i found this good article at muscular development site about overtraining.. seemed very informative.. so take a look.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Overtraining?
Written by Robbie Durand
Monday, 27 July 2009
Shawn Ray, Ronnie Coleman and other bodybuilders are known for doing the unthinkable? taking time off after competing. Many bodybuilders find it difficult to take time off, mostly due to psychological reasons of being ?addicted? to training. Bodybuilders are not the only ones; many endurance athletes also have a psychological addiction to exercise.
The testosterone-to-cortisol ratio has been suggested as a useful indicator of training stress.1 A delicate balance must occur between anabolic hormones (testosterone, IGF-1) and catabolic hormones such as cortisol in bodybuilders looking to make continuous gains in strength and muscle mass. Changes in the testosterone-to-cortisol ratio (TCR) have been positively related to weight training performance.2 Overtraining is the kiss of death for increasing size and mass. But like a muscular ?fiddler on the roof,? a bodybuilder must maintain a delicate balance. Increases in cortisol and decreases in testosterone and insufficient recovery are associated with overtraining.3,4 What researchers are now discovering is that recuperating from overtraining may take longer than previously thought.
Elite Weightlifter?s Road To Overtraining
When most people feel overtrained they take a week off and say, ?That?s all I need to recuperate? or they just train lightly for a few weeks. An interesting study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine documented the hormonal response of an elite Olympic weightlifter over a 21-week period.5 He was a 27-year-old male who holds a national record in weightlifting. The subject was ranked top five in the world for several years prior to this study and ranked first in the world in 2005.
Listed below are the endocrine changes during the study period. Most notably, look at what happened while he dropped his training volume. Weight-training volume is the amount of work you perform during each workout. Each rep you perform adds to the total workout volume. The classic formula used to determine weight-training volume is to multiply sets x reps x weight. The column that?s highlighted documents the day/week of the world weightlifting competition. After the world championship, he reduced his training volume by 50 percent.
************************************************** ***************************************** *****
Week 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 15 17 19 21
Preparation Taper Recovery
Training 123 190 148 145 95 100 77 29 112 90 115
Total 7.1 7 7.4 8.1 8.3 7.8 8.8 7.5 9 8.7 9.5
Free 18.3 15.5 17.6 19.5 23.9 22.3 29.1 18.7 21.9 25.6 26.9
Total 84 137 164 142 220 190 202 74 182 165 185
Free 3.9 8.2 9.1 8.5 18.8 13.9 14.5 4.3 12.1 15.2 14.8
Free testosterone levels decreased by 15.3 percent in week 2 when the training volume was the highest. The concentration started to increase after week 2 and reached the highest value in week 12, before the subject left for the competition. Total and free cortisol concentrations continued to rise during the high-volume training period, reaching the highest level in week 8 to remain high in week 12.
After the high-volume training in week 2, serum IGF-1 concentration was decreased until week 6, and then started to elevate as the training volume decreased. This makes one really think? is high-volume training the way to go?
Six Weeks Later? Not Recuperated!
This study raises awareness that we still do not fully understand how long it takes to recuperate form a high-volume training session. Obviously, it takes more than a week and may even take several weeks to fully recuperate. Interestingly, the weightlifter placed 5th at the world championships, but look at his hormonal profile as he approached the competition? his free testosterone was low, indicating that he needed a longer taper to recuperate. Results of the study suggest that after high-volume training, free testosterone peaked while free cortisol remained high after six weeks of taper. This indicates that the physiological stress induced by such training may last for more than six weeks, even when the training volume was markedly decreased by more than 50 percent.
Some bodybuilders train with high volume. Based on the science, once overtraining occurs, even reducing the training volume by half does not lead to a complete recuperation of anabolic hormones. More importantly, cortisol levels do not fully return to baseline. More research is needed, but it seems like overtraining may take weeks to recuperate from!
1. Kraemer, WJ and Ratamess, NA. (2005) Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training. Sports Medicine, 35, 339-361.
2. Hakkinen, K, Pakarinen, A, Alen, M, Kauhanen, H and Komi, PV (1987). Relationships between training volume, physical performance capacity, and serum hormone concentrations during prolonged training in elite weight lifters. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 8 Suppl, 61-65.
3. Roberts, AC, McClure, RD, Weiner, RI and Brooks, GA (1993). Overtraining affects male reproductive status. Fertility & Sterility, 60, 686-692.
4. Vervoorn, C, Quist, AM, Vermulst, LJ, Erich, WB, de Vries, WR and Thijssen, JH (1991). The behaviour of the plasma free testosterone/cortisol ratio during a season of elite rowing training. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 12, 257-263.
5. Ching-Lin Wu, Wei Hung, Shin-Yuan Wang, Chen-Kang. Chang. Hormonal Responses In Heavy Training And Recovery Periods In An Elite Male Weightlifter. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, (2008) 7, 560-561.
i included the chart as an attachment as its not that clear when i try to post it.