Using Training Monotony to design better judo programs

Spread the knowledge!


  • Introduction
  • What is Training Monotony
  • How to calculate the Monotony Index
  • Examples
  • Application
  • JudoTraining Load V1.0
  • Free excel sheet
  • Conclusions
  • References


One of the most common mistakes made by some judo coaches during the season is a lack of variability in their team’s prescribed training load. This fact can affect the performance in two different ways. If the trainng load is not enough, the training stimulus would not be able to promote adaptations and improvements, and in case that the training load is elevated during all season without enough rest there is a risk of overtraining, injury, or illness.

In this article I will try to know more about Training Monotony and how important is that coaches control the variability of daily training load, in order to create positive training adaptations. I will also explain how to calculate the Monotony Index and its practical applications on sports periodization.


Training Monotony is a statistical tool proposed by Carl Foster (2) that evaluates the variability of daily training loads over a period of time.

Figure 1. Pioneering papers about training load by Carl Foster

Foster (2) has recommended that alternating lighter and more difficult training days reduces training monotony and strain and this balanced approach to load management may help reduce incidences of illness and overtraining.


There are many ways of monitoring training loads, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. A simple and widely adopted method of quantifying training load however is sRPE (Session Rate of Perceived Exertion). It uses a modified Borg Scale rating of perceived exertion RPE) for athletes to gauge their perceived intensity of the session. The athlete’s RPE is multiplied by their session duration to calculate the sRPE. It is recorded for every session and then daily and weekly loads are computed.

Training Monotony is then calculated by dividing the average daily training load by the standard deviation, how much difference there is between each session compared to the session average.

Historically, a monotony index greater than 2 A.U. has been asserted as a risk factor for illness and overtraining in players (2)


Here there is an example about how to calculate the Monotony Index in a real microcycle. Firstly we must calculate the daily training load, and secondly calculate the average weekly training load. 

Table 1. Example about how to calculate the daily/weekly training load in a judo athlete during one microcycle.
Table 2. Example about how to calculate the Monotony Index in a judo athlete during one microcycle.
Table 3. Evaluation of load, monotony and strain associated with a training program (Foster, Carl & Lehmann, Manfred. (1997). Overtraining Syndrome)


Knowing the monotony index will give the coaching staff valuable information about their athletes training load, since we can monitor how the internal load variability is, that is how our athlete perceives the load to which we subject him. We must not forget that on numerous occasions there are differences between the load planned by the coaches and the load perceived by the athletes, so this index will give us very valuable information when it comes to adjusting future sessions and microcycles of training, avoiding monotony and thus reducing the risk of injury and overtraining. Viveiros et al. (6) demonstrated that although the training session has been developed by experienced coaches, significant differences were detected between the intensity of external training load planned by the coach and the intensity of the internal training load experienced by the athletes.

Also, recording the Monotony Index during the season will help us to understand what the variability of the training is according to the athletes, as we can see in these two examples (Figure 2 and 3)

Figure 2. Descriptive statistics of (a) weekly average training strain and (b) weekly average training monotony and their variations across the preparation season be shown in three periods (pre-, mid- and end-season). Arbitrary units (AU). Nobari,H.;Silva,R.; Clemente, F.M.; Akyildiz, Z.; Ardigò, L.P.; Pérez-Gómez, J. Weekly Variations in the Workload of Turkish National Youth Wrestlers: A Season of Complete Preparation. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 202118, 3832
Figure 3. Training load and Monotony Index during pre-season in a judo athlete at Chinese National Team.

In these examples (Table 4 and 5) we can observe that two microcycles with the same total training load and the same average training load, have very different monotony indices. In the first example we observe that the index is very high, Coming to almost 2, which indicates that the training load is very similar across all sessions, With the high monotony index, and putting our athlete at greater risk. The second example has same training load, but by distributing the loads in the different sessions, a much lower monotony index is achieved, This will allow the athlete to adapt better

Table 4. An example of a poorly organized training week that does not minimize training monotony.
Table 5. An example of a well-organized training week that attempts to minimize training monotony.


Now you can calculate the Monotony Index and other interesting measurements with our Excel Sheet JudoTraining Load V1.0 and take your’s team performance to the next level.

If you would like to know more information about this new tool for judo coaches, you can check it out HERE and download the brochure with all information.

Figure 4. Example screenshots of template JudoTraining Load V1.0


Download here this free excel sheet and you will be able to calculate the monotony index of your microcycle easily.


Using this index will help judo coaches to make decisions and avoid the training monotony, that is very important if we want to avoid injuries or overtraining. Monitoring the index during the season will provide useful information about the planned training load compared with perceived training load by the athletes, allowing us to adjust the loads for the following sessions or microcycles.
A coach must prevent de-adaptation of specific training qualities and monotony through a program that varies the components of the training load (volumen, intensity, frequency,…) of the key capabilities needed for optimizing athletic performance. For sure this index will help you to ensure that you have included enough variability and sufficient rest in your training program.


1.Foster, Carl & Lehmann, Manfred. (1997). Overtraining Syndrome.

2. Foster, C. Monitoring training in athletes with reference to overtraining syndrome. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998; 30: 1164–1168. 

3. Nobari,H.;Silva,R.; Clemente, F.M.; Akyildiz, Z.; Ardigò, L.P.; Pérez-Gómez, J. Weekly Variations in the Workload of Turkish National Youth Wrestlers: A Season of Complete Preparation. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3832.

4. RYPT Team. Using Training Monotony to design better programs.

5. Valle, C. Training Monotony: How This One Factor Can Reload or Ruin Athletes.

6. Viveiros de Castro, Luis Eduardo & Costa, Eduardo & Moreira, Alexandre & Nakamura, Fabio & Aoki, Marcelo. (2011). Training load monitoring in judo: comparison between the training load intensity planned by the coach and the intensity experienced by the athlete. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte. 17. 266-269.

472 thoughts on “Using Training Monotony to design better judo programs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *