Over-training is usually defined as a condition where one's volume and intensity in training is exceeding the individual's capacity to recover. Especially in any sport, where the variables of volume and intensity are manipulated all the time to ensure constant adaptation of the body to the stimuli provided, it is important to ensure that recovering from training is adequate to meet those training demands. When that doesnt happen, overtraining occurs and many don't seem to recognise it.
If a load meant to feel easy begins feeling difficult, something must be wrong right?
Even for weightlifters or powerlifters or anyone involved in the strength sports, overall poundage or tonnage is critical to periodisation and constant improvement in the lifts. Overdoing it will result in poor performance, increased risk of injury and the lack of progress.
But more importantly, you need to be able to recognise the symptoms that could possibly lead to overtraining. Many articles always mentioned the signs of overtraining but signs are objectively measurable while symptoms are more subjective. Being able to recognise the symptoms would allow you to recognise the situations which could lead you to overtraining.
1. You think you are not training hard enough.
You look at the exercises in your program and you think the loading is too easy or there are insufficient exercises. You want to do more reps, more sets, more exercises, hit more areas of your body within that session. You feel you have not accomplished something if you don't hit a PB or you don't sweat enough. You just want to do more and finish each session smashed and have nothing left in the tank.
Most of the time when you fall into this category, chances are that you are going to be over-training. Not every session needs to be a killer. In the whole picture of periodisation, there are times where the loading is less or the volume is less. This is to allow for constant adaptation and it's just a piece in the entire puzzle. Learn to trust the program and have the belief that the program is pushing you to help you gain the results at the end of the day, not kill you day after day.
2. You are either always injured or sick.
Every other week, you fall sick or get a bug and cant train. Recovering slightly, you get back into training and end up falling sick again. Or you feel a small niggle and push past it. Suddenly it becomes an injury and you take some time off. You come back from it but get injured again because you went too hard too fast.
Usually when this happens, it's a sign that your body is breaking down. The purpose of training is to break the body down to allow it to build back up stronger. Breaking it down too much or too often will result in too much stimulus to the systems of your body and not allowing it to recover enough. So a drop in your immune system or structural trauma of your muscles indicate that healing is needed. See it as nature's way of telling you to let your body take a break and not physically break it.
There are many ways to figure out whether you are over-training or not. But these are the two I look out for. Especially in the weightlifting movements or any other movements involved with the sport, being able to identify these two symptoms is critical to ensuring longevity in the sport. Consistency in training is important so that you can continually have good practice of the lifts at a certain intensity. If you find yourself falling into these two categories, you are pushing yourself towards the direction of over-training too easily.