Following on with the theme of loading, I wanted to discuss how loading can impact on injury rates. Brace yourself for some factual healing, Dr Marvin Gay style. Work by Tim Gabbet (Professional Man Crush alert), has paved the way for these results, thus all credit to him.

Load 1

Essentially, his work across many team sports found that the higher your workload, either external or internal (refer to my previous articles if you want more information on what those terms mean), the higher your likelihood of sustaining a soft-tissue injury. Bummer.

Though all is not as it seems, which we will get to later.

Somewhat surprisingly, the external load and our internal loads are strongly correlated. So, if you’re continually feeling like junk after training, take notice, you may be pushing toward overtraining syndrome.

Something I spend a considerable amount of time discussing with the athletes I manage, is how to modify their weekly load to minimise injury risk.

Gabbett’s research resulted in a piece of startling information; Players who exceeded their weekly load threshold were 70 TIMES MORE LIKELY to test positive for a soft-tissue injury!

Load 2
Furthermore, previous research has shown that 40% of soft tissue injuries were associated with a rapid change in weekly training load.

Getting back to the exception to higher training.

Load 3

Take a look at this graph – we can see the steepest part of the ‘pre-season’ curve represents what we’ve been talking about; higher load has a higher likelihood of injury. However, if we look at the top of the is curve we can see it almost flattens out. This means, if we safely and effectively build fitness (the positive adaptations of training) we can then progress to much higher loads with a minimal increase in likelihood of injury! In short this means, if we can build resilience to training it becomes protective and preventative for injury! This is the whole reason for a pre-season.

The result from all of this is;

Train Harder AND Smarter. 

I just got tingles…

Though seemingly simple, it takes care and patience to achieve. It means you must become educated on training loads, apply this information regularly and then make informed decisions on training daily. This is how you reduce injuries.

“The problem is not with training per se, but more likely the inappropriate training that is being prescribed”.

If you require any further information, or are looking to understand your training loads and how to prevent injury better, please don’t hesitate to contact me or comment below!

 

 by Jack Connelly (Roar Physiotherapist)


Gabbett, T. J. (2016). The training—injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter and harder?. British journal of sports medicine, 50(5), 273-280.