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Started By Vincent (Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland)

Started on: 3/11/2005 10:55:38 AM, viewed 1704 times
Are we overtraining our NERVES ?

Since I started to train doing 1RM I have burn out a few times and I noticed a few things :

I can be overtrained on an exercise and not on others which I believe means that it′s not the Central Nervous System which is overtrained but the muscles or the nerves. I was not convinced by muscles overtraining because energy ATP and gylcogen are replenished fast and even when I was sore I could lift maximum or close to maximum so even excessive damage doesn′t seem to reduce much my strength so WHY I′m getting weaker ?! What I believe is that it′s the NERVES which are overtrained (depleted). In fact, it′s seems it′s a matter of neurotransmitters…


"A study was done several years ago where they made a group of guys work their legs to exhaustion every day for a month. At the beginning of each day they would test the muscle for maximal strength, first by letting the athlete lift as much weight as he could, then by stimulating the muscle to contract with an electric jolt. They wanted to determine if an individual muscle could be overtrained, and within the muscle, what was it that got overtrained. By the end of the month most of the subjects had lost a tremendous amount of strength. But the jolt of electricity still lifted the same amount of weight. They determined it wasn′t the muscle but the nerves that were getting overtrained. The nerves were depleted of neurotransmitters."

an article about Overtraining :


another short text :

"Now, let′s get back to central fatigue and overtraining. As stated previously, it is central fatigue that we as physique conscious individuals need to be concerned with. When the CNS becomes fatigued, the body responds by decreasing anabolic hormone output and increasing the circulation of catabolic (muscle-wasting) stress-related hormones and inhibitory neurotransmitters; this pretty much puts the breaks on your muscle building efforts. Motivation dwindles, performance declines, and progress stagnates- you become "overtrained." Simply put, fatigue of the CNS must be avoided at all costs. There are a number of variables that can contribute to exhausting the central nervous system, but for this purpose of this article, I am going to address those more specifically related to training […]"

and so on…


I already knew that density of training is a negative factor but now I believe that intensity of effort is also a negative factor and thus one should not train to the point of failure (no 1RM and not cumulative sets/singles to failure). BUT you are obliged to have a high effort to lift heavy and stimulate muscles growth but it shouldn′t be so heavy that it can quickly overtrain your nerves. What I believe now is that intensity of effort should not be maximum it should as high as needed to lift an heavy weight which can stimulate muscles growth.

I believe multiples sub-maximum singles would be the best way to HIT the MUSCLES HARD and to HIT the CNS as little as possible.

with sub-maximum singles you have :

– Heavy Weights 70-90%

– Low fatigue (because density is low some secondes/minutes between reps and intensity of effort is not maximum)

– not beeing limited by nerves overtraining you can lift with more volume/frequency BUT it should never be too hard the accumulation of stress should never lead to high fatigue.

This Topic has 29 Replies: Displaying out of 29 Replies:

dafortae (a, a, U.S.A.) on 3/11/2005 11:04:56 AM

That′s very interesting stuff there Vincent! I know Analyzer had posted about the nerves getting depleted a LONG time ago. Maybe he read similar studies. Very interesting!

"What I believe now is that intensity of effort should not be maximum it should as high as needed to lift an heavy weight which can stimulate muscles growth."

That′s EXACTLY what Mike thought too. The problem is though, like he pointed out MANY times, how do you KNOW your intensity is high enough? You cannot be sure except for training to failure. I agree with him about that, but only short term. Once you have PERSONALLY gone to failure many times, so you KNOW what you are really capable of, each workout following that would tell you if you did enough based on whether you gained strength or not. We talked about this briefly in another post. So short term, failure is a MUST to KNOW your real strength. Medium and long term, it′s not, as long as you CONSITANTLY use the SAME exercises, speed of reps, etc. If ANYONE of those factors change (any variables), you MUST go back to failure to get your starting point again. Otherwise, it could be strength gains from learning the new exercise, and you′d never know until months down the road when you had no size increases and you plateau. Therefore, we must strive to go to failure throughout our training when we change a single variable, but then as long as we find our intensity "sweet spot" based on regular strength gains, going to failure is no longer a requirement.


Analyzer (CDA, id, U.S.A.) on 3/11/2005 12:57:50 PM

Interesting Vincent, you sound like your going down the same thought processes I did a while ago 🙂

I agree in principle with your research and conclusions.

What I wonder though, is that even with multiple singles with 80%, after a while, you still become fatigued eventually? I mean, why do more than one? What causes the accumlative effect of them? (ie. if you do multiple singles like that, eventually you keep inroading more and more) BUT, It just might elimate the PNS fatigue your speaking of!

Are you going to try this approach?

Good research Vincent, keep it coming, very interesting stuff!


Vincent (Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland) on 3/11/2005 12:59:15 PM

Yes we could simply go to failure once a month to see if we have made progress or not and then change the frequency. Let′s say you determine your 5RM then start with 3x5x8RM NTF once every 4 days, after one month test your 5RM again and you should be stronger (if your frequency and training dose is adequate) if not you decrease frequency to once every 6-7 days and retest your 5RM in one month.

Vincent (Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland) on 3/11/2005 1:10:59 PM

"with multiple singles with 80%, after a while, you still become fatigued eventually?"

Yes if too much volume is done or if the density is too high you′ll fatigue ! It′s impossible to say just as much is enough and not too much… maybe when you the reps get slower it′s time to stop. Or chose an aribtrary number of reps and decrease volume if you overtrain. It′s like frequency you cannot know what′s enough time to recover and what′s is not enough… Trials and mistakes ! but avoid 100% of intensity (failure). "Lift heavy easily"

"I mean, why do more than one? What causes the accumlative effect of them?"

well I simply think more mechanical work = more stimulation, more muscular work (more reps done with a given load) = more stimulation. But the relation between volume and stimulation is logarithmic ! Once you reached a certain amount of stimulation (like with medicines) more volume will have very little effect and will increase the fatigue much more than the stimulation. I believe volume should be sacrificed for frequency (1 set every day is better than 30 sets once every 30 days).

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