Supercompensation increases aerobic fitness. It works for everyone, regular people and athletes alike. Get supercompensated in four easy steps.
Step 1. Get to know your Base Fitness Level first.
“I did my regular running training and got my first Firstbeat Fitness Test result.”
“My fitness level is GOOD with VO2 max of 42.”
“I am of better fitness than 85 % of my age group.”
Step 2. Know your training load and the real fitness effect of it.
“I got Training Effect 4.1, a highly improving effect.
Step 3. Know how much you need to recover and what is the best timing for next training.
“My recommendation gives me Training Effect 1.3 with 20 minutes of easy recovery training for tomorrow and a day of rest after it to recover properly from my accumulated training load.”
“My recovery level can be tested.”
Step 4. See the proof that your training is working and your fitness level is improving.
“My fitness level is measured in every qualified training session. My fitness graph shows the real improvement of my fitness level in VO2max. In six more weeks I can hit EXCELLENT fitness level.”
Wouldn’t you like to have this precise information of your training?
Makes sense and it’s all available from Firstbeat. But no training device delivers it all yet.
*Training Effect available in several heart rate monitors >>
*Automated fitness level adaptation for personal Training Effect & energy expenditure in selected Garmin heart rate monitros >>
*Training load and adaptive training programs in Firstbeat ATHLETE >>
Supercompensation TrainingFirstbeat is the first company to have developed a complete, patented toolset that makes it easy to optimize aerobic fitness training. Optimal training is truly personalized adaptive training guided by the measured body response. Supercompensation works for all people alike.
Supercompensation is a well known phenomenon of exercise physiology but the tools to measure it in an easy way have been missing. The human body responds to repeated correctly dimensioned training load by increasing its performance. This supercompensation is the result that you want your training to produce.The actual supercompensation takes place during your rest and recovery stage. That is why it is necessary to measure training load, and then estimate, measure or test state of recovery. Measuring fitness level in an easy way makes the results visible. With this information the training cycle can be optimized.
If training load over time is too low compared to the fitness level, there will be no significant body response. If the load is too high and too frequent, recovery will not happen and there can be no supercompensation but fatigue and risk of overtraining. Without supercompensation your time is wasted.Read more on Supercompensation.
Firstbeat solves the training cycle with four easy steps for Supercompensation Training:1. Base fitness level
2. Training load
On these pages we present you the basics behind our solution.
Current fitness level is the base for prescribing individual training load.
- Fitness level determines the correct training load for the body.
- When your fitness level changes, so does the training load that is effective for you.
- When your fitness level is known, the correct training load can be recommended.
- Firstbeat measures your fitness level every time you train and helps you optimize your personal training load.
Firstbeat makes it easy to know your fitness level. You only need to do a training session.
See below Firstbeat Fitness Test for more information.
Firstbeat Fitness Test
Firstbeat created the Firstbeat Fitness Test to make it easier to know your fitness level.
We can now measure your fitness level during every qualified training session.
Firstbeat Fitness Test tells your maximal oxygen uptake capacity, known as VO2max. For most people this value is 30-40. For the trained athlete it is 40-60. For the competitive endurance athletes it can be 60-80 and in extreme cases even over 90. Your fitness level can also be graded and compared to your reference group (of gender and age) and population.
With your fitness level information Firstbeat can even continuously adjust a personalized, adaptive training program and optimize your training load for faster progress or to reach an event goal.
Why would you want to know your fitness level?
Fitness level needs to be known because training can only be optimal and effective if training load is correctly dimensioned for your fitness level. If training is too light or happens too infrequently or badly timed, it has no real effect on improving your fitness level. If on the contrary you train too hard or too much, training does not improve your fitness level but makes you over-trained and susceptible to fatigue, illness, injury and decreasing fitness level. See more information on this at Supercompensation.Many people have bad experiences of maximal fitness tests or, if they have never done one, may fear it. To some people a maximal test may be a health risk. To most people it is an inconvenience and they certainly don’t need such testing to start exercising. Nevertheless it is useful to know one’s base fitness level to prescribe training correctly. It is also necessary to know how the fitness level develops by training because when your fitness level improves your training load needs to change to continue producing the continued improvement that you want.
What is different in Firstbeat Fitness Test? How does it work?At Firstbeat we thought that testing fitness must be made easier. With the current training devices it is possible to measure speed (with foot pod or satellite based GPS speed tracking) and heart rate. We created and tested a science based algorithm that gives a reliable estimate of fitness level while you train so that no traditional test protocol has to be followed. All you need to do is to run at some point of your training session for four minutes at approximately 70 % of your maximal heart rate. Even lower intensities already produce a result. The analysis is not based on just one but multiple measurement points during your training session. The displayed value is weighed to smooth excess daily variation. The result is very reliable and capable to show the change achieved.
We can now measure your fitness level during every qualified training session. This makes it easy to follow the development of your fitness level. It is motivating to see the actual progress as a graph. With this information Firstbeat can automatically tune an adaptive training program and optimize your training load for faster progress.
Firstbeat Fitness Test works on a training device embedded in its software or can also be part of post-analysis software or a web service.
Training LoadKnow your Training Load and the real fitness effect of it.
Correct training load imposed on your body increases its performance.
- Training load needs to be measured during training (or estimated after it).
- Correct training load needs to be individually determined for everyone.
- Personalized interpretation of the effect of training load is Training Effect.
- Displayed real time Training Effect allows you to decide how much load you want and helps you reach your session result.
Firstbeat makes it easy for you to dimension training load. Real time Training Effect gives you the control and understanding.
See Training Effect for more information.
Training needs to impose a training load on your body to produce an improving effect on fitness level. This effect depends on the amount of load and the corresponding response of your body. The optimal individual training load depends on each person’s fitness level and also changes when the fitness level changes. This is why your fitness level needs to be monitored during a training program by estimation or fitness level measurement like Firstbeat Fitness Test.Aerobic training load can be measured with EPOC, Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. Firstbeat is able to estimate your cumulative training EPOC by analyzing your heart rate variability during training. But the effect on your body is not so easy to interpret from the plain EPOC number. That is why we created Training Effect (TE in short) that tells the effect of EPOC on your fitness with one number and clear worded scale of interpretation.
Read more on details of Training Effect on our dedicated pages.When you use Training Effect you know what you get out of your training and what to go for while doing it. Training Effect can be measured and displayed in real time with a Training device. Real time Training Effect guides you to reach the TE you want. Use of TE makes it possible to plan an optimized adaptive training program that matches your fitness level perfectly. Training Effect adjusts the correct training load along the way when your fitness level increases – or if it decreases because of a break in training.
Different types of training sessions improve different properties of your body. You need a combination of these sessions to improve your aerobic fitness in a sustainable way.
Read below more on the role of different types of training sessions in a training program.
Role of different types of training sessions in your training program
All types of training sessions have a role in your training program. The correct distribution and combination of different types of sessions are key factors in achieving your goal. Different sessions improve different qualities of your body. Firstbeat adaptive training program successfully helps to optimize aerobic training. A well tested example of adaptive training program is included in Firstbeat Athlete software.
Easy recovery exercise (TE range 1.0 to 1.9)
After a harder training session of highly improving training effect (of TE 4.0 to 4.9) or a combination of several improving training sessions (of TE 3.0 to 3.9) which build up the training load, the body needs an intermediate phase of recovery that is crucial for renewal and supercompensation.Recovery can be helped with a low intensity short duration exercise intended to help cleansing the body. Such an exercise means 15-25 minutes of low intensity activity with a maximum Training Effect of 1.9 or less. It can also be just 1.3 to 1.5. Such a recovery exercise may then be followed by a day of rest (with no aerobic training). State of recovery can be tested and proven.
Base building exercise (TE range 1.0 to 1.9 with more than 40 minute minimum duration)Base building exercise has a very important role in endurance training. It prepares the body for the harder training and competition. Base building develops the circulation and metabolism. A large part of training in the basic training phase should be low intensity long duration base building exercise. Low intensity exercise keeps the training effect below 1.9 and is considered base building when the duration is more than 40 minutes. For experienced trainers base building at very low intensity may also last for 1-3 hours when the intensity is kept very low with the precondition that the person’s body and muscles are already used to such long duration exercise.
Newcomers, who are just starting their training, should use low intensity base building exercise to get their body and muscles used to training for at least the first 3-4 weeks. In this case the session duration must first be shorter, gradually getting up to 40-60 minutes.
Maintaining exercise (TE range 2.0 to 2.9)
A maintaining exercise session loads the body enough to keep up the current fitness level but does not load it too much to require a long recovery. You can get a maintaining effect in different ways – by doing a short duration higher intensity speed workout or by a moderate intensity medium duration endurance workout. An interval workout or a good yoga class may also give you a maintaining effect.
These medium intensity workouts prepare you for the harder workouts bridging the gap. If you are still getting your body used to training, trying a maintaining workout is your first step forward after the base building level.
Improving exercise (TE range 3.0 to 3.9)
Improving training sessions are a key building block for anyone training for improved fitness level. Every training week should have at least one training session in this range of TE. Improving session must reach and maintain sufficient level of intensity to keep the TE rising until you reach a cumulative value within this TE range. If you use Firstbeat Athlete software or another product that includes one of our adaptive training programs you will be recommended improving sessions in the right combination.
Highly improving exercise (TE range 4.0 to 4.9)
Highly improving training sessions are performed occasionally depending on the user’s fitness level. Those users, who are already on high level of fitness, need more highly improving training to improve. Very high intensity training of shorter duration improves maximum performance with a high TE. Longer duration exercise with a high TE works for endurance.
Overreach and risk of overtraining (TE 5.0)
Serious, competitive athletes sometimes need a very hard training or competition to push their limits. It may mean reaching Training Effect 5.0, meaning overreach or temporary overload. After reaching TE 5.0 the scale stops showing decimal increments. We do not want to encourage you to push beyond this limit because it also requires a significant amount of recovery. Very high training loads can be measured using EPOC, Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, with a Firstbeat tool.The combination of training sessions of highly improving training effects or overreaching and poor recovery level in a short period of time may cause a serious risk of overtraining and also increase the risk of injury. Even experienced high level athletes must be very careful to allow enough recovery to take place after such hard training. This recovery is usually needed after a few training sessions (3-4) build up the load and start causing poor recovery level. Poor recovery is often difficult to recognize adequately without proper professional training and use of professional Firstbeat measurement and analysis tools. State of overtraining has ruined the career of many promising athletes and may take months or even years to recover from.
RecoveryKnow how much you need to recover and when you get the maximum benefit of next training.
Supercompensation takes place only when you are recovered.
- Your accumulated training load determines how much recovery you need.
- Speed of recovery also depends on your lifestyle habits like nutrition, work, stress, rest and quality of sleep. If you are too stressed, you cannot train effectively.
- After building up training load in typically 1-4 sessions, you must recover to get your supercompensation.
- Firstbeat measures your recovery level, recommends you the correct timing and load for your next training session and helps you to get supercompensation.
Firstbeat makes it easy to know what to do. Recovery time optimizes your timing. Recommendation tells you what to do next. Recovery test controls your recovery.
See below Optimizing recovery for more information.
Supercompensation takes place during rest and recovery but how much is needed? What is the optimal timing for next training?
Traditional way of handling the need to recover has been to try to listen to your body state and play it by the ear or by following your resting heart rate. It is however very difficult to get it right even for the very experienced athletes - unless they use the measurement based advanced analysis technology provided by Firstbeat. We have seen proof of that many times as even the most experienced have fallen victim of overtraining without the proper tools and missed important events on their career. Or the opposite may have happened that they have underperformed because of less than optimal training. How much more difficult is optimal or even reasonable training for the average person without the experience and knowledge?
We at Firstbeat have developed different ways of tackling the problem of inadequate recovery. The basic step is to better match the training load with the fitness level. Firstbeat Fitness Test helps to follow the fitness level and Training Effect measures the personal training load. That is already a big step towards the solution of controlling the load. Recommendation or an Adaptive Firstbeat Training Program is the third step to prescribe the correct amount of load over time and to keep on matching that load with your changing fitness level. Next training can be timed based on accumulated training load and the detected body response. But even more can be done more for the individual fine tuning with the help of our advanced heart rate analysis.Firstbeat is able to measure your body response to training load on the go. This reveals us how well you are recovered. Are you already fit for the harder exercise or should you just take it easy today? Or are you progressing so well and fast that some more training load can be prescribed?
There’s one thing we can’t control and it’s your lifestyle. Remember that it has a major effect on your recovery. If you are stressed and do not recover properly, there is no hope to achieve supercompensation. We can however do you a monitoring based Lifestyle Assessment to see how well you are recovered, if you are interested. Do not train hard if you are not able to recover as you may risk your health.The Olympic and professional athletes and teams around the world use advanced Firstbeat monitoring tools to monitor their stress and recovery balance. With this information their coaches can optimize daily training individually and follow up the response. Now we can offer some of the same technology for the interested fitness enthusiast and consumer alike. This technology can be embedded in your training device by your supplier.
Recovery optimization saves training time and supports optimal progress. When overtraining can be prevented, it is a major benefit for every athlete.
Repeated cycles of correct training load and sufficient recovery produce an increase of fitness level by supercompensation.
- Firstbeat Fitness Test gives you the measured proof of supercompensation. You really get to see that your fitness level increases.
- Our recovery tools indicate the optimal timing of your next training. It optimizes the effect and takes you faster to your fitness goal.
- Firstbeat tools automatically adjust your training load by matching your Training Effect target with your gradually improving fitness level. This keeps you on track for continuous supercompensation.
Firstbeat makes it easy to control your training. We measure, analyze and make your training results visible and easy to understand. Firstbeat makes your training truly personalized.
See below Supercompensation for more information.
Supercompensation is very incremental improvement. The results are usually shown over time and multiple training sessions. Every training session is not intended to bring supercompensation. A large part of aerobic endurance training is low intensity long duration training that prepares the capabilities of the body for harder training.When the body is ready to take the harder training, the training load will be alternated with recovery. Cumulative load is built up in 2-4 sessions and then the body is allowed enough time to recover. If recovery is good, more training load can be gradually applied. Our measurements have shown that more than two consecutive sessions of overreaching the body already cause a risk of overtraining.
Please consider that an athlete, who is training twice a day, must really rest and even sleep between the morning and afternoon training sessions to get the full benefit of the second session. This is the way to try to guarantee sufficient recovery. Spending time shopping or travelling mostly does not qualify as rest and does not bring any benefit of recovery.Similarly for someone, who is just training for fitness or an amateur race, working hard and long hours in your job may by itself mean such a need for recovery that there is practically no room for effective training in recovered body state. Beneficial training may in such case be limited to only 1 - 3 sessions per week.
Here are some examples of what happens with multiple training sessions that are too light or irregular or with sessions that are too hard and frequent without proper time for recovery.
Large number of runners always repeats the same training without much success in improving their performance. Our marathon case on the contrary demonstrates supercompensation in practise.
Too light or irregular training, no effect
Large part of the general public believes that they are doing enough physical exercise to keep fit. Contrary to their belief many people do not fulfil the criteria of training as their exercise is not vigorous enough to produce an improving training effect. This is a common problem of the developed nations.
Graph 1. (To be added)Too hard training, too frequently
There are many amateur athletes who are very conscientious and tend to train too hard. They may want to follow the training programs that are written by the pro coaches to full time athletes. This does not work. The athlete very easily ends up overloading the body. As the training and recovery are not balanced and the body is not prepared for such training load, the risk of injury and overtraining runs very high. This is the case when a training program does not match the user’s fitness level and there is no mechanism to link outcome to needed change in training. Necessary time for recovery is often missing.
Graph 2. (To be added)
Always the same training, no improvement
It is very typical for amateur athletes (runners) and fitness enthusiasts to be very set in their own ways. This means that they always repeat a training pattern. This pattern may long since have lost its effectiveness. A lot of time is spent on training with no real improvement. In many cases spending less time in correctly measured and guided training would produce a far better result. This has been shown by many who have started to use Firstbeat tools.
Graph 3. (To be added)
An example of successful marathon training
We measured 76 marathon runners and their 2479 training sessions in validation study. The participants of different age, sex and fitness level were tested several times before, in between and after the training. Heart rate variability data was collected of all training sessions with speed information. The results were analyzed and applied to Firstbeat algorithm development. Here is an example of successful fitness development over time as measured by Firstbeat Fitness Test.
Graph 4. (To be added)