How to plan your training sessions to avoid getting injured: the system  “Acute chronic workload ratio”

«Here we are once again for a new chapter on climbing injuries. The previous times I have dealt with prevention, concentrating on the various body parts, illustrating a few exercises and giving advice on how to reduce any risk of injury. But is all this enough? There is no doubt that a good genetic predisposition helps avoid certain overloading syndromes. However, other very important aspects deal with managing the loads and having a good training programme.

Perseverance and regularity are to be kept in consideration to help avoid any physical hitch. In fact those who do not train very often and do so discontinuously come under the category of climbers who risk getting injured.

Speaking of, it is good to know that a system exists to understand if one is training excessively or too little: the “acute chronic workload ratio”. This is a method invented by Tim Gabbett, an Australian researcher who calculated, and scientifically proved how the evaluation of this parameter can determine whether an athlete will be hit by overload injuries more easily with that specific type of training.

How do you work out your own personal “acute chronic workload ratio”? It is very simple! All you have to do is register each training session, the minutes during the session and multiply it by 0 to 10, equivalent with the personal perception of the training sessions’ difficulty.

For example:

This week’s total load corresponds to acute load.

The chronic load, instead can be calculated by working out the average of the total load of at least 4-5 weeks’ worth of training. Example:

Now having the results of the acute load and the chronic load all you have to do is put them proportionately as follows:

Acute load/Chronic load 2520/2155= 1,2

The best “workload ratio” should always be more than 0,8 and less than 1,3.

Therefore, the above example of loading falls into the optimal result and diminishes the incidence of injuries.

The strong point of this evaluation system is the subjective evaluative aspect. In fact, anyone, even for reasons which have nothing to do with training, can perceive when excessive load is connected to that specific moment.

Now, with this new tool, I hope to have supplied you all with that little bit extra to plan your training sessions to the best, and to avoid incurring into annoying injuries!

Enjoy your climbing!»

Text by Silvio Reffo