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Advanced Weightlifting: Overreaching and Supercompensation
When you first started lifting weights, you saw almost immediate results and could build muscle quickly, assuming you knew what to do or had a personal trainer to guide you. Your muscles have never been subjected to the physical exertion or full range of motion involved in proper weightlifting form, so your body has responded by giving you rapid muscle growth.
For natural bodybuilders and weightlifters, meaning those who do not use steroids or other drugs, this is often the period of greatest muscle growth in a limited amount of time. But there is another way that many athletes can enjoy similar gains at different times while you progress.
Called ‘overshooting’ and ‘supercompensation’, these are extreme workouts best left to advanced intermediate and expert weightlifters, for three reasons. First, this form of training is very intense, so it is best used only by those who have already prepared their muscles, ligaments, tendons and central nervous system for heavy lifting.
Second, you need enough advanced weightlifting or bodybuilding experience to be able to perform your exercises with perfect form for every rep to ensure you don’t seriously injure yourself. The third reason is that you need a well-developed mind-muscle connection to know how far you can go and when you need to back off.
Assuming you already meet all 3 criteria, here’s what the concept is all about. You will be overtraining your muscles for a very limited period of time – say two to three weeks. This doesn’t mean using weights that are too heavy for you and ruining your form, or using lighter weights for more reps or more sets. You’ll use the heaviest weights you can safely move through a full range of motion while maintaining perfect form with every rep.
After the warm-up sets, you’ll do 3-5 work sets for each exercise, performing 3 or 4 exercises per body part and working the whole body in each session, three times a week. Having spent years in the weight room or home gym, you already know how intense this will be – it will leave you exhausted and out of breath.
You should also know by now that doing this exercise for a month or two would overtrain you and your body wouldn’t be able to recover enough between workouts. Your energy levels would plummet, you wouldn’t be motivated to exercise, and you’d actually lose muscle mass as a result of the damage these workouts would do.
So after doing these extreme exercises for 2 to 3 weeks, switch to a much lighter workout for a week – say half as many exercises using 50% weight and do 4×10 instead. For your body this is almost like a vacation week as it can easily recover quickly from each session.
It also gives your body time to heal any damage caused by your over-exercise and build muscle quickly in case it falls victim to further extreme exercise. This greater strength and muscle growth is called supercompensation, as your body overcompensates for the sudden extreme exercise and the damage it has done.
If you are currently an advanced intermediate or expert bodybuilder or weightlifter, take stock to see if your body is ready for these extreme exercises and, if so, give it a try – you’ll love the results! Just be sure to get more sleep and a higher protein intake during the overexertion and supercompensation weeks because your body will need all the help you can give it.
Limit your bouts with this system to once or twice a year, especially if your muscle mass or strength plateaus during regular exercise. Any more frequent use of these techniques risks pushing you into overtraining and can diminish your results by allowing your body to get used to the effort.
If you’re a new bodybuilder or weightlifter, or if you’re not sure if you can perform every rep with strict form, hide this information until you’re ready for extreme training and other advanced weightlifting techniques. When the time comes, you will be very glad!
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#Advanced #Weightlifting #Overreaching #Supercompensation