Complaints due to overload

Many complaints from people I see in my practice arise from a form of overload. If nothing is done about the occurrence of this type of complaints, they will return even after successful treatment. A short treatise on the occurrence of overload and principles to prevent this.


Top athletes train to stimulate the body to become faster and stronger. This is possible with the phenomenon of supercompensation. Supercompensation is the body's response to recover in the resting phase after a suitable workout at a higher level than in the pre-workout situation. If a new training is given every time in the phase of supercompensation, body build-up takes place. Determining the correct training moment and load can be determined fairly accurately with regular measurements.

However, if you exercise too early in the resting phase, your body will not recover sufficiently and damage from training will increase. In the long term this can lead to injuries (cracks in tendons or muscles, stretching of bands, fractures) or a form of exhaustion such as overtraining. If training takes place too late in the resting phase, that is, after the peak of supercompensation, no further build-up of the body takes place. Overloading with athletes can therefore come from training again too quickly, but also due to incorrect technique or other factors that delay recovery such as a bad night's sleep or psychosocial problems.


Overload that is not related to sports often has to do with physical activities for which the body is not suitable at that time. Examples: running the 4 Miles of Groningen unprepared, sports days, renovations, seasonal work (garden), lifting, accidents. In order to get through the aforementioned examples without complaints, the same principle applies as for athletes: working with super compensation.

The body is matter. Matter is slow. Working on the effects of supercompensation takes time. We usually do not take enough of that time. Often that goes well so that the idea comes to mind that next time it will also go well. We forget that there is an accumulation of damage in the body. We forget to do warm-up or cool-down. We forget our aging processes. And we forget to start preparing a physical activity on time. We are surprised if things go wrong.


Preventing overload among non-top athletes cannot always be prevented due to unexpected situations. In the case of expected situations, the supercompensation phenomenon applies, among other things. So invest in time. Example: if you want to run a marathon from scratch (42km and 195m!) Then you will have to take around half a year of preparation time. Those who delve into these training schedules will discover something else: variation in training and a slow build-up. Perhaps running a marathon is an extreme example. However, the same principles also apply to other activities: taking time to build up, varying and dosing the physical load.



Bompa TO, Haff G. Periodization: theory and methodology of training. Human Kinetics 2009.

Carfagno DG, Hendrix JC. Overtraining syndrome in the athlete: current clinical practice. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 2014;13(1),45-51.