A Comparison of Methods Used for Quantifying Internal Training Load in Women Soccer Players

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Helen Alexiou
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Aaron J. Coutts
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The purpose of this study was to compare the session-RPE method for quantifying internal training load (TL) with various HR-based TL quantification methods in a variety of training modes with women soccer players.


Fifteen elite women soccer players took part in the study (age: 19.3 ± 2.0 y and VO2max: 50.8 ± 2.7 mL·kg−1·min−1). Session-RPE, heart rate, and duration were recorded for 735 individual training sessions and matches over a period of 16 wk. Correlation analysis was used to compare session-RPE TLs with three commonly used HR-based methods for assessing TL.


The mean correlation for session-RPE TL with Banister’s TRIMP, LTzone TL and Edwards’s TL were (r = 0.84, 0.83, and 0.85, all P < .01, respectively). Correlations for session-RPE TL and three HR-based methods separated by session type were all significant (all P < .05). The strongest correlations were reported for technical (r = 0.68 to 0.82), conditioning (r = 0.60 to 0.79), and speed sessions (r = 0.61 to 0.79).


The session-RPE TL showed a significant correlation with all training types common to soccer. Higher correlations were found with less intermittent, aerobic-based training sessions and suggest that HR-based TLs relate better to session-RPE TLs in less intermittent training activities. These results support previous findings showing that the session-RPE TL compares favorably with HR-based methods for quantifying internal TL in a variety of soccer training activities.

The authors are with the School of Leisure, Sport, and Tourism, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

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