Overtraining syndrome in the athlete: current clinical practice

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2014 Jan-Feb;13(1):45-51. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000027.


Competitive athletes are pushed routinely to the limits of their physical abilities. When tempered with periods of rest and recovery, a highly demanding training schedule can have tremendous benefits. However when an athlete is pushed too far, overtraining syndrome (OTS) can develop and result in career-ending damage. Overreaching and overtraining are part of the same spectrum that can lead to OTS. The pressure to perform placed on elite athletes is a real danger. Athletes and coaches understand the importance of rest days, but the insidious onset of OTS slowly saps the efficacy of recovery times so the athlete is no longer able to reach previously attainable goals. Identifying markers that correlate with overreaching and overtraining can arrest progression of a potentially negative cycle. We will examine the current literature and discuss possible screening tests and red flags that will assist in preventing OTS from occurring.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / adverse effects*