Overcompensation: the banner call of the personal trainer

Overcompensation: the banner call of the personal trainer

The secret recipe for overcompensation? Periodization!

By Pierre-Luc Dubé

The periodization of training is actually the gameplan of a physical trainer. It is a course of action that allows, among other things, to coordinate the physical qualities necessary for an athlete’s performance.

Periodization should be based on the main events of a season. There are several ways to schedule an athlete’s training. There is no miracle recipe and the approach must be adapted according to the daily life of the client. For example, for an athlete still studying, you have to consider his study load, his number of working hours, his vacation, etc. Thus, with a written plan it becomes easier to plan everything and avoid oversights. For this article, there will be no details directly related to periodization, but rather the purpose and principles of training programming. The online course offered by Myriam Paquet will help you use and understand the different training planning methods to better meet clients’ performance objectives.

Fatigue is a key principle in training. It is this parameter which allows muscular and physiological adaptations. Fatigue reduces our performance capacity and will be more or less pronounced depending on the intensity and nature of the training.

With fatigue comes recovery. It allows the adaptation of training-related adaptations, but is often overlooked. An interesting expression demonstrates this point: “Rest as hard as you train. This is not wrong, because the more fatigue you generate through training, the longer the rest will have to be. If recovery is not optimal, an accumulation of fatigue will be observed and will eventually result in what is called overtraining.

However, if training is well planned, our athlete can benefit from the ultimate goal of periodization: overcompensation. It is a phenomenon that is defined as the increase in physical capacity beyond the initial level of an individual following a cycle of pronounced fatigue and repeated recoveries over time. The literature seems to show an improvement of up to 3% in performance during this period. Periodization aims to create overcompensation at the right time in an athlete’s competitive year. It normally takes place within a period called “sharpening” or “taper”. There are various sharpening models that can be used to promote the phenomenon of overcompensation. However, they meet certain basic rules:

There is no prefabricated recipe for training planning. It is however essential to have a guideline in order to make sure to introduce all the important parameters to be developed with a view to performance. In addition, beyond the demand for sport, it is necessary to take into consideration the daily life of our athlete. So, when D-Day arrives, it will be at its maximum capacity and even more.


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