work.