In the beginning, fitness, as a whole, can be very overwhelming and downright confusing. Regardless of whether you are trying to lose weight, put on muscle, or even just get stronger, a simple google search on how to do these things will result in a very complex array of answers and/or terms you just don’t understand.
Among this array of different terms, you will inevitably come across both progressive overloads and overtraining in calisthenics…
Generally, these two terms are often misunderstood and when this comes to training, let’s just say it is important to understand how progressive overload and overtraining in calisthenics play a role.
So, if you are hoping to understand the difference between the two and/or if they might apply to your form of training, you’ve come to the right place!
As in this article, I will not only emphasize the difference in great detail, but I will specify how these key terms may impact your calisthenics training and goals. Let’s get into this!
Progressive overload – what is it?
Like signing up to a gym, progressive overload is an intentional method utilized for the purpose of taking your gains to the next level. But before I go any further, you must first understand more about the body…
Generally speaking, the body adapts to almost any form of stress. This includes any form of training, and it is the primary reason for the growing and strengthening of the muscles after training.
As long as you keep training, the body will keep adapting so that it is able to deal with the stress that you place on it during training.
As this adaptation occurs, over time, your muscles will become sort of immune to your old practices, which in turn, means you will have to add a new form of additional workload that the body/muscles are not used to in order to keep growing bigger and stronger.
This intentional addition of work that you place on the body is known as progressive overload, and it is a vital key to developing continuous strength and size.
Overtraining – what is it?
Unlike progressive overload, overtraining is not usually an intentional act. As you might’ve guessed, overtraining is the act of training in an overly voluminous fashion. However, it is a bit more complicated than this.
Generally speaking, it can take a while for overtraining to show. What I mean by this is that when any given individual overtrains, it can be several weeks or even months of this repeated habit before the body will begin to give off warning signs.
Most who are new to this area may not realize at first, that they are overtrained. Because of this, many decide to carry on with their training routines before inevitably caving into the negative side effects of overtraining.
The most common side effects of overtraining include brain fog, fatigue, headaches, increased hunger/appetite, reduced strength and/or performance, and a reduced ability to grow muscle.
How long it takes before overtraining kicks in is unique to the individual, and it heavily depends on many inside and outside factors which makes it hard to determine. That being said, symptoms of overtraining tend to kick in after 3-8 weeks.
Should I apply progressive overload in calisthenics?
When it comes to deciding how to go about your training plan and schedule, you will have to decide what it is you want from your training. More specifically, it is essential for your planning and success that you very clearly define what results you want from your workouts.
This is important because depending on your goals, applying progressive overload to your training may or may not be a good idea.
To put this into an example, let’s say you are simply trying to lose body fat. This being the hypothetical case, applying progressive overload to your training would be pointless.
On the other hand, if you are trying to develop as much strength and you possibly can, applying this progression tool would be very essential to your plan and the results you hope to achieve.
All in all, if you are unsure of whether or not you should apply progressive overload to your training, define the results you want and do a bit of research as to whether progressive overload will help you achieve the results you seek.
How do I avoid overtraining in calisthenics?
While avoiding overtraining can be quite simple, it can also be rather complex. Before I go into the more complex answers, the simple answer is to listen to your body.
Yes, I know, your body cannot speak to you, well, not in the way that we speak to each other that’s for sure. However, when we overdo it and harm may be imminent, your body won’t hesitate to tell you
Generally, as we approach the period of being overtrained, you will begin to feel the same symptoms listed above but in a much milder form. A reduction in strength and overall fatigue will be the first signs of a nearly overtrained state. All in all, if you can learn to pick up on these subtle signs that you are doing too much, you can effectively avoid becoming overtrained.
The complex way to avoid overtraining
As mentioned earlier, there is a simple way to avoid it and a more complex way. If you can master the simple way, then these methods won’t matter. Provided you can’t, be sure to try these methods.
Firstly, to avoid overtraining, ensure that you are always well-rested. Listen, if you do not sleep enough, you will not recover from your workouts, and if it comes to a point where you are not recovering, overtraining will set in rather quickly.
Secondly, ensure a diet rich in all the macro and micronutrients needed. While this point is rather unspecific, the general basis of this point is that the body can only fuel itself with what you provide for it. If the body is well-fueled 24/7, keeping an overtrained state at bay will be easier.
Lastly, to avoid overtraining, you must give yourself at least a couple of days per week for recovery. This includes not training but also minimizing the number of other jobs, tasks you may have. Doing so eliminates any stress placed on your body which allows for a non-interrupted recovery period.