Supercompensation: What You Need to Know

Supercompensation: What You Need to Know

You want results from your training.

Why else would you wake up at 5 am to go to the gym or spend two hours on Sunday preparing your meals for the week?

But what creates results in the body?

How your body reacts and adapts to training. Supercompensation is one theory to understand this.

To help you get better results from your training here is how this process works and some sample training programs that highlight how to use it to your advantage.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is Supercompensation
  2. Balance of Training and Recovery
  3. How to Use It in a Training Program
  4. Sample Training Programs


Supercompensation IG

Supercompensation is how your body reacts and adapts to a stimulus, which in this case, is training. This process has four stages.

Stage 1) Training

Training introduces a stimulus to the body that is higher than what it is used to. This promotes fatigue and causes performance to decline temporarily.

Stage 2) Recovery

When you stop training the body recovers by resting and returns to the base level of fitness.

Stage 3) Supercompensation

When the body has recovered, it prepares for the next expected challenge by increasing its fitness level from the base level.⁠⁠

Stage 4) Decline of Supercompensation Effect 

If no new training stimulus is applied after the peak of supercompensation, then the fitness level will return to the base level.⁠

Supercompensation: The Balance of Training and Recovery

To use supercompensation to your advantage you need to balance training and recovery.

Training & Supercompensation

To start the process you need your training to create a quality stimulus. To provide this, train at a level that is just outside of your current ability.

If the training is too tough the body won’t be able to perform the task well enough to create the desired stimulus. On the opposite side of the coin, if the training is too easy it will not create enough stimulus for adaptation. 

That’s why we recommend that both coaches and clients alike use a fitness assessment to understand the right amount of intensity and volume needed to create a stimulus.

Recovery & Supercompensation

Now you need to fully recover to benefit from the training. 

To recover well, you need enough sleep, quality food, enough water, sunlight, and a healthy digestive system. These are all part of the OPEX Basic Lifestyle Guidelines, the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. You can learn more about them and how to improve your recovery here.

How to Use Supercompensation in a Training Program

To reap the benefits of supercompensation and adapt to your training we know that we need two things: training that creates a stimulus and a proper recovery. But what does that look like in a training program?

This is where personalization comes into play. To get the best results, personalize everything from the number of training days to the rest intervals between sets.

That’s why all our OPEX Coaches use our method of personalized fitness coaching to get their clients the best results.

But there are some general program design principles that you can follow that will help create adaptation and results for both beginner and advanced clients.

The Beginner Client

Beginners should do full-body workouts for every training session. You can learn more about why full-body training is great for beginners here.

Beginners will also recover quickly if they are following the basic lifestyle guidelines. They can typically train their full-body every other day, alternating with easy and cyclical aerobic training to aid in their recovery.

The Intermediate or Advanced Client

More advanced clients, who have been training consistently for two or more years, can follow an upper and lower body training split. Since they are experienced their body will need more focused training to create the desired stimulus.

They will also need more recovery. We recommend 1-2 days to recover after every training session. So train upper body one day, then lower body the next, then aerobic training the following day and repeat this cycle.

Sample Training Programs

The Beginner:

Sample Training Week:

Monday: Full-Body Resistance

Tuesday: Aerobic Training

Wednesday: Full-Body Resistance

Thursday: Aerobic Training

Friday: Full-Body Resistance

Saturday: Aerobic Training

Sunday: Rest

Sample Full-Body Resistance Training Day:

A1) Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift @3030, 8-10 reps x 3 sets; rest 60 seconds

A2) Dumbbell Bench Press @2111, 8-10 reps x 3 sets; rest 60 seconds

B1) Goblet Squat @3311, 8-10 reps x 3 sets; rest 60 seconds

B2) Seated Lat Pull Down @3012, 8-10 reps x 3 sets; rest 60 seconds

C) Banded Dead Bug @3030, 10-12 reps x 3 sets; rest 60 seconds

Sample Aerobic Training Day:

Walk 20 Minutes


30 minute As Many Rounds as Possible

200m Row

20 calorie Assault Bike


Sample Training Week:

Monday: Upper Body 

Tuesday: Lower Body

Wednesday: Aerobic Training

Thursday: Upper Body

Friday: Lower Body

Saturday: Aerobic Training

Sunday: Rest

Sample Upper Body Training Day:

A) Weighted Pull Up @1221, 3-4 reps x 4 sets x 3 sets; rest 2-3 minutes

B1) Seated Dumbbell Press @2121, 5-6 reps x 3 sets; rest 90 seconds

B2) Single Arm Landmine Row @2121, 5-6 reps x 3 sets; rest 2 minutes 

C1) Dumbbell Fly @2121, 8-10 x 3 sets; rest 90 seconds

C2) Plate Loaded Deadbug 10 per leg x 3 sets; rest 90 seconds

Sample Lower Body Training Day:

A) Romanian Deadlift @1120, 3-4 reps x 4 sets; rest 2-3 minutes

B) Front Rack Split Squat @2121, 5-6 reps x 3 sets; rest 2 minutes

C1) Kettlebell Front Rack Wall Sit, 30-45 seconds x 3 sets, rest 90 seconds

C2) Weighted Front Plank, 60 seconds x 3 sets, rest 90 seconds

Sample Aerobic Training Day:

15 minutes As Many Rounds As Possible @ sustained pace

5 Thrusters

5 Burpees

10 cal Airbike



500m Row @ 2000m pace

Rest 2 minutes

To Get the Best Results Personalize

To see the best results from supercompensation you need to take into account who is training and how they respond to training and recovery.

During our more than 20 years of working with fitness coaches around the world, we have found that the best way to determine how a client will respond to training is to assess their ability.

It sounds simple and it is, but most coaches neglect this step and end up paying the price months down the line when their client has stopped progressing.

Don’t let that be you and learn our method of working with and assessing clients today. Sign up for our free coaching course and learn how to get your clients better results.

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