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Is the Overtraining Test a good method of determining you are overtrained?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 07, 2011 at 2:20 PM

I am concerned that I may be overtraining as I have seriously increased my volume over the past two weeks. Regardless of the best approach (reduce volume until I perceive I am better) I found a website that has an "Overtraining Test." It seems to be based on the difference between resting heart rate and heart rate after you stand.

http://www.wholefitness.com/overtraintest.html

Performing the Orthostatic Heart Rate Test

lay down and rest for at least 15 minutes record your pulse rate (beats/min) - R1

stand up

15 seconds later record you pulse rate (beats/min) - R2

record the difference between R1 and R2

If the difference is greater than 15-20 beats then it is probable that the athlete has not recovered from the previous days training or is under stress. The athlete should consider adjusting the training programme to allow him/her to fully recover.

Does anyone have information on the accuracy of this sort of testing? It seems pretty straightforward. Would this work from a sitting position? I tested my heart rate from a sitting position to a standing position and there was a 9 bpm difference. I assume this is because when you stand your body compensates by using the heart more to pump blood up your legs.

Thoughts?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on December 07, 2011
at 11:04 PM

Best way to test it is whether or not you're beating the logbook. If you beat it each workout by a rep, a partial rep, your running time lowers etc. then you are training. If you stall or move backward, you are likely overtraining (though possibly undertraining).

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:07 PM

Good insight from both of you guys thanks.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:00 PM

I can't add anything regarding the accuracy of this test. I agree with most of what AndyM says, especially "by the time you're actually overtrained it's too late." I can usually tell during my warm-up if I have it or not. When the warm-up takes more effort than it usually does (soreness, short of breath, etc), it's best to call it good and rest that day.

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2 Answers

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Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 07, 2011
at 03:35 PM

I can't guarantee the accuracy, overtraining (or at least overreaching) is a progressive condition and likely different with different people. By the time you're actually overtrained it's too late really.

I'd expect it to be due to a complex stress/adrenal response and all that jazz, and is probably far more effective to move from being completely relaxed to alert and active (standing). If you're not fully recovered then you may be still a bit 'on edge' and overreact to the stimulus, as well as take longer to calm down.

I'd say what you want is to establish what your response is when you're definitely not overtrained and then you have a baseline for your own body. Use this to give some kind of quantitive measure to your recovery. Still, it's only a simplified version of seeing if your performance is suffering due to the increased volume.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:00 PM

I can't add anything regarding the accuracy of this test. I agree with most of what AndyM says, especially "by the time you're actually overtrained it's too late." I can usually tell during my warm-up if I have it or not. When the warm-up takes more effort than it usually does (soreness, short of breath, etc), it's best to call it good and rest that day.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:07 PM

Good insight from both of you guys thanks.

2
Medium avatar

on December 07, 2011
at 04:29 PM

Google "overtraining symptoms" and see how many you have. I used to run marathons and I came to distinguish, for instance, between the malaise of needing a day off, and the general sense of "being tired" that a good run would sometimes solve. Many endurance runners minimize the value and benefits of rest days. They are when the body grows and gets stronger, and accommodates the "stress" of training. Run hard Monday? Day off Tuesday, run stronger Wednesday.

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