Athletes and every one of us indulged in exercise training are very familiar with the term “load management.”. You may spend the game on the bench on any given day during the regular matches because of mal loading. But what exactly is “appropriate load?”
What is "Load"?
Load is a phase through which an athlete’s performance is improved. It consists of physical exercise or movement leading to fatigue. This fatigue pushes the muscle to function in its maximum capacity . Therefore in training load, fatigue is important for any kind of sports performance. If the load remains constant then there will be stagnation in the performance.
"Load Management” is a multifactorial approach to maximizing performance and preventing injuries. In essence, it’s all about making sure that we aren’t over-trained or under-trained to prevent possible injuries. Poor load management creates peaks and valleys that eventually increase the risk of injury and decrease performance.
In order to gain an understanding of the training load and its effect on the athlete, a number of potential markers are available for use. When monitoring training load, the load units can be thought of as either external or internal. External load is defined as the work completed by the athlete. Internal load is the relative physiological and psychological stress imposed by the application of the external load. It is critical in determining the training load and subsequent adaptation or progression. For example, If I run every other night in the park without much planning and adherence to the principles of sports training, sooner or later pass the same track may be quicker, but also feeling more relaxed, which is a simplified functional change. Psychosocial changes in this case represent my daily effort and responsibility run out every night out.
The variables that can be used to monitor training load and subsequent fatigue include:
RPE (The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion)
This is a popular method of the intensity level of physical activity, categorised by a rating of 1 to 10 as shown in the chart below.
VAS Visual Analog Scale
Best Practices on Internal and External Load in Training an Athlete
Intervention strategies based on the markers of internal load and external load may decrease overload factors and improve recovery. There are tactics that can be applied to manage internal and external load and overload.
There are a number of benefits of load training in addition to the injury avoidance related to communication and relationship building with athletes, support staff, and coaches. When athletes are involved in monitoring, this can enhance their feeling of involvement in the training program, empower them, and increase their sense of ownership.
You may consult your physiotherapist to have your customised load progression protocol in accordance to your physiological , physical and goal based activity requirement.
Written by: Vriddhi Lalai (Physiotherapist)
A spine enthusiast and an orthopaedic rehab post graduate from UK, Vriddhi works towards the goal of enlightening and teaching an individual in exploring the root cause of their ailment and helping them treat it while using their own body capacity to heal itself to maximum with minimal dependence on external sources.
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