Why do we want to monitor training loads?
Before looking at how training load monitoring programs work, it is essential to understand why it is important to monitor and manage training loads. Load in simple terms refers to the sport and non-sport burden (physiological, psychological, mechanical stressors) that are applied to the human body over time.
Training loads and injury risk are intimately related however, there is often a belief that training at very high levels is directly associated with a higher risk of injury; this in fact is a misconception. Although this may be true for some sports like athletics, running, and baseball, there is research that shows training at high levels in certain sports like aussie rules football, rugby and triathlon can actually have a protective effect against injury. What is most important are rapid changes in load.
In 2016, Blanch and Gabbett devised the acute:chronic workload ratio to help identity these changes in load and to help predict what level of change in load is acceptable, as well as what levels are likely to result in subsequent injury. Their workload ratio has been applied in a variety of sports, in particularly junior elite tennis which showed that players who had an acute load spike in their current weeks training load, were more likely to sustain an injury in the subsequent weeks compared to those who kept their load changes within a ‘safe’ or ‘sweet’ zone.
How do training load monitoring programs work?
At the Shannon Clinic, Dr. Shannon has developed an individualised load monitoring program with a foundation in endurance sports but has been adapted to other sports. This program monitors fundamentals including volume (how much time), and duration (how long ie. mileage); it measures perceived effort and weight step (a measure of impact load through the body), and specifics depending on the sport it is monitoring such as number jumps, number of serves, number of take offs among other metrics that are monitored. The program also measures actual versus predicted levels to gain a more accurate loading picture, and measures week to week changes making sure the individual being monitored keeps within a safe training zone, aiding in injury risk reduction and improved performance.
Who are training load monitoring programs ideal for?
Training load monitoring should occur in any individual who competes in sport whether it be recreational, semi-professional or professional where the focus is on injury prevention and performance enhancement. It is particularly important in endurance sports and those who compete in sports over a long season. Likewise, those who have been suffering from performance drop offs or overuse/repeated injuries, especially tendon pain should seriously consider using a training load monitoring program.
At the Shannon Clinic we work with individuals at all levels of sport from recreational to professionals and we work with you and your coach/team (if you have one) to develop a load monitoring program that is specific to your needs and duration of time, whether that be training for your first half or full marathon, to competing in a state, national or international season of your sport. As a team we work together to build, monitor, and adapt your training load as required to make sure you are performing at your best.
To find out more about the training load monitoring program and services the Shannon Clinic Melbourne Chiropractic and Sports Care provides or to book an appointment you can call, email or book online.