Super Compensation

Supercompensation (SK) is the term used to describe the excessive adaptation of the body after physical exertion. In this article, you will learn how you can optimally use this effect for your training and what you should bear in mind.

How super compensation works (SC)


  1. rest phase.
  2. your body is exposed to a training load (e.g. jogging).
  3. After the load your body recovers, it “regenerates”.
  4. Start of SK: Adjustment of performance beyond the initial level.
  5. Summit of the SK. Best time for another training session.
  6. After some time the super compensation reaches its peak. Now is the ideal time for a new workout.
  7. The SK will return to its original level (see point 1) after a certain time.
If you use the higher performance level (= super compensation, see points 4 to 6 in diagram 1) for a new training session, there will be a continuous, upwardly limited increase in performance.

use super compensation correctly


  • Of course there are many variations in the training regimen to increase your personal performance (see Diagrams 2 and 3).
  • For successful training, it is important to strike the right balance between regeneration and training. This is very different from person to person.
  • Your current training status and much more must also be taken into account.
  • In diagrams 4 and 5 you can see what happens during under- / overtraining.

effect of super compensation at optimally selected rest phases


After each training session, training is repeated at the peak of the subsequent super compensation. The performance level increases from training to training.

  1. rest phase.
  2. First workout.
  3. First recovery phase.
  4. Start of SK: Adjustment of performance beyond the initial level.
  5. Summit of the 1st SK. Best time for a training session.
  6. Second session.
  7. Second recovery phase.
  8. start of the second SK.
  9. Summit of the 2nd SK. Best time for another training session.
  10. Effect of the 2nd SK decreases continuously.

effect of supercompensation for multiple training sessions in succession


Here, two training units follow each other briefly without a recovery phase. Only then is a regeneration phase inserted in order to reinforce the effect of super compensation.

  1. rest phase.
  2. First workout.
  3. a and b: First regeneration which is incomplete.
  4. The second training session takes place during the first recovery phase.
  5. The second recovery phase takes a little longer.
  6. start of SK.
  7. The SK is now higher. Best time for two more training sessions.
  8. Effect of the SK decreases continuously.

effect of supercomensation at too long rest phases


If the pause between the individual training units is too long, the effect of super compensation goes unused. The performance level remains unchanged.

  1. rest phase.
  2. First workout.
  3. First recovery phase.
  4. Start of the first SK: Adaptation of performance beyond the initial level.
  5. Summit of the 1st SK. Best time for a training session.
  6. Second training session started too late. Effect of first SK not used.
  7. Second recovery phase.
  8. start of the second SK.
  9. Summit of the 2nd SK. Best time for a training session.
  10. Effect of the 2nd SK decreases continuously.

Super compensation effect at too short rest periods


If, on the other hand, you train too much or/and too intensively, your body does not have enough time to regenerate and the subsequent training still falls into the recovery phase. Your performance level drops more and more.

  1. First rest phase.
  2. First workout.
  3. a and b: First recovery phase without full recovery.
  4. Second session.
  5. a and b: Second recovery phase without full recovery.
  6. Third session.
  7. a and b: Third recovery phase without complete recovery.
  8. Fourth session.
  9. Fourth recovery phase is fully exploited.
  10. start of SK: adjustment of performance beyond the last workout.
  11. Summit of the SK. The performance here is significantly below the initial level.
  12. Effect of the SK decreases continuously.
  13. Second rest phase, this is clearly below the performance level of the first rest phase.
In order to be able to use the effect of super compensation optimally, a precise knowledge of the individual performance and regeneration ability of the body is required. Only in this way can the ideal training time at the peak of supercompensation be optimally met.

This post is also available in: German

William C. Hilberg
As an author, Mr. Hilberg has published several papers on health issues that have gained international recognition. He is close to nature and loves the seclusion and activity as a freelance journalist. In his function as editor William C. Hilberg manages the entire content of PENP. Our team greatly appreciates his expertise and is proud to have him on board.