Why do sudden changes in load worry physio’s?

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Why do sudden changes in load worry physio’s?

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Whether you are an active individual who has recently begun a new training regime, or an individual who is just getting back into an exercise routine, there are certain principles that should be followed.

Most importantly, the term “training load” is often overlooked, when in reality this should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. It should also be one of the major principle’s that governs how often you train and how hard you train. Let’s dive a little deeper into what “training load” entails.


What does training load entail?

Training load can be looked at several different ways: systemic load (the global effect of training on the body as a whole) and tissue load (local load placed on a specific tissue or body region).

Whilst systemic load can be calculated using total amount of sessions per week, tissue load is calculated by how often you exercise a certain part of your body each week. This is often what predisposes you to injury, and as such, this is why sudden changes in load worry physios!


Relationship between Training load and an Individuals physiological make-up.

The graph below demonstrates the relationship between training load (the combination of intensity and frequency) and physiological limits of muscles, ligaments and bones within the body. Remember, each person will have their own individual graph that applies to them.

The zone of supraphysiological overload is often what you aim to achieve while exercising, as this permits tissue growth, strengthening and conditioning. However, overtraining or “overloading” the local tissue (exercising with too much intensity, too much frequency/duration/volume, or a combination of both) can place you in the zone of structural failure and as such, can result in overuse injuries.


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Examples of overuse injuries include tendinopathies, bone stress reactions, shin splints and muscle/tendon strains. It is important to note that these injuries require a “deload” from the overloading exercise, and appropriate management to avoid ongoing pain and discomfort.

If you feel like you are suffering from an overuse injury, or you would like to chat to one of our friendly physiotherapists about load management during exercise, book an appointment online or call us on 07 3352 5116!



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