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First qualitative study into the perceptions of overtraining in strength sport

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08 July 2021

First qualitative study into the perceptions of overtraining in strength sport

Academics from Sheffield Hallam University have undertaken the first qualitative study capturing the perceptions and experiences of overtraining amongst high-performance strength sport coaches

Press contact: Nicky Swire | nicky.swire@shu.ac.uk

Strength training

The peer-reviewed report, which has been published in the international Sports journal, examines the varying notions of overtraining syndrome from the perspective of coaches and provides a new way of understanding these concepts in strength sport. 

Short-term increases in training-demand can lead to improved physical capabilities after a delayed, but brief, period of performance decline, however periods of high training-demand without enough recovery can lead to long-term performance issues, such as non-functional overreaching or overtraining syndrome.  

Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 14 high-performance national and international strength coaches from weightlifting, powerlifting, sprinting, throwing and jumping to document their experiences of overtraining syndrome. 

The report discusses:

  • How coaches define overtraining
  • How prevalent overtraining is considered amongst coaches
  • The symptoms associated with overtraining
  • How long is considered necessary to recover from overtraining 

To date, little is known about overtraining syndrome in strength sports and the research participants considered the prevalence of overtraining to be low. Many felt it was unlikely their athletes would experience overtraining syndrome, however the report argues a lack of experimental research and lack of clear diagnostic measures may be a contributing factor to such low prevalence, and that further exploration would be beneficial. 

The report also indicates a lack of reliable tools for strength sports coaches to accurately judge when increased training will lead to performance improvements or trigger non-functional overreaching and overtraining syndrome.

Lee Bell, research lead and sport and exercise science lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “This research provides important contextual information about how high-performance coaches perceive training maladaptation in the real world”.

The research team included Lee Bell, Dr David Rogerson, Dr Alan Ruddock, Dr Tom Maden-Wilkinson and Dave Hembrough from the Department of Sport and Physical Activity at Sheffield Hallam University. 

In this story

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Press contact

Nicky Swire

Contact us

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Email: pressoffice@shu.ac.uk
Phone: 01142 252811

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