This is a review of the volume and intensity training research conducted by Patrick Ward, Michael Tankovich, J. Sam Ramsden, Barry Drust, and Luke Bornn.
Participating in sports invariably leads to injuries, especially at the professional level. A 10-year investigation of pre-season training camps in the NFL indicated that for every 1000 athletes 12.7 were injured during training sessions and 64.7 were injured during a game. Some injuries were due to contact with other players, however, many were non-contact injuries such as muscle strain. It is possible that this a consequence of high training loads.
A volume and intensity training study was conducted throughout 24 weeks of training during the pre-season, regular season, and playoff period for one NFL team. This time period included 76 training sessions. Players wore integrated micro technology sensors which consisted of a GPS unit to monitor running activities and inertial sensor units to monitor non-running activities including changes of direction, shuffling, and cutting. A physical therapist recorded any injury data including type and cause of each injury. All of this information was combined and evaluated.
This volume and intensity training study focused on the relationship between training load and non-contact injuries. A non-contact soft tissue injury was defined as any injury that did not occur due to contact with another player and which resulted in the player having to sit out at least one subsequent training session or game. Statistical analysis was completed using logistic regression in order to try and understand the relationship between training load, position, and non-contact soft tissue injury.
During the 76 training sessions there were 28 non-contact soft tissue injuries resulting in time loss. Analyzing the data showed that both total playing load and a very high playing load were found to substantially increase the risk of injury on any given training day. A high IMA (inertial movement analysis) per minute had the strongest relationship with non-contact soft tissue injury. IMA includes all non-running activities that involve changes in direction.
In conclusion, coaches need to be aware of the relationships between training load an injuries in order to minimize the probability of their players experiencing injuries that cause a loss of playing time. Training days that consists of high volume and intensity are related to an increased risk of injury. Training days that consist of large amounts of low intensity training are related with a decreased risk of injury. These findings indicate that there is a relationship between volume and intensity. Coaches and trainers need to keep this mind as they plan out the training regime for the time.
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