Various Workload Models and the Preseason Are Associated With Injuries in Professional Female Cyclists

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To determine if workload and seasonal periods (preseason vs in season) are associated with the incidence of injuries and illnesses in female professional cyclists. Methods: Session rating of perceived exertion was used to quantify internal workload and was collected from 15 professional female cyclists, from 33 athlete seasons. One week (acute) workload, 4 weeks (chronic) workload, and 3 acute:chronic workload models were analyzed. Two workload models are based on moving averages of the ratios, the acute:chronic workload ratio (ACWR), and the ACWR uncoupled (ACWRuncoup). The difference between both is the chronic load; in ACWR, the acute load is part of the chronic load, and in ACWRuncoup, the acute and chronic load are uncoupled. The third workload model is based on exponentially weighted moving averages of the ratios. In addition, the athlete season is divided into the preseason and in season. Results: Generalized estimating equations analysis was used to assess the associations between the workload ratios and the occurrence of injuries and illnesses. High values of acute workload (P = .048), ACWR (P = .02), ACWRuncoup (P = .02), exponentially weighted moving averages of the ratios (P = .01), and the in season (P = .0001) are significantly associated with the occurrence of injury. No significant associations were found between the workload models, the seasonal periods, and the occurrence of illnesses. Conclusions: These findings suggest the importance of monitoring workload and workload ratios in female professional cyclists to lower the risk of injuries and therefore improve their performances. Furthermore, these results indicate that, in the preseason, additional stressors occur, which could lead to an increased risk of injuries.

van Erp, van der Hoorn, Hoozemans, and de Koning are with the Dept of Human Movement Sciences, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Foster and de Koning are with the Dept of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, WI, USA.

van Erp (teunvanerp@hotmail.com) is corresponding author.
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