Re-thinking athlete training loads: would you rather have one big rock or lots of little rocks dropped on your foot?

Res Sports Med. 2022 Sep-Oct;30(5):573-576. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2021.1906672. Epub 2021 Mar 24.


Determination of athlete training loads is of great interest to sport practitioners and is widely used in the prescription and monitoring of physical conditioning programmes. Although a number of methods of load quantification are used, a common feature is that total load calculations are the product of exercise intensity and duration. We argue that these methods may be limited, however, as they do not account for non-linearities in the biological response to stress, with the end result being that they fail to fully account for the load imposed by high-intensity or interval-based training sessions. We end with a call for sport scientists to develop novel method of training load quantification to better deal with this issue.

Keywords: RPE; TRIMP; training load; word.

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Exercise
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Physical Conditioning, Human*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Sports*