Jul 11th, 2013
Category: Athletic Performance Training
FMF Blog #10 – Over Training Examples in Specific Sports
In my previous blog we learned that over training is an epidemic. Coaches believe that more is better and therefore engage in “quantity over quality” training. In fact, it may be more advantageous to adopt a “less is more” philosophy at times. We also covered five common signs of over training. As a reminder the five mentioned were fatigue, muscle soreness, forgetfulness, lack of motivation and injuries. Each sign could come at different times so having an understanding of them and addressing them when they arise is crucial to the longevity and successfulness of training.
Throughout the rest of this piece I am going to provide you with examples of overtraining in hopes that you might gain a better perspective on overtraining.
Example 1: Youth Soccer
The injury rate in youth soccer is steadily increasing, especially within the knees. I have personally rehabbed 3 girls 15 or younger who have suffered from ACL tears. In a soccer clinic I direct, which consists of forty eight 13-14 year old girls, 12 have a diagnosis of osgood schlaughter. The problem is not the actual soccer participation itself but the volume of soccer and additional running they are engaged in. The volume is higher than their muscles can handle. Soccer, in nature, is a short range of motion (ROM) sport and as a result, there is limited tendon and ligament strength development; lack of ROM equates to lack of strength, which leads to injuries.
Example 2: MMA
Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The pros of this growth include more training locations, higher quality equipment and more research on the sport. The cons include posers, more training locations and too much training. A typical fighter trains stand up, which is usually Muay Thai or Kick Boxing; ground work, which is usually wrestling and/or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ); sparring, which is usually full contact or near full contact; conditioning, which is usually running; and now strength & conditioning, which consists of weights and other functional training. A typical day consists of a morning session, afternoon session and evening session. Fighters and coaches alike feel that learning all the numerous art forms through high volume training is critical in order to become a better fighter. A training camp is usually eight weeks in duration where fighters cram in as much training as possible. At the end of the eight weeks this leaves them battered, fatigued, broken down and suffering through numerous injuries; common injuries include elbow joints and tendons; shoulder tears; knee ligament tears; and lower back injuries, particularly the QL of the lower back. All the awkward positioning and extreme fatigue leads to injuries on a weekly basis with little to no recover time.
Example 3: Swimming
Swim coaches adopt the philosophy that volume is golden, which leads to lack of motivation and injury. Training usually consists of 2 hours per day with practice times that range from 1.5 to 3 hours per session. The most common injuries are found in the hips and shoulders due to this high volume. In fact, after an analysis of this sport it can be categorized as one of the most labor intensive sports out there. The fact that gravity is not a factor allows for coaches to require excessive amounts of training with little short term injury risk. To make matters worse, Dryland training is not implemented to prevent or rehab those injuries but rather add additional volume to the over exhausted musculoskeletal system.
Times have changed and the way of the old is out. There is too much research on the body to neglect it. In my next blog, I will suggest solutions to these specific examples and how to avoid this overtraining epidemic.
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