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Training Load Management

What is Training Load?


“Training load” is a broad term describing total volume, intensity and type of physical activity an athlete undertakes during both training and competition. 

  • External load: the physical work performed by an athlete. For example, distance run, amount of jumps performed, balls thrown. It van also be the duration, intensity or other available metrics. 
  • Internal load: the athletes perception of effort. The most common forms of measuring internal load is a rating of perceived exertion (RPE) or heart rate response to a stimulus.
  • Acute load: Training load that have been accumulated in the last week. 
  • Chronic load: Average training load that has been accumulated over 4 weeks.


Examples include:

  • Swimming = distance (m)
  • Running = distance (km)
  • Dance = routines performed
  • Cricket = balls bowled
  • RPE (rate of perceived exertion) x duration 


Key Principles of Training Load


  1. Establish and maintain adequate training loads
  2. Avoid acute (large) spikes and troughs in load
    • Overtraining and undertraining can increase injury risk
  3. Awareness of latent periods following any increase/decrease in load
    • Injuries can occur up to 4 weeks later after a spike in training
  4. Minimise week-to-week fluctuations
  5. Establish a floor and ceiling of safety
    • Identify your minimum and maximum training loads – aim to stay within these limits
  6. Ensure applied training loads are appropriate for your current situation
    • Consider athlete age, skeletal maturity and training history