It is important for coaches to prevent athletes from doing too much too soon. It appears, however, that the susceptibility to overtraining varies between individuals, particularly among highly motivated athletes. The conscientious coach must be aware of the possible signs of over training (Table 1). Although these symptoms may not be present in each case of over training, they may be the most effective means available for identifying its onset. It must be remembered that most of these markers of over training were identified in aerobic training studies and may not be appropriate for identifying over training during anaerobic training.
Perhaps the most effective strength coaching tool for preventing over training is careful planning and monitoring all training sessions. This involves the use of a long-term periodized training program designed to optimize training progress, and minimize the risk of over training, If over training has occurred, training volume and intensity must be decreased immediately to allow restoration of the physiological and psychological systems. If overtraining is detected in time, restoration time may be minimized. However, the temptation to "work through" the problem may result in more serious long term performance decrements.
In conclusion, the diagnosis of over training is primarily based on medical. history, and a variety of physical arid psychological symptoms. Thus far, various laboratory tests have been inconclusive in detecting specific or remarkable changes associated with over training. As a result, coaches must carefully monitor the health and training progress of each athlete.
Femke van Borselen and Netty H. Vos
Department of Health and Exercise Sciences
University of Limburg
Maastricht, The Netherlands
Andrew C. Fry, C.S.C.S.and William J. Kraemer, Ph.D., C.S.C.S.
Center for Sports Medicine
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania