- There is such a thing as lifting too much weight too often.
- Lifting too much can increase your risk of injury.
- Instead of making you feel stronger, lifting too much can actually make you weaker.
It can be incredibly satisfying to have a successful weightlifting session. But when that one training session turns into two, then four, and before you know it, your entire regimen is focused on dumbbells and barbells, that can be a problem. In fact, overtraining of any kind can be detrimental to your health.
Here are the signs you’re lifting too much.
Your form is off
Lifting weights can be tiring on your body. And as you lift more often and heavier weights, your form might suffer.
“Your form can start to suffer if you are lifting too much because your body will be completely fatigued, so you will not be able to move properly,” therefore, “movement patterns will start to suffer,” Betina Gozo, Nike master trainer, told INSIDER. “When your body is trying to repair itself from the stress you are giving it, the muscles will not be able to produce the same amount of force and strength it can if fully recovered, which can lead to over-compensations and injuries.”
You aren’t giving your body enough time to recover between sessions
If you’re constantly going to work at the gym or lifting at home, it’s almost a guarantee that your body isn’t getting the recovery it needs to rest and perform at its most optimal level, Gozo said.
“It’s important to give yourself enough complete rest days between very strenuous workouts,” she told INSIDER, adding that you should have at least one recovery day between workouts.
If you’re overtraining, “your body will have gone through so much stress” that Gozo warned you may need to allow yourself up to one to three weeks of full resting recovery.
Your heart rate is changing
Have you noticed yourself holding your breath while you exercise? Specifically, do you hold your breath while lifting?
Thumbtack personal trainer, Henry Medina told INSIDER that oftentimes, when someone lifts a heavier weight than they’re used to, they will hold their breath. It can feel almost natural, like a coping mechanism, but Medina said hold your breath while lifting can actually lead to a serious health problem referred to as the “Valsalva Manoeuvre” that can “cause various changes including changes to the heart rate and blood pressure,” Medina explained.
You’ve become so focused on the fitness that you’ve started to neglect other important aspects of your health
Exercise is an important part of one’s health but things like a well-balanced diet and getting enough rest factor into your overall wellbeing too. When you start to overtrain and focus less attention on nutrition and sleep, Dr. Eudene Harry, physician, and author of “Be Iconic: Healthy and Sexy at any Age” told INSIDER that this imbalance can affect your health.
“One of the things that contributes to symptoms of overtraining is not leaving enough time for muscle and overall body recovery and rebuilding. Two big ways that the body recovers are sleeping and proper nutrients both of which are often lacking when someone is experiencing symptoms of excessive training,” Harry explained. “Work with a qualified trainer to ensure that you are getting enough of both.”
Medical emergencies can also be the result of overtraining
Don’t assume that because you’re lifting a lot and often that your muscles are going to thrive. Harry told INSIDER the opposite is true Aggressive overtraining can breakdown muscle rather than build it up.
“This is a condition referred to as rhabdomyolysis,” Harry explained. “The products of this excessive breakdown of muscle tissue can overwhelm the kidneys and lead to damage or even failure. It can also cause significant pain and swelling in the affected area.”
You’re exhausted mentally, as well as physically
You expel a ton of energy when you lift so it makes sense that your entire body would feel exhausted as a result of lifting too much.
“Your energy levels will be extremely low and your body will not be able to function at an optimal level,” Mary Nnamani, Blink trainer, told INSIDER. But sometimes, Nnamani added, because of an awesome playlist keeping them motivated, or mental willpower, an individual will push through the workout, even though they have expended all of their energy. For that reason, it’s important to be able to identify your body’s cue that it’s tired.
You’re having trouble falling and staying asleep
Research says exercise is good for sleep, but Harry told INSIDER that too much exercise can actually ruin your sleep cycle.
“If your body produces an overabundance of stress hormones this can interfere with your ability to relax and fall asleep,” she said. “Stress hormones are designed to keep the body alert and in an excitatory state and as you can imagine this does not bode well for sleep.”
You’re less interested in training now than you were in the beginning
It’s great to find an exercise regimen that makes you feel good and that you genuinely enjoy but, again, everything should be done in moderation. When you overtrain, Nnamani said you run the risk of losing interest in your workouts.
“Since the individual is exhausted, there is no motivation or desire to train,” Nnamani told INSIDER, so it’s better to break up the exercise with rest days and/or other workouts you enjoy.
Your muscles are starting to break down making them prone to injury
“By lifting heavy weights all the time you will end up damaging your joints,” Medina told INSIDER. “Your joints act as a hinge when doing the movements while working out, so you are constantly putting heavy stress on your joints.”
In other words, when you lift too much, you overwork your muscles and joints and they become weaker and susceptible to injury.
“Many in the field believe that one of the first symptoms of overtraining is a plateau followed by a subsequent decrease in performance,” Harry told INSIDER. The reason why being that when an athlete overtrains, the same group of muscles is being worked in the same exact ways and your body is no longer reaping the benefits.
This is why you should always try to work different muscle groups on different days.