I work out three times a week, using a full body workout plan, doing one leg exercise each time (squats, lunges, deadlifts, with the largest weight I can lift, so it's quite challenging). Two-three times a week I also do cardio in the form of HIIT to maintain/decrease my body fat, either running or using a stationary bike. It's short (around 20 minutes), but rather intense (8-12 intervals).

The question is, can these sessions cause overtraining with respect to my legs? Basically I use my legs quite intensively 5-6 days a week, so might the cardio days prevent them to get enough rest between two workout days?

2 Answers 2



Sure, extra training can cause overtraining. But I don't think it'll be because you're overworking your legs.

Squats are Not "Leg Exercises"

Squats and deadlifts are only leg exercises if you're concerned with bodybuilding. They may be primarily leg-oriented, but they are full-body exercises. Your back and trunk, for instance, do a large amount of work in both squats and deadlifts.

Recovery is a Whole-Body Affair

You might overwork your legs. But it's much more likely that you'd overwork everything. The problem, if overtraining arises, would not be that you're overworking your leg muscles. It would be that you're taxing your recovery ability generally. Interval training and lifting both take a lot to recover from. Your sleep and nutrition have to be spot-on to do both in a 5-6 day workout regimen without risking burnout in the long term.

This doesn't mean that you necessarily will run into overtraining issues. My point is just that if you do, it won't necessarily be because of your legs. Your current workout plan sounds pretty great. If it's working, it's working. If you start feeling burnt out or lethargic, dial it back, eat more, and sleep more.


Any exercise can cause over training. There is no magic limit or number because everyone is different - you have different levels of stress, different sleeping habits, different nutrition habits, different intensity of exercise, etc. than anyone else so there is not cut and dry formula for what over training is.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are seeing progress, you are not over training. If you stop making gains, find yourself more injury-prone, tired, etc., then you may be pushing too hard and should consider backing off.

Stationary bike will be the least invasive cardio because it is low-impact. Running is the most likely to cause issues because it is a high impact activity. However, there are plenty of documented cases of people who run huge volumes every week and continue to perform well so again, it's not a cut and dry formula but something you need to learn specific to your body and situation through trial and error.

  • My concern is that I don't give enough rest to my legs since on my off days I do interval training (running). So may it happen that doing a few sprints on the days between my weight training days interfere with my leg development? I see progress in my sprints and some improvement in my weight training as well.
    – ldx
    Apr 16, 2011 at 9:01

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