Improving performance for any person who wants to be better through appropriately designed training programs is crucial to success. Equally important to the success of an athlete in any sport is adequate recovery from intense training. When there is an imbalance between training loads and recovery, the potential of overtraining and development of overtraining syndrome (OTS) exist. In other words, too much training and too little recovery is a bad formula to improve performance.

While considerable research exists on OTS, controversy remains regarding how to define, evaluate, and remedy this syndrome. For effectively studying OTS, consistent terminology is needed. The recommendations of the consensus statement are from the work of Halson and Urhausen. In this definition overtraining is considered a process that can result in overreaching in the short term (functional overreaching) or extreme overreaching (non functional overreaching) or OTS in the long term. Each of these conditions results in a sports performance decrements that is a hallmark of overtraining. In the case of functional overreaching training is purposely intensified to cause a brief decrements in performance followed by a few days or weeks of recovery. The result is a supercompensative improvement in performance. An example is a final maximal training session a few weeks before a competition, followed by a gradual tapering period leading up to an enhance performance. Nonfunctional overreaching is characterized by a stagnation or decrease in sport performance, with recovery requiring weeks to months in order for the athlete to return to the previous level of performance.


If intensified training continues without adequate recovery, an athlete can progress to OTS, in which performance is decreased and for which months of recovery would be required to return the athlete to prior levels of performance.


This condition is not rare to be found in athletes who train themselves, so you can easily get OTS if the volume and intensity of your training are very high.


One of the best strategies to prevent OTS is to follow good nutrition guidelines as well as getting sufficient sleep and recovery time. It's important to learn how your body reacts to training and have the ability to modify your training volume to prevent any symptom of OTS.


  • By Sebastian Rebollo
  • Master in physical Activity
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
  • Photo by: Victor Freitas from Pexels