The restrictions are easing and people are starting to get back into things. Group PT sessions and sports training are starting up and people are keen to get back into a healthy lifestyle post COVID. Elite athletes are worried about the lead in time and are predicting more injuries than ever – and that has to trickle down to all sports and people. But to remain injury free and to maintain steady training throughout the year (and beyond), it is important to consider and integrate load management.
What is load and load management?
The load that we are talking about here is the work placed on the muscles, bones, tendons and other structures which includes weight lifted, distance, duration, speed/intensity and frequency. Therefore, load management is the process of controlling this load so that it doesn’t exceed the capacity of the structure. Tendons, bones and muscles have a capacity or resilience – if the load exceeds this, injuries happen.
Why is load management important?
Load management is important because increasing training load by more than 10% per week can lead to a greater risk of injury. For example, increasing training load by just 15% per week increases the risk of injury to 21-49%, whereas keeping it within the range of 5% or less than 10% minimises the risk of injury to less than 10%. This is because as we get stronger, so does the capacity or resilience of the structure – which means that we can add more load before injury. If we add load too quickly – and the structure can’t tolerate it – things go wrong.
But I did some training before this Coronavirus stuff? And I’ve done a little bit between times?
The training you did prior prepared you for that time. The body is very adaptable, but it also adapts to reduced load as well – such as what we have all experienced recently. The capacity of the muscles, tendons and bones have reduced and can’t withstand the load of training to the same level at the moment. That capacity needs to be built up again in order to tolerate the new load. Elite athletes are worried about this as well – they are wanting a longer preseason again.
How can I manage my load?
Keep a log of the activity you are completing including details such as weights/distance and rate how hard you worked for that session (intensity). Consider a section for how much and the quality of sleep you are getting, as research indicates enough and good quality sleep is important for preventing injuries. Importantly – don’t progress too quickly.
In summary, stick to increasing training by up to 10% per week to reduce the risk of sustaining an injury. You want to gradually increase training in all aspects to allow muscles, tendons and bone to adapt to your exercise. This will allow you continue working towards getting fitter and healthier with fewer or no injuries. Train smarter, not harder.
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Finally, if you do have niggles, give us a call on 9580 1985 or click here to get some FREE advice. The quicker an injury is addressed the less time there is away from training. Train smarter to get fit and stronger, injury free!