What is supercompensation?

I suppose you've heard a lot about the fact that rest is very important during working on shape and improving training results connected with strength and endurance. It concerns short breaks between particular training sessions, as well as long breaks included in mesocycles and macrocycles. Why is recovery so important?

What is supercompensation?

Supercompensation is completing the used reserves of energy with excess. It is a result of our body's adaptation to the training stimuli and aiming at homoeostasis, i.e. inner balance.

During training we make our bodies lose the energetic reserves, there also occur many micro injuries of muscle fibres. During the recovery period we nourish the body, it rebuilds the lost energy reserves and the damaged muscle fibres. The body tries to regain the energy supply to the previous level, or it even gathers more – in advance. Recovered muscle fibres are stronger and more powerful.

It lets us perform the current training plan with higher intensity.

This phenomenon is called supercompensation.

The phenomenon of supercompensation occurs in the human body under the influence of optimal training together with further recovery. If we do hard workouts without taking care of proper regeneration, we will not achieve the wanted result.

Recovery should be a planned component of a training plan. Unfortunately, many people take breaks randomly.

The breaks between particular training sessions depend on the kind of performed work, level of performance, as well as age, gender and genetic conditioning.

The shortest recovery time is connected with activity aimed at motoric coordination, the longest with endurance and speed endurance. In case of strength workouts, average time required for the body to recover is 48 hours. However, you should take under consideration the size of muscle groups. The larger the muscle group, the longer recovery time.

Whether we are able to achieve the effect of supercompensation or not, depends on the fact, if the training was performed with appropriate stimulus, with regularity, with proper recovery time and diet. The factors, which significantly foster the occurrence of the phenomenon of supercompensation are also wellness and lifestyle.

As I mentioned before, the phenomenon of supercompensation can appear not only between particular training sessions.

In case of planning training cycles, you should take under consideration the fact, that supercompensation includes 3 parts.

Phase one is the intensification phase. By gradual increase of training intensity we can start to feel better endurance/strength. This phase lasts as long as we are able to raise the intensity and improve sports results.

Phase two is accumulation. In that period we start to feel larger fatigue and decrease of our abilities. This phase should not be too long. We do few workouts with large tiredness. Then we move to the phase of transformation. It's all about rest. We do light workouts, so-called deconditioning, or we rest totally.

If we plan the whole cycle properly, at the end of this phase our starting level of endurance/performance will be higher than at the beginning of phase one.

To sum up, supercompensation is the phenomenon of overcompensation, which is overbuilding the after-workout performance. It occurs during recovery time. It will be missing if we don't care about proper regeneration.