Workload Management 101 : Avoiding Spikes in Weekly Load

Monitoring Week-to-Week Load Increase

Studies have shown that a large percentage of injuries are associated with rapid change in weekly loads (1,2,3), and when load increases by ≥15 % from the preceding week, the risk of injury increases by up to almost 50 % (2).

In the example below, we’ve used to analyze the weekly load of a professional rugby team during a 4 months period. Exessive weekly load increases have been detected on 2 occasions, during which the players were at an increased risk of injury. In this example, the S&C coach wisely decided to reduce the load of the subsequent week, which allowed players to recover and limit the risk of injury.

To minimize risk, increase weekly loads very progressively (10% or week or less), monitor week-to-week load changes to detect excessive load increases, and when a spike in load occurs, immediately reduce next week’s load, as shown in the example below.





1. Foster C.: Monitoring training in players with reference to overtraining syndrome, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercice, 1998.

2. Gabbett TJ.: The training—injury prevention paradox: should players be training smarter and harder?,  Br J Sports Med, 50:273–280 2016.

3. Piggott B, Newton MJ, McGuigan MR. The relationship between training load and incidence of injury and illness over a pre-season at an Australian Football League club, J Aust Strength Cond, 17:4–17, 2009.