Question of the Day: Can You Train Too Much?

The video above suggest an obvious answer to the question in the headline: yes. If you die during training it’s pretty clear you were training too much. Pulling back from that a bit, if you seriously injure yourself during training that’s also an excellent indication that your armed self-defense training is OTT. But there are other potential issues. The more you mentally, physically and emotionally prepare for a life-or-death event the more likely you are to constantly look (scan?) for it. Preparedness can lead to paranoia. You can also create training scars: subconscious/reflexive habits that won’t work in a given situation. What’s your take? Is it possible to over-train for armed self-defense? Oh, and we have two more places left for next Thursday’s force-on-force training in Plano, Texas. Email I’M IN to [email protected]


  1. avatar Zachary marrs says:

    Yes, dont get me wrong, training can bw good, but when you are “engaging tangos”, you’ve gone too far.

    1. avatar Heretical Politik says:

      I try to have an engaging tango with an exotic woman at least once a month. I might be overdoing it.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        Depends on your age age and “excitement” level.

        1. avatar Zachary marrs says:

          As a younger guy, (18) I wonder who let you guys out of the retirement home.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Zach – “Old age and treachery / Always overcomes youth and skill.” – Waylon Jennings

        3. avatar 2hotel9 says:

          Ahhh, the ever immortal words and wisdom of Lazarus Long.

        4. avatar ThomasR says:

          You got it 2hotel9, RAH is the man.

        5. avatar ropingdown says:

          Zachary Marrs: They don’t let us out, brother. They just don’t have the stones to refuse when we say “get out of my way, punk.” “Let” has nothing to do with it.

        6. avatar De Facto says:

          Whenever I hear an older male utter the words “old and treacherous” I immediately bump them to the front part of my kill list. If you’re treacherous you’re a priority, and if I draw first there won’t be an opportunity for treachery, now will there?

  2. avatar Anmut says:

    You’re asking the wrong question. You should be asking “Can you train too much for situations you will likely never encounter?”

    Weekly or daily training drawing your EDC piece = awesome and never enough.

    Weekly or daily training on full-operator-as-f*ck status (for the majority of us) = probably not as effective for daily defense.

    However training anything is better than being a couch potato.

    1. avatar Fler says:

      this x 1000. I’m sure the few (vocal) people here who espouse the aformentioned “engaging Tango” training and “your gun isn’t reliable unless you fire 2,000 rounds at a time through it” stuff will disagree, though.

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        Gotta go with both of you guys on that.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      Now that is common sense gun control. Training too much on the wrong threat is often worse than no training at all. Joe Citizen ought spend most of his self defense training learning how to spot and avoid the threat rather than engaging it.

  3. avatar Matt in TN says:

    Its seems like part of the problem is just that some people forget there is life beyond armed self defense. A lot of people have similar problems with other aspects of life, the sort that never comes home from work or can’t stop playing Warcraft. Firearms training gone off the deep end seems to inspire an especially bad set of stupid. Usually coming from making exceptions to safety rules. Those rules are there for a reason, and that reason is your health.

    It especially annoys me when people try and turn things like 3 gun into tactical training. It isn’t. Stop it. Have fun and settle the fuck down.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      It’s also kinda odd when someone talks about (gun) training all the time and now much of an expert they are at defending themselves and yet they’re a mess, physically, and probably couldn’t run a hundred yards without gassing out.

  4. avatar DaveL says:

    Does anybody over the age of 30 seriously question whether it’s possible to train too much?

  5. avatar Nighthawk says:

    It’s all relative. Navy SEAL training should include handling someone trying to rip the regulator out of your mouth and drown you because it’s a real threat, someone just wanting to stay fit and ready for conflict shouldn’t be doing anything near that level of training. There’s a reason why the cutoff for the elite fighting forces is a tiny percentage. Another example is high altitude training for special operations. Subjecting yourself to hypoxia for the hell of saying you did it is foolish, doing it because your unit deploys to 15000 ft+ combat zones is the *only* way to prepare for that environment.

    1. avatar seans says:

      Seal training doesn’t have a guy ripping your regulator out cause it is a possibility on a op, they do it to see how people react to stress that they have never dealt with. Seals don’t dive open circuit, if you mouth piece leaves your mouth while on bag unexpectedly, well your dive rig is done. A lot of training in selection phases has nothing to do with real world operations, but is a way of culling the herd.

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        Seans, it’s good you’re around to keep people straight when they start to throw around the SEALs this and the Spec Ops that. On the other hand, ask yourself who created the confusion between training appropriate for SEALs or similar, and appropriate training for the citizen CCW type. Often enough those selling pseudo-fast mover training are…former fast movers looking to make a better living. No? Retirement -it’s when counting pennies gets serious.”

        1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

          Yep, plenty of guys out there giving people good training for their money. Capitalism at its best. And then there are all the low grade REMF a$$wipes, or total frauds, ripping people off and handing out “training” that is getting them killed, injured and/or prosecuted.

          Caveat Emptor.

        2. avatar seans says:

          If they are selling “operator training” telling people it’s needed for the everyday Joe, that is bullshit, but if they sell it just for fun, or have it for people who could actually benefit from it that is another thing. Most of the guys who are legit don’t go around saying that it is needed for the everyday Joe. It always seems that the frauds and douche bags try to sell it as you need this or you will die training.

    2. avatar Rich Grise says:

      The last time I heard of anyone intentionally suffocating themselves (except for actual suicides) it was some sort of sexual fetish thing. Intentionally flirting with suffocation is insane.

      1. avatar Fler says:

        David Carradine.

      2. avatar Another Robert says:

        I have this vague recollection of a statistic involving that kind of thing–something on the order of more people die from auto-erotic asphyxia than die from firearms accidents or some such. Actually, tho, I don’t think I’m going to look it up to verify just now…

        1. avatar Rich Grise says:

          “more people die from auto-erotic asphyxia than die from firearms accidents…”

          Well, I look stuff up: at

          “With the FBI conservatively estimating up to 1,000 AeA deaths a year,”

          So, yeah. Sounds true.

        2. avatar Another Robert says:

          Well I’ll be damned. Thanks for being braver than I am.

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    Of course you can overtrain. Athletes do it ALL the time. I don’t think it would make you paranoid-just tired & poorer. And I’m WAY over 30.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      In the athlete category I give you Tiger Woods. “Train like an NFL running back, have the career length of an NFL running back.” (Full credit to WP Sportswriter Tom Boswell.

      1. avatar ARhawk82 says:

        First basketball, football, golf, tennis, now shooting with all this “Noir” stuff in the NRA. What’s left for us??

      2. avatar seans says:

        Tiger Woods was injuries problably come more from hanging out with the Seals than anything else. He has done pretty much all the SQT pipeline except for diving and the Kodiak. Dude is a nasty shot.

  7. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    “Inducing stressors like discomfort and pain”. Um, no thanks.
    This happens by accident often enough. (Forgetting muffs during .50 touch-off).
    I like my range experiences to be friendly, pleasurable and therefore, memorable.
    Speaking of which. Off to the range!

  8. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    It all depends on the precise definition of “too much”. If “too much” means too often, the only damage that can come of that is reinforcing bad habits, possibly suffering a repetitive injury to a body part, or neglecting other responsibilities to train. Like everything else in life, all things in moderation.

    If the “too much” means too intense, then yes a person can “overtrain”. I believe the example above illustrates “too much training”. I can imagine about 1 in 1,000,000 people would ever encounter a hypoxia situation while defending themselves on their feet. If someone wants to train for that because they think it is fun, fantastic. Otherwise, I think there are other training methods that would be a much more wise use of time.

    1. avatar seans says:

      As much as I think Zero is a dbag, I highly doubt he is training that way expecting to be fighting with a plastic bag over his head. It’s stress inoculation, it helps you out immensely to have experienced greater stress in training than what would be possible in a real life events. Think of a fighter who keeps swapping in a fresh opponent every time the bell rings when sparring.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


        I see some value in stress inoculation. I think there are other stresses that a person is way, WAY more likely to encounter in a self-defense event. Personally, I would much rather train for those.

        1. avatar seans says:

          Fear of drowning/suffocation is used extensively by SOF as a screening process, if you can fight the panic that comes from that it translates extremely well into other arenas. I think Zero is a douche for filming this, and for the fact he can take off the bag whenever he wants, but for stress inoculation it is pretty good.

      2. avatar Sheepdog6 says:

        Stress inoculation can be made very effective, but at the same time can be very dangerous. It should NEVER be performed at the same time firearms are being utilized. During the afore-mentioned underwater “selection school” type training there is a minimum of one safety instructor per student standing by to respond to dangerous situations that may arise. It can be that critical even without the introduction of loaded firearms.

  9. avatar Stitch1870 says:

    Oh wow…..people are still taking Zero seriously?

  10. avatar Dano says:

    There’s always a point of diminishing returns. The key is recognizing that point. Unlike everyone here, I have a limited budget, both financial and time, for shooting. Right now I’m capping out around 12,000 rounds a year (March-November). Between practice session, matches, and dry fire I really don’t have much more I can squeeze in. I will tell you. When you get to the point where you’re shooting 5000+ round a year you really see a difference over the people who shoot once a month at 100 round.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      I know that I can instantly point a handgun accurately at any object within 12 feet … which means I do not need/use sights. I honestly do not know how many rounds I have fired to get to that point. I would love to know how much an average person has to shoot to become that proficient.

      1. avatar Fler says:

        But can you “run your gun” with 500 rounds, scan left and right for Tangos, then un-deploy your weapons system? If not, the tactical types on TTAG (who, ironically, try to call others “ninjas”) will hear none of it.

        1. avatar Fler says:

          Tacticool training Poster boy:

          MayDay McCain!

  11. avatar freezercharlie says:

    What are we training for? It’s cool to watch what guys like zero are capable of, but to what end? In case my daughter is kidnapped while on vacation in France, so I can go after her?

    1. avatar T M says:

      But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        Hold it right there! I thought the real deal line was “If you let her go, I’ll let your family live, and only kill you. If you hesitate, I will take out your family first, and then, eventually you.” That would be full-Cormac-McCarthy, at any rate.

  12. avatar Lfshtr says:

    Love to shoot, shoot and then shoot again! Never to much practice, practice makes perfect! Tommarow I’m using mirrors, hee, hee

  13. avatar AnAnonymousShooter says:

    Yes, you can train too much.

    When are you ever going to have to deal with a plastic bag over your head suffocating you? Where you go grocery shopping are their roving bands of bad guys out for blood who put plastic bags on the heads of their victims? And if you did have a plastic bag over your head… Why not just, you know, rip it off?

    Give things a few more years, and those plastic bags will be illegal in grocery stores anyways!!

    That isn’t realistic, it doesn’t add anything to your training, and you look stupid to boot!

    If you really want to push yourself in this manner, then do this sort of training, but do it at higher elevation (1 mile+ above seal level) without the plastic bag!

    1. avatar Lolinski says:

      No offense but I believe the plastic bag is easier and cheaper than the mountain.

  14. avatar Lolinski says:

    Depends, reinforcing bad habits is stupid. Reinforcing good habits is good.

    Also, don’t forget to train to draw your gun quickly WITHOUT shooting.

  15. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    Train for more real world – like shooting w off hand. Shooting w a different gun. Loading empty shells in your mag and practicing w a FTF. Have someone scream @ you. Take ur earphones off and experience the pain of sound in a room. Have someone shine a bright light in your eyes. Walk around your house in the dark and learn where your stairs creak or how to move silently. Practice reloading mags in the dark. Do 30 pushups and then fire 10 rds @ 10 yrds. Try to get to your weapon when you are buckeled up in your car. Exercise. Lift weights. Run or do elliptical. Work on your heart rate and strength. Watch what you eat. Go to church. Pray for patience and spiritual guidance. Meditate.

    1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      Preach it, Brother Dirk, preach it!

    2. avatar Rich Grise says:

      “Take ur earphones off and experience the pain of sound in a room”

      I’d strongly recommend against this – like the plastic bag trick, it’s intentional infliction of pain on oneself (which is insane), and noise trauma can cause damage that’s cumulative.

      1. avatar lolinski says:

        It is not “may cause”, it will cause permanent and acumulative damage to your ears.

        I was “lucky” enough to have experienced a mag dump from a M16 about 5-10 meters away from me…ears still ring occasionally, 10 years later.

  16. avatar Taylor TX says:

    Damn thats rough, I sent in an email the first day you mentioned it lolz. Message Received…

  17. avatar Ken says:

    Beard On!!

  18. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    Each and every escalation in your training regimen is an exercise in preparing for a less and less likely situation you might find yourself in. I personally find it a better use of my time identifying the likelihood of different risks and prepare for those I’m most likely to experience. If the gentleman in the video had done his homework, he’d know that in this country you are twice as likely to die of auto-erotic asphyxiation than of being murdered with a rifle. Seems like intentionally putting a plastic bag over your head and running around like an idiot with a gun should generally considered a bad idea.

    1. avatar T M says:

      It’s actually really hard to suffocate to death. People die from AEA because they pass out and they are alone, with no one to return them to fresh oxygen. IZ isn’t in any real danger here, unless he passes out and has an ND into himself or someone else, and 30-40 seconds isn’t going to cause you to pass out.

      1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        ‘…unless he passes out and has an ND into himself or someone else…’

        So you agree that intentionally putting a plastic bag over your head and running around like an idiot with a gun should generally be considered a bad idea? What with running around on the edge of passing out with your finger on the trigger of a loaded weapon and all.

  19. avatar Jerryboy says:

    Rogue Warrior’s Commandment #4:
    “4. I shall punish thy bodies because the more thou sweatest in training, the less thou bleedest in combat. “

  20. avatar Great Scot says:

    No, depending on the practice. If you are practising special-forces shit like that and ‘engaging tangoes’ then you are crossing the line. Practice what you need.

  21. avatar Pashtun6 says:

    The video was more of a big boy science experiment or at least that’s what it looked like.

  22. avatar 2hotel9 says:

    Doing stupid crap that needlessly endangers yourself and others is just stupid. The only “bad” training is when you are ingraining bad habits.

    Seems like we just had this discussion.

    1. avatar ropingdown says:


      1. avatar 2hotel9 says:


        Had a thread over at TFB on this. People are all hung up on “formal” training when what they need is “proper” training. Hell, what most people need is “basic” training. Learn the fundamentals and then work it. FTDS

      2. avatar 2hotel9 says:

        And as you have pointed out before, the majority of people simply need to learn how to spot the enemy. Engaging at the place and time of your choosing is key. Running around an obstacle course with 60 pounds of crap hanging off your azz is far less important than knowing who the problems are.

        As my favorite Top Kick said it, find’em, fix’em, fuck’em. Applies to civilian world, too.

  23. avatar neiowa says:

    Wacker. Didn’t his mommy tell him that only morons put plastic bags over their head..

  24. avatar Accur81 says:

    If training consists of reading TTAG, then my wife says I train too much.

  25. avatar Tim says:

    Actually, I CAN see where this type of training is good, FOR HIM. For the regular Joe, absolutely not. But I HAVE experienced hypoxia before during an actual defensive situation. It wasn’t a firearms situation, as it was at a dance club/bar. A brawl broke out on the dance floor and someone got thrown into the “smoke machine” thingy. It broke, and also took down a lighting bar. When the smoke oil hit the ground, and the lighting bar hit the ground, sure enough it didn’t catch fire, but it literally smoked the place out to the point where no one could breathe, and caused an epic “panic on the dance floor” so to speak. As the brawl intensified, no bouncers could get into the area because of the fumes, which I had to run right through, AND through the brawl, to get out. Coughing half to death while swimming your way through a crowd throwing punches wasn’t fun. Would this type of training have helped me? 99.9999% POSITIVE it wouldn’t have. But yet still, I have been in a situation where I couldn’t breathe, and was fighting for my life, and running for my life. So, it IS applicable. Over the top, yes. But applicable nonetheless.

    1. avatar ARhawk82 says:

      I’ll put that on /r/thathappened

  26. avatar Ralph says:

    Given the cost of ammo today, no, it’s impossible to overtrain.

    1. avatar ARhawk82 says:

      Speak for yourself. I can afford ammo

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Good. Use it.

  27. avatar Navy93 says:

    Nothing wrong with training, chances are you won’t need it, but your prepare for the worst and hope for the best, as my former security forces instructor said ” you don’t rise to the occasion, but instead you fall back on your level of training”

  28. These posts just make me laugh now. People getting all worked over the fact that some choose to avail themselves of training, while they choose not to and then feel a need to get all defensive about their choice.

    I have a hunch the rabid “I don’t need none of that there fancy training” crowd probably know next to nothing about it and are simply blissfully ignorant of what they don’t know

    Oh, well….good luck to them.

    1. avatar T M says:

      I don’t think people here realize that IZ teaches special forces and SWAT teams in Italy. This isn’t training for the person that’s carrying for personal defense.

    2. avatar Paul W. says:

      It’s not so much “I don’t need it” as “It’s a ways down on my priority list”

      I’m not spending money and time on something that I have a one in thousands chance of needing if I don’t already have money enough and time to handle everything that’s much more likely to be needed–stuff like car repairs, a small savings account, a retirement account, etc.

    3. avatar ropingdown says:

      What most residents of semi-civilized townships need is an education in how to spot a predator on the street, or at their door. And you’d be amazed at how many spec ops types can’t spot a predator back in their home town. Hell, they even marry them, often enough. Just the facts, Paul.

      1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

        The news is full of people who can’t do that one simple task.

      2. RopingDown, your expertise in all these matters is admirable, sir. I’m sure the people in your neighborhood sleep better at night knowing they have a man of your vast experience, skills with weapon and expertise in self-defense and dealing with an armed threat.

        Thank you for your service.

  29. Be advised. I’m mean, nasty and tired. I eat concertina wire and piss napalm and I can put a round in a flea’s ass at 200 meters. So why don’t you go hump somebody else’s leg, mutt face, before I push yours in.

    1. avatar ropingdown says:

      Paul, you’re locked into a hell of a mid-life fantasy. For god’s sake (oops), you’re trained as a theologian, and you’ve past up every chance to actually get trained and go to war. You can take courses until your ears fall off. That doesn’t make you hard, because you always know you can go home to your warm safe bed at night. It ain’t about pullin’ a trigger.

      1. RopingDown, I’m so honored that you have taken the time out of your busy schedule to offer me your expert critique. I’m also thankful somebody of your stature knows so much about me to offer your pscyhoanalysis and counseling.

        I’m sure I’ll be a better man for it.


  30. avatar larry says:

    First let me say I would never tell someone how to spend their time and money.

    That said tactical training is all the rage now. Everybody wants to be Travis Haley or Chris Costa, slinging empty mags out of their AR’s to reload fast.

    If your job requires you to carry a weapon then you can’t train enough. That is true of any job/skill really. If you are a competition shooter, again you probably can’t train enough.

    For the rest of us when it comes to fire arms training is a great thing. Train to learn safety and manual of arms inside out. Learn how to take you gun apart and clean it. Train the basic skills as in sight alignment, zeroing a gun etc, basic stance, grip, trigger control. Train to understand how to employ your weapon, probably pistol first as that is what you would more likely use for most civilians that don’t carry a gun for their job.

    Once you have these down I would say to practice those fundamentals at least (very least) 4 times a year. I know a lot of people that buy a gun, learn how to take it apart, clean it, learn the basic’s (sights alignment, grip, stance, trigger control) go shoot a half a dozen times and then never go out again or once every 2 years. You have to get out there and keep those basic skills up to date.

    I do think, IMHO, there a lot of people taking way to much training that they will NEVER use. They are caught up in the latest shooting fads and trends. They are blowing a ton of money but then again its a free country. If I won the lottery big, and could quit my job I would spend a year going to all kinds of classes from all kinds of instructors (Travis, Chris Costa, Kyle Lamb, Kyle Defoor…..etc) It would be a blast for sure, but I doubt I would ever use 80% of what I learned and just like anything else if you did not keep up with it you would get rusty very fast.

    1. “I would say to practice those fundamentals at least (very least) 4 times a year”

      Wow….four times a year?

      Shooting well involves a set of extremely perishable skills and I’d never recommend practicing them only four times a year.

  31. avatar Paul McCain says:

    The other amusing thing about these posts is how abysmally ignorant most of the comments are from the “anti training” crowd are.

    They make sweepingly idiotic remarks about training while at the same time admitting they have never had much by way of training.

    Funny stuff and quite pathetic.

    You always can tell when these guys have run dry of any intelligent remarks because they fall back on personal insults, and, as usual hide behind fake names.

    I will gladly take anyone out for a training class and then we can chat about how “useless” they think it was. An open offer, let me know.

    1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      Good thing you are here to put us all in our place, reverend! Although, it being in the AM on a Sunday morning I figured you would be in your pulpit, talking down to your herd.

        1. Hey, “Fler” if you are going to insult somebody, the least you could do is use good grammar.

          It is “breathes heavily” not “heavy.”

          Get it right next time, and have a nice day.

          Fler, I’ll invite you to put your money where your big mouth is.

          I’ll pay for you to take a training class with me at my training facility. Let me know whey you can make it to the STL, MO area and I’ll take you out and we’ll run a class together and you can show me how skilled you are and you can also let the instructional cadre there what they are doing wrong and how unnecessary the training is they are providing, at the end of the day.

          Will you do that?

          Let me know.

          The same offer applies to “Roping Down” and “Seans” and all the other “experts” around here…and all the other folks who can’t help but make snide remarks about training classes.

          Open invitation. Just let me know.

          In other words, here’s your chance to put up, or shut up.

        2. avatar 2hotel9 says:

          Your desperate pleas for attention are rather comical.

        3. Crickets chirping…..looks like the whole “I don’t need of that there fancy training” crowd is more content to armchair quarterback on these issues than actually find out for themselves what’s involved in quality training.

          Just as I guessed.

          The offer stands to any/all here who love to tell us how much they don’t train and nobody else needs to.

          Contact me. Come to St. Louis and I’ll take you out to a training class. I will cover the expense of your training class.

  32. avatar Thomas says:

    If it’s a choice between shooting back and breathing, my ass is going to be trying to breathe. I can (probably) survive a handgun wound. I can’t survive without oxygen. And a common criminal would have a hard time shooting me while I’m all out sprinting to somewhere I can breathe. Then again, I don’t intend or train to go to war.

  33. Do you suffer from KIDNEY DISEASE? Do you know that, according to latest researches,
    DIALYSIS IS NOT NECESSARY? A friend of mine got off
    dialysis (stage 5 CKD) and healed his kidney. Take a look:

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email