Supercompensation and the principle of building workouts

April 24, 2019

Supercompensation and the principle of building workouts
Learn what supercompensation is and how to use it to customize your training cycle to get maximum results.

Not a day goes by that I do not feel an irresistible desire to pick up a cold iron. To feel the pressure of the corrugated neck of a loaded barbell is my main drug, and I think yours too. Fortunately, hard work is bearing fruit - and we have scientific proof of that. Today it is quite normal to go to the gym and bring yourself to exhaustion and pain. At the subconscious level, you understand that you will inevitably become bigger and stronger, and “overtraining” is just as deceiving as the stripper’s chest (and even more deceiving than her attention during a private dance).

If you train in good faith, you get a reward. And all this thanks to supercompensation.

What is supercompensation?
This is the phase that is the result of hard training and intense recovery — a period when you are stronger and larger than you were originally (that is, compared to the original functionality). In fact, this means gaining serious muscle mass in a few weeks.

At each workout, the destruction of muscle fibers, depletion of key nutrients and, of course, fatigue. This leads to a drop in functionality. From this starting point, your body will recover, increasing muscle protein synthesis to restructure muscle tissue, pulling you back to your original level as quickly as possible. If the recovery is normal, there comes a period of supercompensation, during which your functionality exceeds the initial level. This means that your muscles grow faster than before.

Supercompensation: recovery graphics
All this comes from training to training, but to achieve maximum hypertrophy, it is necessary to break the supercompensation into separate phases - microcycles.

Using microcycles for supercompensation
As a rule, microcycles are used to bring you closer to a specific goal: in our case, to hypertrophy. Usually, a 3-4 week period is taken for this, during which the training is repeated three to six times. Famous examples of microcycles - German training and training Smolova Jr. Each of these microcycles lasts 4 weeks and has a clear goal.

For maximum supercompensation, you need to train to wear, so that your functionality is temporarily reduced. This is called overload. With the right approach, you will feel tired, weakened, and perhaps even seem less to yourself at the end of the microcycle. The key point is to train until it stops. The pain and suffering in the simulator will soon be justified.

The simplest way to achieve overload when working on hypertrophy is to increase the training volume week after week. This is easy to do, once a week adding one approach to each exercise. In this way, you will push your body beyond its capabilities, forcing it to do more work. However, in the end you will reach the limit, the body will not be able to cope with a greater load, and you will feel weak. It's good. This is overload. If you did everything right, it will take from three to six weeks.

Many people confuse overload with overtraining. There is little common here. If you are overtrained, you constantly feel weak and tired, and it takes months to fully recover. True, I have never heard of a powerlifter or bodybuilder who would have overtrained, but I heard that this happens with triathletes. During an overload from overtraining, a very fine line separates you.

Supercompensation unloading

As soon as you get to the overload, the magic begins. Training volume is automatically reduced by 50-70%, and the intensity increases by 5%. For example, if you squatted from 100 kg and made 5 sets of 10 each last week of the overload phase, you should reduce the volume to 2 sets of 10 and increase the working weight to 105 kg (or even more). Such unloading lasts a week or less.

The purpose of the increase in intensity is to continue to generate training stimuli, despite the sharp reduction in volume required for recovery. From the graph (above) it is clear that recovery is the first step to supercompensation. In fact, it is absolutely necessary if you want to quickly build up muscles and gather a rich crop in each muscle-building microcycle. And since recovery has such a value in the phase of supercompensational unloading, it is useful to recall some methods of recovery - sleep and nutrition.

Sleep and nutrition are the yin and yang of your training program. You have already heard about this a million times, and therefore remind one more time it definitely does not hurt. Here is what you need to know about recovery in the phase of supercompensational unloading:

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