Fiction vs. Reality: Supercompensation

You have to loose fitness to gain power. Never heard of supercompensation? Well that’s why consistency is so important. Let me explain this. 

As you can see in the picture, supercompensation is – if you’re doing it right – a rising wave. After every hard training session you first loose fitness, then your body adapts, meaning the curve goes up and then, with the next training, the wave starts a little bit higher.
The rising part is equally important as the falling part. To make an adaption, you have to exhaust your body. Means you have to do a training session, that is a little bit too hard for you. If you go out riding, come back and don’t feel exhausted, your body don’t need to adapt.

But you also can’t ride out your lungs every time you’re out there. This would be too hard on your joints and muscles. Injury will follow here. For a constant growth in fitness, your supercompesation should look like this.

That’s reached by a training regeime with “fitness holder sessions.”  
You first do a hard training session, to get into the supercompensation, then – after recovery – you do a few easy ones. This moves you from plateau to plateau without too much risk for injury. 

So consistent training in variying intensity is key. If you don’t train often enough – every two or three days – then the curve will drop down, eliminating all the hard training that you did 😉

How often do you train? 

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10 responses to “Fiction vs. Reality: Supercompensation

  1. Same with swimming, walking and coming back after injury. I love your explanation. The graphs and words make it really easy to understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I see some helpful parallels with recovery from brain injury. One of the significant side effects of a traumatic brain injury is a significant loss of muscle tone. The main challenge is that physical exertion very quickly translates into side effects from the brain injury.This means the training wave must remain small – small difference between the peak and the trough. That’s what makes recovery take so long.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. According to Strava I’m cycling three times a week. Each time I go out I push myself as hard as my 50 year old limbs and lungs can cope with and I use the following day (or days) as recovery and then off I go again. Some of my times are slightly down on last year but I’m carrying a bit more weight (and psychological scars, 50’s being a decade more than 40’s) but I did a 27 mile ride the other day averaging nearly 16mph so I’m very happy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great timing I have been looking into this and also creating plans that work on a 4 week cycle, with week 4 being lighter, as the 51st year target is to qualify for the UCI world Champs in TT and Road Race, plus complete Paris-Roubaix . A good description I can follow.

    But I struggle to fit it in with the work life balance. I tend to cycle about 4 days per week, one being a race and a gym session as well. But mentally do you find yourself able to push that hard? In a TT there is a time to hit, in a race there is always the bike ahead to chase down, but on my own training I find it hard to go that deep. Also with work and life stresses sometimes it is nice to “just ride” the bike. Any tips on the mental side.

    Liked by 1 person

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