Evidence is needed to determine if there is a better way to determine the acute: Chronic workload



Publication Details

Sampson, J. A., Fullagar, H. H. K. & Murray, A. (2017). Evidence is needed to determine if there is a better way to determine the acute: Chronic workload. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51 (7), 621-622.


A series of letters have argued for alternatives to acute:chronic workloads or the methods by which the ratio is calculated when predicting injury risks. Based on the hypothetical data presented by Menaspa, Williams et al, argue that an exponentially weighted moving average (EMWA) to emphasise the importance of workloads towards the end of the calculation cycle may be more appropriate. A case is presented in one example (athlete 3) where EWMA calculates a greater injury risk than rolling averages when substantially lower daily loads followed by sharp load increases towards the end of a cycle are observed (athlete 3). Yet, by the same account, using the EWMA calculation in this example may undermine a fundamental concept of training whereby daily variation and purposeful reductions in load are applied to prevent monotony and strain, manage fatigue, avoid overtraining and taper athletes prior to competition. Such practice can benefit an athlete through reduced levels of accumulative fatigue to allow for recovery, positive physiological adaptation, improved performance and increased fitness, responses which may actually protect against injury. The argument presented herein against EWMA to determine acute:chronic workloads is based on assumption; however, as pointed out by Drew et al, there is currently no evidence to suggest one method is any better than another.

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