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Supercompensation refers to the post training period during which the trained function/parameter has a higher performance capacity than it did prior to the training period (source). One should train during this time period in order to make better progress.

So my question is: How to find out when my supercompensation period has started or has reached it's peak? I know there are rules of thumb, but are there any parameters one can use to guess the timing? I mean parameters to which one has access in every day life (no laboratory values and so on).

In fact, this is a general question and I think that the parameters (if there are any) can be applied in various situations. Anyway, personally I do bodyweight exercises.

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    FWIW I decided to try this out after seeing this post. I hit chest 3 days after my previous chest day, 2 day earlier than I usually would, and I hit a new bench PR for the first time in a couple months. I followed what I had read and ignored yhe soreness and just based it on when the fatigue was gone. That was 3 days, and from my very first set I just felt stronger and like i had mroe energy.
    – Ethan
    Nov 17, 2023 at 17:52
  • @Ethan Wow, thank you for sharing this experience.
    – LulY
    Nov 17, 2023 at 18:20

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After reading about this topic and listening to a few podcasts about it I learnt the following:

  • There is no general accepted measure of "being in phase of supercompensation". Supercompensation is rather a theoretical model that helps understanding empirical results and how to plan your training. Anyway, some parameters are discussed to give a clue whether one is in supercompensation (here I list only those we have direct access to in every day life):
  • Resting heart rate (RHR): After training the RHR stays higher for a while. You should not train during this period but start the next workout when your RHR returns to your normal baseline rate you had before the training, i.e. you should have a low RHR before you train again. You can measure the RHR yourself, preferably mornings before you stand up and in the evening after sitting or laying for a few minutes. Read more here, for example.
  • Heart rate variability (HRV): This measure refers to the variance in time between the beats of your heart. When your nervous system is balanced, your heart is constantly being told to beat slower by your parasympathetic system, and to beat faster by your sympathetic system. These mixed messages result in a constant state of variation in your heart rate (source). After training the HRV is lower but during regeneration the values increase again. Analogous to the RHR you can begin your next workout when your HRV is back to normal, i.e. high. The measurement of the HRV is a bit more tricky than of the RHR but you could buy some fitness watch.
  • There are fitness bands that automatically analyze RHR and HRV (and maybe more) and tell you when you should pause and when you can start your next workout again. Search for whoop, for example. I have no experience with such gadgets (yet).
  • Autoregulation: Autoregulation is a fancy term for adjusting your workload within each training session based on how you’re performing relative to previous sessions. You change your intensity and volume of today’s training based on how difficult it is compared to how you’ve performed before (source). So you shouldn't forget to make the most obvious and to listen to your body.
  • 1:3 Ratio: The fitness effects of a workout last approximately 3 times longer than the fatigue effects. Once fatigue is gone, the remaining fitness effects equal supercompensation. Use the 1:3 ratio to train in the supercompensation “window” (source).

In fact it is not as easy as described above but there are other variables discussed that should be considered (here an overview on HRV that goes into more detail and this article). But I wanted to keep the answer simple. Also want to mention that research seems to focus more on the relationship between RHR/ HRV on overtraining, which is the other side of the coin. Since overtraining is considered to happen when your regeneration was too short, it is obvious that one can make inference of the timing of supercompensation by making the regeneration long enough.

For people understanding German, here are the podcasts I heard: 1, 2, 3

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