By Brandon Richey
As a general rule of thumb, your body is always working to be efficient and to reach a state of balance. This balance, or homeostasis is something that is constantly occurring during your body changing and adapting to the environment that it’s exposed to.
When it comes to the process of training you are creating the environmental stress for your body to give back to you a desired adaptive outcome.
Today I want to talk about how the process of supercompensation—which I’ve broken down into four steps—can give you that desired outcome concerning your strength and fitness.
The Introduction of Training Stress and Adaptation
This stage involves what it sounds like—the stress you place on your body during the process of training.
In this stage, there is going to be an obvious reaction from your body in response to the training stress which is the obvious response of fatigue or tiring. Because of this there is going to be a predictable drop off in performance because of the training stress.
In short, you’re going to be challenged and therefore you will fatigue. This is the normal expectation.
In this stage, your body is going to work to return back to the original baseline prior to the introduction to the training stress, or workout that you introduced for your training.
Energy stores and your performance will return back to the baseline.
During this stage you might involve an active recovery, or lighter training session to introduce some light movement to your body and to allow your body to maintain a level of heightened mobility and function as it repairs from the more intense stress of training from the previous workout.
So when you look at your original baseline of fitness for a given task, or movement this stage involves the adaptive rebound above that original baseline.
It is the rebound from the lowest point at which you previously fatigued yourself the most.
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So in other words, if you had an intense training session with sprints a couple days prior and found yourself starting to fatigue out at sprint number 5 in a 10 sprint workout, once supercompensation has hit you wouldn’t start fatiguing at the same rate. You should be able to make it beyond the 5th run before the same level of fatigue starts to settle in.
This phase of supercompensation is not solely a physiological response, but is also a response due to psychological and technical awareness of the stress that is involved in the workout.
You’re now experienced with the workout and are aware and better adapted for what’s coming during the training session.
This automatically changes the level of stress involved with the workout because now you’re better able to deal with because you’re more familiar with what’s happening.
The Loss of Supercompensation
This is the last stage, and it’s during this part a new stress should be added to challenge your adaption.
Ideally, this new stress should be added at the peak of the supercompensation phase (the previous phase). So for instance if we look at that sprint workout example again then you’ve been adapting to the 10 sprint workout.
Let’s assume your sprint distance, intensity, and volume of 10 total sprint runs has been the same throughout this workout example.
As you adapt to performing at peak performance for those 10 sprints you need to introduce a new training stress to challenge and to continue the adaptation process.
In this example, you could introduce a new stress at the peak of supercompensation by adding a weighted vest to your sprints.
This would obviously slow your progress again and cause another dip in performance until the necessary adaptation process has overcome the new stress of having to perform those sprints with a weighted vest.
If this concept sounds complicated—keep in mind the 4 steps are simply:
1. Introduce a workout
2. Recover effectively from it
3. Add more stress
4. Repeat the process
When you hit a skill level for the workout you’re happy with, you can move on to a new workout and practice this same cycle, or increase the stress of the same workout and progress to a new goal.
At the end of the day, if you expect to get fitter and stronger you’ve got understand how to create and apply stress to your training in order to achieve optimal results. If your program is not progressive in nature then you’re going to hit plateaus and stall out on your gains. Progressive overload is the key to getting optimal results.
Are you currently following a strength and conditioning program to progress your performance and fitness?
What strategies do you use to progress your fitness in order to keep getting better in your training?
Post up and share with us here in the comments below.
Also, if you need help with learning how to progress your training, visit my website, Brandon Richey Fitness.
QUESTION: Coach, my hands get real tired when I’m working out and feel weak. What can I do about this?
ANSWER: Check out this article—10 Tips to Increase Grip Strength.
QUESTION: I used to do general weight training and decided a few months ago to hire a trainer and get past the walls I’d been hitting for gains. The woman I’ve been working with has really been pushing me hard. Thing is, I’m fine when I’m in a session with her, but when it comes to doing the workouts on my own, my mind starts yelling at me it’s too hard and stuff like that and I’m struggling. Can you give me some ways to stop this?
ANSWER: Yes; here’s an article with some awesome tips: Mental Conditioning Inside a Tough Workout.