• BioLayne Video Log 3: Overtraining

    Posted In: News  /  Posted On: 08.09.12

    In the 3rd installment of the BioLayne Video Log Layne discusses overtraining.  What is it? Should we be worried about it? How does it relate to workout protocols? Finally he discusses the validity of trying to limit exercise induced cortisol responses.

    • Michael

      Great informative video Layne. perfect timing before i go destroy Hams + Bis with a workout thats going to last over a hour. #NotGettingGuru’d

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000500295844 Greg Farris

      Good stuff Layne. It’s good you can relate science to everyone so that they can understand and make proper improvements. Looking forward to others.

    • http://brookeericksonfitness.com Brooke Erickson

      I was just talking about this exact subject in the gym! I am so glad you did a vlog on this because I am always having to defend myself as to why I train muscle groups multiple times a week!

      • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

        yea it’s obviously worked terrible for you… who do you think you are? An IFBB pro LOL ;)

    • Marius Baltazar

      I agree with you from my personal experience and current study. To me, It seems to be in parrallel with the common talk about “training to failure” within workouts and sets but in a larger scale. Great info on the physiological explanations ! I’m still using the PHAT undulating periodization and currently de-loading /recovering. What would be points to look for in a proper recovery time frame to maximize the “rebound effect” ?

    • Norma Korpics

      I love listening to your expertise & reading your informative blogs as well. Thank you Layne. You’ve made me a better athlete! Now I can back up how I workout ;D & how I eat too.

    • http://Bradgatens.com Brad

      Some great points here about highly regarded assumptions and conclusions that a lot of us have been taught or exposed to. Perhaps you could go into detail about how the Cns is effected by high volume/frequency training. Thanks.

    • Matt

      Awesome video! Would love to see future videos talking more about proper periodization methods

    • Luke

      How long do your training sessions go for Layne ?
      I have been doing phat for 6 weeks now and some sessions go for 1 hour and 20 mins and after 1 hour i start rushing because of the bogeyman bullshit you here about over training and how your not meant to train for more then 1 hour….

      ps. I love your useful free information backed up by science !!!!

      • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

        some of my sessions get up to 3 hours long

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740465868 Steve Thresher

          I always thought the hour limit was based on glycogen reserves. Is that wrong or do you use a carb supplement for longer training sessions?

        • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

          lol no. If you have full glycogen you aren’t going to burn through 500g of glycogen in an hour of lifting

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000709689558 Ronnie Williams

      Great Video, really enjoyed listening to the info you shared. Keep up the good work!

    • Mikael Larsson

      Undertrained muscles and overtrained CNS <– this is me. Great stuff as always, so excited to put your knowledge to work and see where it takes me.

    • Mark Smith

      Great information. They say you learn something new every day. Well they are right, if you follow Layne Norton’s info!

      • Steve

        Layne, kind of off topic but if I’m more of an ectomorph, around 9-10% bodyfat, 21, 6’0 175lbs and I eat P/C/F 245/315/90 for around 3050 cals, i’m not super skinny now but a little stomach fat, do you think I need more cals b/c I eat basically as much as I can already. If so, from which macro? That’s 1.4g protein/lbs but i’m natural. Thanks man!

        • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

          i don’t know your metabolism try upping carbs

    • Ty Dinh

      I totally agree! But I have a question in response to your vlog- is it detrimental to continually push to failure in a wide range of reps? I generally start out with 2-3 compound movements and do 3-5 reps for the 1st, 6-8 on the 2nd excersize, and incrementally push the reps as the workout proceeds, whereas, I push to 20 or so reps at the last excersize of my workout for a particular bodypart(s) that I am doing.

      Also, is doing a lower rep range even considered true muscular failure? I know you can break a muscle more complete pushing the rep range into a 8 and above range, as opposed to a 2 or 3 rep range; so doing a lower rep range instead of a deload, work the same?

      • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

        it’s still failure and all rep ranges have benefits, and you actually don’t necessarily need to train to failure to overreach, much of it can be done through volume alone

        • Ty Dinh

          ok, I appreciate it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=545000778 Fredrik Kvist Gyllensten

      Link to the study by Stuart Phillips?

    • Ramiro

      how long should those short periods of overtraining be?

    • Edward

      While I do agree with pretty much everything here. I think the use of absolutes to say that exercise NEVER causes catabolism is incorrect: although fairly uncommon in healthy, well-hydrated individuals without electrolyte abnormalities, rhabdomyolisis can occur with exercise and there are published cases of it (one example: http://www.casesjournal.com/content/2/1/7).

      Other than that, great video!

      • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

        rhabdomyalosis while technically is ‘catabolic’ is not the kind of catabolism we are talking about. I’m referring to slow muscle loss over time, not massive acute muscle damage that basically only occurs in untrained people who undergo a crazy workout and have crazy high levels of CK

        • Edward

          Right. I just want to make sure that people understand that they can incur damage if they decide to be overzealous with their training, especially while starting out. Because I’m willing to bet that someone heard “you can train as much and as hard as you want and nothing bad will happen” when clearly that was not the message.

          I understand that rhabdomyolysis is an acute “catabolic” process due to inadequate provisions to muscle tissue given a certain stress (essentially an infarction), not so much an actual change in metabolic processes. However, you can still achieve such a state if you’re very ostentatious with your training. I know a few lifters who managed to achieve this effect, but it is a rather uncommon occurrence.

        • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

          I don’t believe I ever said ‘train as much as you can’. That is not wise either. An overreaching cycle is all relative. Overreaching to a beginner may be a modest amount of volume working each bodypart 2x/week, for someone who’s been training 10 years it may be double that. It’s all relative

        • Edward

          Agreed. I was merely stating that someone may misinterpret what you are saying and over-exert themselves by doing a 5 hour balls-to-the-wall intensity and volume workout when the proper conditioning is lacking. I just generally try to avoid absolutes: never say never!

          I’ll be looking forward to your next video!

    • Kris P.

      Layne, I know you are familiar with the concepts of DC training and I wanted to get your opinion with regards to the information you present in your video as it pertains to DC training. DC can be considered a type of HIT training, but it takes on a unique form and allows for training the muscle multiple times per week. DC also allows for progressive overload on the muscle and a means for constant progression. With DC, if the proper diet is in place, the strength gains that are had translate into gains in muscle.

      Now, you state that HIT training is the best way to undertrain the muscle but overtrain the CNS. First, do you consider DC to be HIT training or is it separate from the tradition HIT approach in your mind? Second, if you do consider DC to be HIT, then what is the explanation for those who train DC style for years and make continuous gains?

      Thanks in advance.

      -Kris

      • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

        I like some aspects of DC training. What I don’t like is it’s really not periodized and again the only way to really make progress is to increase reps or weight. You can’t get stronger forever, so you must have a periodized protocol to continue to progress after a certain level.

        • Kris P.

          Thanks Layne. I am strong DC advocate, and have used DC very successfully, however I do understand that once you reach certain level of development the approach to your training must change. I do believe that Dc training provides one of the most effective approaches to build strength and mass and cycling DC training with a more volume oriented approach allows for constant progression.

          I feel that as you build the strength through DC, you can carry that over to volume training and after a period of volume training, shift back to DC…and so on. What are your thoughts on that approach?

          Additionally, DC does allows for a periodized approach in moving from a 2-way split to a 3-way split that reduces the frequency slightly but increases the volume. Which I feel is another valid methodology for progression.

          I do appreciate your comments and enjoy the level of intellect and professionalism of your work.

          I look forward to your feedback.

    • Mo

      Hi layne, I have a kind of weird question.

      if you have two people with with the same body fat, lets say 5%. they both have similar genetics, but one power lifts; for example squats, bechpress and deadlifts 3 – 4 times a week for a low rep range (2-5) and the other gears towards a more classic body building workout, how would the two look different on stage?

      thanks for your time.

      • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

        you are asking me to quantify something that is unquantifiable

    • Jeremy

      What are your thoughts on pushing hard with high amount of volume/frequency, then taking the so called “rest” period by just dropping the frequency and then adding it back after you have recovered and obtained the rebound gains?

      • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

        i would drop volume before I’d drop frequency

    • Steve

      Hey Layne, I really appreciate the site and your rational, scientific perspective, it is a breath of fresh air amongst the stench of utter bull shit :) However, this particular log has left me confused. If you could comment on my question I’d really appreciate it.

      First of all, I should state that I want to train for size, and am willing to do whatever is necessary, but I am getting tired and frustrated as I seem to keep sacrificing effort and time on fallacious exercising regimes.

      Recently I have become an advocate of high intensity training, and have saw excellent results on my major muscles (pecs in particular) but little success on minor muscles (biceps, triceps). I exercise each body part every 9 days. As you said, the theory sounds excellent on paper.

      If what you say is true, I am indeed guilty of attributing these gains to the wrong premise. However, previously, and for a far longer duration, I trained with high volume and found little to no results, although, I was guilty of not eating enough calories, which could have been more detrimental than I assumed?

      Should I stick to high intensity training for the major muscles until I plateau, and start working out my smaller muscles more frequently, perhaps once every 2-3 days?

      Or should I find a completely new routine, perhaps your PHAT routine?

      Thanks Layne, much respect. Keep up the great work!

      P.S I’ll be sure to get a Biolayne T shirt when my university lone comes through!

      • http://www.biolayne.com Layne Norton

        i would really really really recommend moving up your frequency and using some periodization. I think you will find a much better response this time.

        • Steve

          I appreciate the reply Layne, means a lot : )

    • George

      I’ve heard arguments not to overtrain many times. But I also never seen any real Bio info that exercise increases muscle breakdown. The reason for the addition of muscle is not completely clear (it is suspected to be the stimulus of the nerve neurons attached to the muscle fibers), but is not because we break down muscle and then rebuild it. One thing on overtraining I have personally noticed when I ran long distances is the resting heart rate (morning after waking). If you keep track, if you r resting heart rate is much higher (10-20 beats) you are under stress. Either a cold, virus, not enough calories etc – you need more recovery time.

    • Yaroslav

      How do I know of I’m doing too much or not enough? What would I use to gauge that and modify my training? Is it based on how I feel or simply the results I’m receiving? I want to be able to find the sweet spot on my own but I’m not sure what to look for.

    • Grant Willingham

      so training for an hour, might actually be under training if your not using enough intensity, i havent been seeing alot of gains, i might try training for 1:30 hours and see if i see better results :) i normally eat 2 whole eggs, 6 whites and a cup of oats is this enough before a training session?

    • http://www.theskinnyguysaviour.com Marwan Killu

      Hi layne, great information you have really opened our eyes into the myths of cortisol and overtraining.

      Always great to listen to the science part!

    • overbuilded

      Hi Layne, nice vlog again!

      I noticed u didnt talk almost anything about chronical overtraining.

      I’m now strugging with it (at least I think I am) and I’m having a hard time finding studys about it on the internet. Do you know any good studys or reseaches regarding overtraining (chronical, no overreaching)?

      And what would u do if you were tired all the time, your pulse is elevated and everything feels a bit miserable? I had that a while ago, and I have been taking a break from training. About two weeks ago I tried to start training again, did a few heavier workouts and all the symptoms came back. Now that I have been taking a break for two weeks, I feel almost 100% normal again.

      Would you still recommend taking a total break from from lifting? When should I start lifting again, and with what intensity? How sould I do it?

      (I have been to the doctor, nothing was found and blood test results were normal. The doctor also thought I am overtrained. Besides training, I had a lot of other stress factors and I think those are the main reason for this)

      I really hope that you have time to answer this, Thanks :)

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    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001229664147 Joe Chadburn

      Love your videos, Sir! Thanks!

    • J C H

      Ok so you told that i need to recover muscle fir gains or must not allow muscle to recover?

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