Action Ambrose

Action Ambrose

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Here are a couple of articles that explain Supercompensation.  

Part of the problem is deciding the rest period between works to obtain that big jump in fitness.  I can recall where MONK raced back to back weekends where his  fitness level was astronomical on the second race, like I was riding a different horse.  So, for now I use 7 to 10 days.  My current protocol is to do a hard work 7 to 10 days out from a race, which has seemed to work.  When you get to a certain fitness level the improvements are there they are just harder to see.


initial fitness, training, recovery, and supercompensation
The fitness level of a human body in training can be broken down into four periods: initial fitness, training,recovery, and supercompensation. During the initial fitness period, the target of the training has a base level of fitness (shown by the first time sector in the graph). Upon entering the training period, the target's level of fitness decreases (training is a catabolic process, shown by the second time sector in the graph). After training, the body enters the recovery period during which level of fitness increases up to the initial fitness level (shown by the third time sector in the graph). Because the human body is an adjustableorganism, it will feel the need to adjust itself to a higher level of fitness in anticipation of the next training session. Accordingly, the increase in fitness following a training session does not stop at the initial fitness level. Instead the body enters a period of supercompensation during which fitness surpasses the initial fitness level (shown by the fourth time sector in the graph). If there are no further workouts, the body's fitness level will slowly decline back towards the initial fitness level (shown by the last time sector in the graph). First put forth by Hungarian scientist Nikolai Jakowlew in 1976,[2] this theory is a basic principle of athletic training.
If the next workout takes place during the recovery period, Overtraining may occur. If the next workout takes place during the supercompensation period, the body will advance to a higher level of fitness. If the next workout takes place after the supercompensation period, the body will remain at the base level.
More complex variations are possible, for instance sometimes a few workouts are intentionally made in the recovery period to gain bigger supercompensation effect.

[edit]The relation between supercompensation and training programs

At a first glance, creating effective training programs might look simple. All you need is to determine the intensity level and how long it takes you to get to the supercompensation period. Afterwards, continue training with the intensity level that was determined previously and keep the necessary intervals between workouts required for supercompensation. However, things become more complex because training affects many different bodily functions and parameters. Each bodily function or parameter has a different recovery time, a different amount of time needed to reach peak supercompensation, a different amount of time between supercompensation peak and return to base fitness.
The mentioned functions and parameters are basic ones. Muscle strength or mass are complex parameters. For instance, muscle mass is a function of many different simple parameters, whereas the amount of glycogen in muscles is a basic parameter that influences muscle mass.

[edit]Common mistakes

There is no one right period for supercompensation. If somebody states that 48 (or any other number) hours of rest are needed (to reach supercompensation) between consecutive workouts without stating the name of the recovered function(s), that statement should be treated with caution.

[edit]Use of supercompensation in practice

In classical sport science, the yearly (sometimes multi-yearly) period is divided to micro and macro cycles, where each micro cycle is responsible for the development of a specific (sometimes several) basic training function and parameter, whereas macro cycles are responsible for the development of complex parameters/functions (such as muscle strength). During each micro cycle, the resting period is the same as the amount of time needed for reaching the supercompensation stage of the current training parameter/function (also during such a micro cycle there shouldn't be any negative influence on the recovery of the main function). Such a training method will work only when the developed functions/parameters are non-related. Unfortunately, for muscle strength and mass this isn’t the case (functions/parameters are related). Therefore, for muscle strength and mass different approaches are needed. During a training cycle the intensity and volume of training varies, waves of different functions are overlaid so that until the end of the micro cycle supercompensation of the main required functions is achieved.

Principles of Training

Fundamental Principles of Training
    1. Progressive overload 2. Super-compensation 3. Recovery 4. Specificity 5. Frequency 6. Periodization 7. Maintenance 8. Fatigue
Progressive overload

The principle of progressive overload states that, for athletes to improve they must slowly and methodologically encounter workloads and stresses that exceed their current abilities. This overload does not necessarily occur on a daily basis, but should span successive days, months and years. Overload will result in fatigue (principle 8), which in turn will trigger fitness super-compensations (principle 2). If an athlete’s abilities (physical, technical, and
psychological) are not overloaded, they soon and more improvements occur.


The principle of super-compensation is based on the fact that an athlete will adapt to training stress. In order to experience super-compensation, an athlete will pass through a period of fatigue
(principle [8]), then a period of enhanced fitness once recovery (principle 3) is allowed.


The principle of recovery states that for fitness to improve and even be maintained, a period of reduced effort is necessary. The need for recovery is inherent at all levels of training; 
within workouts, between workouts, between days of training, etc.

By allowing differing amounts of recovery, a program can direct an athlete's preparation towards a specific goal; be it psychological, aerobic, anaerobic or technical.


Specificity is an expression of how close your training is to your competitive requirements.

Paddling is part of a unique group of sports (including swimming, rock climbing, and cross-country skiing) that require unique and unnatural movements. Consequently, only a limited amount of non-specific training will enhance performance and as athletes become more experienced, the benefits of non-specific training are greatly diminished. Thus, the specificity of fitness training increases in importance for the moreexperienced and elite athletes.
In other words, to become a better paddler you need to paddle.


The frequency with which an athlete trains is always important. Frequency needs addressing both within and between workouts. Within a workout, frequency is defined by the duration of work and rest intervals. The frequency of workouts in a given day, week, or month will be important in more advanced athletes, not so much with novice paddlers unless fatigue (principle 8) plays a role.


One of the most important aspects of training is the systematic assembly of training into a cohesive unit. Periodization is the process by which a season or year is broken down into a number of phases that address specific training needs or goals.


The ability to maintain fitness and performance between training bouts is essential for top athletic performance. Modified and reduced workouts administered at the appropriate time will allow an athlete to maintain performance levels with minimal training.


While not a principle of training in itself, fatigue is a consequence of all training programs. However, chronic fatigue or overtraining is more often attributed to poorly designed or poorly
monitored programs.
Overtraining is defined as a chronic and long term decrease in both performance and fitness that requires a long time to overcome. The causes and symptoms of overtraining are often interwoven so tightly that identifying causalrelationships is nearly impossible.

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