Does Overtraining Exist?

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Editor’s Comment: “In 2012 at the Supertraining “Meet of the Century”, I overheard some conversation going back and forth between the Lilliebridges and Vince Urbank between deadlift warm up sets on the topic of overtraining. These guys were throwing around 5, 6, and 7 plates a side without breaking a sweat. It was unbelievable. So when they spoke, I listened. Here’s what Ernie Lilliebridge Jr has to say about the topic.”

Does Overtraining Really Exist?

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people, even some top lifters, say that it’s impossible to over train your body, and that the body will accommodate and get use to the workloads and adapt. Let me first off tell you that’s total utter BS! Even if you’re enhanced, let it be from supplements or whatever the case is, yes even you to can over train. You may be able to recover faster, train harder, or more days etc… but I can assure you, you can still over train yourself, burn out, and tax your nervous system.

So, to answer the question does overtraining exist?

The simple answer is YES!

I shut people up real quick with giving them this example. If I had you max out every day and keep trying set after set to hit your max not only are you going to fail, but yes you will be over trained, never recover, and have a high risk of getting injured or damn near killing yourself. I have heard people say “your body is a machine it can handle it”. NO, your body is not a machine! If that was the case we would not need oxygen, or sleep, or food, or anything else. You are human, and the human body can only do so much. You need to have a well rounded schedule. Meaning, as much time as you put in the gym training, you must have at least double if not more than that much time for rest and recovery, and also have the food intake to match that of what you are doing. Rest is essential for your body, you must have it. Your muscles are being broken down when training, when you eat and rest that is the time they grow bigger and stronger.

More is NOT always better!

With all that being said, remember that more is NOT always better! Doing more than what is necessary (OVERTRAINING) is not only wasted time and effort, most of the time it is also counter-productive! MEANING that not only will you NOT make any gains, you will end up going BACKWARDS! Ever see “that guy” in the gym doing 100 sets of 100 reps on 100 different exercises? You know, he’s 110lbs soaking wet, and you have seen him in the gym doing this for the past five years and never get any bigger or stronger. DON’T BE ‘’THAT GUY“!! You can train hard, or you can train long, but you can’t do both! Ever see a 325 lb ripped to shreds freak run a marathon? NO! And you NEVER WILL! Or how about a 6’5” 135lb guy squat 1200lbs? Again, HELL NO!

The reason us “Lilliebridges” train the way we do is because we have found it to be the most beneficial way to grow and make gains, all while living our lives, having to work, and managing to get our gym time in. People always ask how the heck I make gains only training 2, some times 3 days out of the week. It’s really quite simple. On the days I’m not lifting I’m resting, eating, and letting my body recover and grow. When it’s time to train my body is fully recovered from the last workout.

Just 2 to 3 simple days of hard training is more than enough to make big gains.

I have tried all different types of training. Lifting 5 times out of the week, benching twice a week, squatting twice a week, even have done all 3 lifts twice a week. Again, they have all lead me to be over trained, make no gains, and go backwards. I have found just 2 to 3 simple days of hard training is more than enough to make big gains. Our numbers speak for themselves as you can see! Everyone has their own philosophies, we found what works best for us, and many other top lifters such as Pete Rubish, Georg Leeman, Chris Hickson, Javier Garcia, even Stan Efferding does training very very similar to us. I guarantee you that if you try it, it will work for you as well! You have to put the work and time in at the gym, but also the food, diet, and rest.

Height: 5’10
Weight: When I am not training for a meet I am around 230ish and when gearing up for a meet I get up to 240ish
Best lifts raw in a Meet: Squat – 661lbs / Bench – 435lbs / Deadlift – 777lbs
Best gym lifts raw: Squat – 710lbs / Bench – 500lbs touch and go / Deadlift – 780lbs

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5 Comments

  1. RJorg

    Anyone who lifts heavy knows how easy it is to totally kill progress. I don’t get why it’s even debatable. Preach the truth brother!

    Reply
  2. ryno76

    Great article! I know I personally started making my best gains when I dialed back the frequency and intensity of my workouts. I realized it was important to listen to my body and not my ego.

    Reply
  3. Perp

    @RJorg: People differ. The problem is that people need to learn what amount of volume is suitable for them. To say that frequency needs to be dialed back universally is asinine. The best Olympic weightlifters training with an incredible amount of volume. Some of the best PLers (think Russians) do as well. It’s an individualistic thing.

    This article is meh. It’s not a matter of whether overtraining exists or not. Furthermore, it doesn’t distinguish between overtraining and OVERREACHING. It’s an elementary article and it doesn’t really help anyone significantly.

    Reply
    1. djsncman

      Overreaching is essentially a short period of over-training which can be recovered from in a short time. Some over reaching can be good but if you overreach for to long it will turn into over-training. If this happens then you will most likely fall below your baseline starting strength or open yourself up to injury or both.

      Reply

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