Comprehensive Load Monitoring for Athlete Health in Collegiate Men and Women Athletes



Fields, Jenni

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An important part of training for sport is to enhance sport performance, achieved through the implementation of progressive overload. However, periods of overload must be balanced with periods of recovery in order for positive adaptations to be engendered and maladaptations (i.e. injury, illness, overtraining) to be prevented. To monitor the balance between overload and recovery, it is suggested for practitioners to assess various measures of training load. Training load encompasses two dimension, both external and internal. External load is the physical work incurred by the athlete during a training session and internal load is the athlete’s unique stress response to that physical stimuli. Therefore, it is critical to measure both external and internal load in conjunction with one another. Load monitoring is especially important in collegiate athletes, as they are challenged to balance the demands of their sport with academic and social obligations, placing them in a potential position of high stress. Further, current research has examined acute responses of load markers, but studies that examine the chronic effect of a competitive season on these markers remains limited. As there is no single identifier of overtraining, many load markers may be assessed, thus making it difficult for practitioners to determine the most practical and effective markers to implement in their programs. Therefore, the purposes of the studies included in this dissertation were to investigate markers of external and internal load, and their relationships, across a competitive season in collegiate athletes. By measuring such markers, it would be possible to 1) determine the effects of a season, as they may help identify the balance between overload and recovery, and also 2) determine the most applicable measures of load to monitor in collegiate athletes’ programs. Measures of internal load throughout a competitive season in collegiate women lacrosse athletes (Study 1) and the comprehensive relationship between measures of external and internal load throughout a pre-season in collegiate men soccer athletes (Studies 2 and 3) were examined in order to understand how measures of training load change in response to sport training and to identify relationships among various markers.



Internal load, External load, Athlete monitoring, Overtraining, Collegiate athletes