Supercompensation - Training is not the same as training

martial arts - karate

What is supercompensation? Supercompensation is a technical term from training theory, and describes a principle according to which the body after a training load (stimulus-setting) not only tries to restore the old performance level, but also to increase and maintain this performance level.

This process takes place in the regeneration phase after a stimulus is given during training.

Heterochronism of adaptation
Author / Graphics: Shmuel Csaba Otto Traian [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( oder GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

It is therefore extremely important, if you want to achieve a Training Effect (e.g. to become stronger or faster), to set these phases of physical recovery optimally. If the break between training sessions is too long, the Training Effect is lost. On the other hand, if the regeneration phase between training units is too short, the body does not have enough time and the performance level drops. This drop in performance level also occurs if you train too much and too hard. This is called over-training.

Simplified supercompensation procedure

  1. Performance level at initial state. Training stimulus is set.
  2. Body drops to lower performance level.
  3. Body tries during the regeneration phase (training break) initial state, and beyond that to increase performance level.
  4. adaptation of the body takes place. Performance level increased.
  5. Performance improvements are reversible, therefore the performance level slowly decreases again if no new training stimulus is set.

When is the optimal time for the next training stimulus?

amz box en.jpgThis is exactly the point where many fail! Depending on physical conditions, training level, nutrition, sleep, as well as the intensity of the training stimulus, the optimal time for the next training session or the length of the regeneration phase / training break varies.

One way to determine the status of supercompensation would be to measure the lactate value (salt of lactic acid) in the blood. The resting lactate value is approximately between 0.6 and 2 mmol per liter of blood. If the lactate value in the lactate test is clearly above the resting lactate value, the body is still overacidified and needs time to break down the lactate.

Another, and probably more user-friendly, variant is measuring the resting pulse rate in the morning after getting up. If the value is within the usual normal range, the body has had enough time to regenerate. If, on the other hand, the value is about 10% or more above the normal resting heart rate, the body still needs time to prepare for the next training session. The body or the immune system could already react to the overload with an infection. An additional day off from training would be advisable.

Training is not equal to training!

A well-known motto is: "Training takes place outside your comfort zone!". That means, a training training (jogging, strength training, or in the field of Karate Kihon, Kata, Kumite, ...) in which no training stimulus is set, is no training!

  1. Energy reserves exhausted / enzymes used up.
  2. Movements become slower.
  3. Musculature tires / trembles.
  4. Muscles burn / ache (no pain / no gain).
  5. Training stimulus set!

Training despite sore muscles?

amz box2 en.jpgShould you train with sore muscles or should you rather not? A frequently asked question that everyone has to answer for themselves. Also here, various factors such as physical conditions, level of training, age, living conditions (stress, enough and above all healthy sleep, nutrition, ...) play a role. Sore muscles are caused by acidification/lactate and small micro-cracks in the muscles, which are repaired by protein building blocks.

If the sore muscles are very strong, it is better to refrain from training. If, on the other hand, you only feel a slight muscle ache, movement and light training can even accelerate the healing process. One reason for this is the improved blood circulation with nutrients (sub-elements, protein, etc.) and oxygen of the corresponding muscle groups. This also promotes the breakdown of salt/lactic acid in the muscle.

Steps for faster regeneration

There are several methods to get fit for the next training session faster. One example would be nutrition: fresh ginger, for example, promotes blood circulation and lactate breakdown in muscle tissue, so goodbye to sore muscles. (Article: 7 tips for accelerated regeneration)

More tips for the regeneration of the body:

  • Sufficient and healthy sleep.
  • Healthy and varied nutrition.
  • Balance, avoid stress!
  • Massages, sauna, steam baths, wellness, ...
Author: Sascha from

Author: Sascha

Some words about myself. My name is Sascha - i'm a software developer and martial artist from germany. Besides programming and martial arts some of my interests and hobbies are cooking, fitness and hearing loud heavy metal music. :D

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