Load monitoring

The International Olympic Committee consensus statement on load in sport and risk of injury says that scientific monitoring of the athlete’s loads is key to successful load management, athlete adaptation and injury mitigation in sport (Soligard et al., 2016). Several of the committee’s recommendations are: 

  • Coaches and support staff are recommended to employ scientific methods to monitor the athlete’s load and detect meaningful change.
  • Load should always be monitored individually.
  • No single marker has been validated to identify when an athlete has entered a maladaptive state; hence, it is recommended to use a combination of external and internal load measures that are relevant and specific to the nature of each sport.
  • Load is not an isolated variable, but must be monitored using a comprehensive approach taking into account interaction with and relative contributions from other intrinsic and extrinsic factors, such as injury history, physiological, psychological (e.g., non-sport loads), biochemical, immunological, environmental and genetic factors, as well as age and sex.
  • Special consideration should be given to the monitoring of acute and chronic loads, and the acute:chronic load ratio of the individual athlete.
  • Monitoring should be performed frequently (e.g., daily or weekly measures self-administered by the athlete) to enable acute adjustments to training and competition loads as required; however, with consideration given to minimising the burden on athletes.

Soligard T, Schwellnus M, Alonso J-M, Bahr R, Clarsen B, Dijkstra HP, Gabbett T, Gleeson M, Hägglund M, Hutchinson MR, Janse van Rensburg C, Khan KM, Meeusen R, Orchard JW, Pluim BM, Raftery M, Budgett R, Engebretsen L. How much is too much? (Part 1) International Olympic Committee consensus statement on load in sport and risk of injury. Br J Sports Med 2016; 50: 1030–1041.