Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Improve players' aerobic capacity to protect them from injuries

The general consensus up to date is that rapid changes in workload are associated with higher risk of muscle injuries. To monitor the workload trends, practitioners now employ the acute (last week) to chronic (last 4 weeks) workload ratio.

It seems, although the data are limited, that a ratio between 1 and 1.25 is protective to injuries in professional soccer players. The question is: does this range of values apply to every player?

In a 2016 study, 48 professional soccer players belonging to 2 elite European teams were followed for one season. Weekly workload was monitored and the muscle injuries were recorded. Aerobic capacity was assessed with the Yo-YoIR1. Their results showed that players with high aerobic capacity presented lower risk of injury despite the rapid changes in weekly workload compared to players with lower aerobic fitness. 

Therefore, one of the training objectives should be to improve aerobic capacity. I believe these findings apply to all levels of team sports athletes and to most age categories, respecting the windows of training opportunities. 

Take home message
Players with high aerobic capacity are able to tolerate the rapid changes in workload better compared to players with lower aerobic capacity.

Malone et al (2016). J Sci Med Sport [Nov 9 ahead of print]

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