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Whenever I feel I have overtrain I rest, say for 3-5 days, and when I start training again I regress in perfermonance, and have to start builduing up again. It is as if I have been stuck in the same place for years.

How can one train, say for 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week, without injuring or overtraining?

I am asking this because, I am curious how proffesional MMA fighter (who some train 6-8 hours a day) or soldiers who spend alot of time in rigourous physical activitiy without overtraining. (Of course I am sure there are some that overtrain but I am asking about those that overcome it.)

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@Rick-how are you feeling during the day/night when you aren't training? I suffer from overtraining and this feeling affects every part of your day. Constant fatigue, feeling of 'heavy' muscles, no energy –  Bee Jun 22 '12 at 2:38
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

A lot of it has to do with your programming. If you are training for 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week, you have a great potential to do too much. Here's the deal:

  • Overtraining is accompanied by a loss of performance, and in more serious cases can be accompanied by symptoms that look like clinical depression.
  • MMA fighters and military are not training anywhere near their genetic potentials. They are focused primarily on conditioning and skill training.
  • The closer you get to your genetic potential, the easier it is to go from the training stimulus needed to overtraining.

If you are a weightlifter, then the response to overtraining should be:

  • Reduce volume of work for a while (about 2x as long as it took to get into the overtraining state)
  • In serious cases, take a layoff for a couple weeks before slowly coming back on line.
  • Look at your programming really hard. You have to manage training stress, life stress, and recovery.

It may be worth splitting your 3-4 hours up into a couple sessions. Even when you have that amount of workload, you should have cycles of intensity, effort, and rest. For example, after a high intensity or a high effort session, you should probably do a lower effort session.

With a better description of what you are doing, it might help in troubleshooting the programming.

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What do you mean by "MMA fighters and military are not training anywhere near their genetic potentials."? –  Rick Rhodes Feb 28 '12 at 23:59
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An MMA fighter isn't deadlifting 600lbs. They aren't squatting 600lbs. They aren't benching 500lbs. Mainly because the effort to do that doesn't justify the minimal edge it gives you in a fight. Instead, they spend some time on strength, and most of the time on conditioning and skill work. –  Berin Loritsch Feb 29 '12 at 14:00
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My guess

They work up to it gradually over time. They don't go from not working out, or working out moderately hard three times a week, to five hours a day six days a week. Or if they did, it was probably when they were teenagers, at the peak of their recovery abilities.

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Spending those 6 hours/day with a personal trainer who knows what they're doing doesn't hurt either... –  Moses Feb 28 '12 at 20:22
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Pro MMA fighters who are training 6-8 hours a day are most likely doing steroids. In fact, even if they're doing less, they're probably doing steroids. It's an ugly truth of the sport. As for the inevitable source question - you can't train 8 hours/day, 6 days/week without the help of PEDs. If it's not roids, it's definitely painkillers.

And that's the answer to how you can train 3-4 hours/day 5 days a week without injury or overtraining. Steroids.

NB: I'm not suggesting anyone do steroids, in fact my suggestion is always to reduce workout time and increase rest days.

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