Physical qualities and workload–injury relationship
This prospective study found that improved lower body strength, repeated-sprint ability (RSA), and speed were associated with higher workload tolerance and reduced injury risk in team sport athletes.
These associations were seen during both the pre-season and in-season periods. Athletes with improved physical qualities were also able to tolerate greater weekly changes in workload and greater workloads with less risk.
Sports injuries have a multifactorial nature; one of the factors that has been receiving attention recently, is the relationship between physical qualities, workload tolerance, and injury risk. However, speed, lower body strength, and RSA have not been collectively investigated as potential moderators of injury risk.
Forty male amateur hurling players participated in the study. Workload was determined for each training session by multiplying the rated of perceived exertion (RPE) by the session duration. All time-loss injuries were systematically recorded. Data were recorded for 2 seasons.
Strength was determined using a trapbar deadlift; speed was measured in 5-, 10-, and 20-m sprints; RSA was measured through 6 35-m shuttle sprints.
It was found that all 3 physical qualities (strength, speed, and RSA) were able to stratify injury risk. Therefore, improving these qualities may not only lead to lower injury risk, but also to improved athletic performance. Moderate and carefully considered weekly loads were also found to have a protective effect across the entire sporting season.
Expert opinion by José Pedro Correia
This study provides additional evidence that athletes with better physical qualities are able to deal with greater training loads with less risk.
It should be clear by now that building strong, fast athletes should be a top priority for sports medicine and coaching teams, as this will probably lead not only to reduced injury risk but also to improved performance.
> From: Malone et al., J Sci Med Sport 22 (2019) 29-34. All rights reserved to Sports Medicine Australia. Click here for the online summary.