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Week to week changes in judo periodization

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CONTENTS

  • Introduction
  • What is week to week variability
  • How to calculate week to week variability
  • Examples
  • Application
  • JudoTraining Load V1.0
  • Free excel sheet
  • Conclusions
  • References

INTRODUCTION

Progressively increasing training stress is necessary to improve performance (8) but how much is enough and how much is too much?

In this article I will try to explain more about week to week changes and how important is that coaches control the variability of weekly training load, in order to create positive training adaptations. I will also provide information about how to calculate the weekly change and its practical applications in judo periodization.

WHAT IS WEEK TO WEEK CHANGES?

In order to elicit adaptations and ultimately improve in our training, making sure we are progressing week to week is key. Variations of load between weeks, and their relationships with the load distribution can be extremely important in determining the effects of training on a athlete’s performance and, most of all, to understand the impact of training strategies on the adaptations of athletes. This knowledge could help coaches to know the training loads imposed on each microcycle and to design appropriate training tasks in order to ensure the specific judo demands (1)

In the research carried out by Clemente et al. (1) we can see one example about how is the weekly variation (%) during 10 weeks in professional soccer players (Fig.1).

Fig. 1. Mean (SD) and weekly changes (%) in weekly training load over 10 weeks Clemente FM, Clark C, Castillo D, Sarmento H, Nikolaidis PT, Rosemann T, et al. (2019) Variations of training load, monotony, and strain and dose-response relationships with maximal aerobic speed, maximal oxygen uptake, and isokinetic strength in professional soccer players. PLoS ONE 14(12)

Gabbet (5) suggested that to minimize the risk of injury, all athletes should restrict their weekly training load increases to less than 10%. However, with most scientific findings, context matters! Although the general consensus is that rapid changes in training load increases the risk of injury, changes in training load should also be interpreted in relation to the athletes’ chronic load. Athletes with low chronic load have greater scope for increases in training load, while athletes with high chronic load have a much smaller scope to increase their training load. It is much easier to increase weekly training load when the chronic load is near the ‘floor’ than when it is near the ‘ceiling’.

Fig.2. Likelihood of injury with different changes in training load. Data taken from team sport athletes. Gabbet (5)

HOW TO CALCULATE WEEK TO WEEK VARIABILITY

Weekly change is calculated as the percentage change from the cumulative sum of the current week (Week1) relative to the cumulative sum of the previous week (Week0) (9)

Weekly change % = ((Week 1 – Week 0)/ Week 0)*100

Fig.3. Calculation of weekly change (%). Example of weekly change in two microcycles in Xu Shiyan´s training plan, judo athlete at Chinese Natioanl Team.

EXAMPLES

In Fig.4 and 5 we can see a real examples about how to calculate the variation of weekly training load. In Fig. 4. we can see that on week 24 the training load increased from 5809 to 6272 ual, 7.97% more and in Fig. 5 the training load decreased from 4895 to 4649 ual, 5.03% less.

Fig. 4. Real example about variation in weekly load occurred from week 24 to week 25 in Cai Qi, judo athlete from Chinese National Team.
Fig. 5. Real example about variation in weekly load occurred from week 25 to week 26 in Cai Qi, judo athlete from Chinese National Team.

APPLICATION

  • Control the weekly variation will help us to monitor if load planned in the different microcycles is the same than load perceived by athletes. In this example we can see the weekly variation between Week 3 and Week 4. The Week 3 was a developmental microcycle and the Week 4 was a shock microcycle (Fig. 6).
Fig.6. Weekly variation and daily/weekly training load in a developmental microcycle (Week 3) and a shock microcycle (Week 4) in world medalist judo athlete Ma Zhenzhao.
  • The taper or “the short-term reduction in training load before competition” (9) is a normal practice in sport performance in an attempt to reduce the physiological and psychological stress of daily training and optimize sports performance. Monitoring daily/weekly training load is crucial to check if the reduction of training load is real, In the next example we can see the taper phase on the last two weeks of the preriodization before an important competition. The judo athlete decreased his training load 33% one week before the competition and 48%, on the week of the competition.
Fig. 7. Total daily and weekly training load during the season and during the tapering phase (red).
  • With weekly variation we can check how is the progression on athlete´s preparation so this variation will give us very valuable information when it comes to adjusting future sessions and microcycles. In this example, the athlete was seriously injured on Week 8, reducing the training load. After several weeks focused on recovering from the injury, we began to increase the training load in a progressive manner. Monitoring this weekly variation will allow us to control the training load in an individualized way, minimizing risks and trying to enable the athlete to return to training with the rest of the team normally.
Fig.8. Variation in training load during macrocycle preparing China National Games. Weekly variaton after severe neck injury (in red).
Fig. 9. Rehab training after severe neck injury in Chinese judo athlete.
  • Progressively increasing training stress is necessary to improve performance (9). However, researchers and clinicians are concerned that a sudden change in training stress (ie, ‘‘too much, too soon, too fast’’) increases the risk of sustaining an injury (2,11). Week-to-week changes in workload of more than 10–15% were related to increased injury risk (4). Gabbet el al. (4) have modelled the relationship between changes in weekly training load (reported as a percentage of the previous weeks’ training load) and the likelihood of injury, When training load was fairly constant (ranging from 5% less to 10% more than the previous week) players had <10% risk of injury (Fig.10). However, when training load was increased by ≥15% above the previous week’s load, injury risk escalated to between 21% and 49%. To minimise the risk of injury, practitioners should limit weekly training load increases to <10%. According to these findins and other is important to control the weekly training load and compare with previous week, in order to check the increase/decrease and to adjust the loads for the following microcycles.
Fig. 10. Likelihood of injury with different changes in training load. Data taken from team sport athletes (4)
  • Although the general consensus is that large weekly changes in training load increase the risk of injury in both individual and team sport athletes, these changes in training load should be interpreted in relation to the chronic load of the individual athlete. For example, small weekly increases in training load (≤10%) in an athlete with low chronic training load will considerably delay the return of that athlete to full capacity, whereas an athlete with high chronic training load will likely tolerate much smaller increases in training load from week to week (figure11). In this respect, limiting training load increases to 10% per week is, at best, a ‘Guideline’ rather than a ‘code’ (6)
Fig. 11. Hypothetical relationship between chronic training load and weekly changes in training load. Each block represents a 10% increase in weekly training load. Smaller increases (<10%) in weekly training load are recommended when the chronic training load is either extremely low or extremely high (indicated by red blocks). Larger increases (>10%) in weekly training load are likely to be well tolerated by athletes with moderate to high chronic load and may be necessary to accelerate the rehabilitation process (indicated by green blocks). Gabbet, T. (6)

JUDOTRAINING LOAD V1.0

Now you can calculate week to week changes 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.

FREE EXCEL SHEET

Download here this free Excel sheet and you will be able to calculate easily the weekly change of your microcycles.

CONCLUSIONS

  • Understanding how to measure weekly variation allows us to easily manage our training progression according to what require, whether that is a light week for recovery or a harder week for progression.
  • Progressively increasing training stress is necessary to improve performance but we must understand that a sudden change in training stress (ie, ‘‘too much, too soon, too fast’’) increases the risk of sustaining an injury (2,11)
  • Periods of deloading, where there is a lack of activity, followed by a return to training, is also high risk of injury. These changes in activity are often considered “training load errors” (3).
  • Don’t increase/decrease training loads greater than 10% from week to week.
  • What can be measured can be managed. Use week variability tracking to ensure a correct load progression and minimize the risk of injuries.

REFERENCES

1. Clemente FM, Clark C, Castillo D, Sarmento H, Nikolaidis PT, Rosemann T, et al. (2019) Variations of training load, monotony, and strain and dose-response relationships with maximal aerobic speed, maximal oxygen uptake, and isokinetic strength in professional soccer players. PLoS ONE 14(12)

2. Damsted C, Glad S, Nielsen RO, Srensen H, Malisoux L. Is there evidence for an association between changes in training load and running-related injuries? A systematic review. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2018;13(6):931–942.

3. Drew, M. K., & Purdam, C. (2016). Time to bin the term ‘overuse’injury: is ‘training load error’a more accurate term?. Br J Sports Med, 50(22), 1423-1424.

4. Gabbett, Tim. (2016). The training-injury prevention paradox: Should athletes be training smarter and harder?. British journal of sports medicine. 50. 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095788.

5. Gabbett, T. When Progressing Training, Not All Load is Created Equally. https://southcoastseminars.com/blog/2018/10/14/when-progressing-training-not-all-load-is-created-equally

6. Gabbett TJ. Debunking the myths about training load, injury and performance: empirical evidence, hot topics and recommendations for practitioners. Br J Sports Med. 2020 Jan;54(1):58-66.

7. Garcia MC, Pexa BS, Ford KR, Rauh MJ, Bazett-Jones DM. Quantification Method and Training Load Changes in High School Cross-Country Runners Across a Competitive Season. J Athl Train. 2022 Jul 1;57(7):672-677.

8. Gibala, M. J., J. D. MacDougall., and D. G. Sale. The effects of tapering on strength performance in trained athletes. Int. J. Sports. Med. 15:492–497, 1994.

9. Meeusen R, De Pauw K. Overtraining syndrome. In: Hausswirth C, Mujika I. Recovery for Performance in Sport. Human Kinetics; 2013:9–20.

10. Nielsen RØ, Parner ET, Nohr EA, Sørensen H, Lind M, Rasmussen S. Excessive progression in weekly running distance and risk of running-related injuries: an association which varies according to type of injury. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2014 Oct;44(10):739-47

11. Soligard T, Schwellnus M, Alonso JM, et al. How much is too much? (Part 1) International Olympic Committee consensus statement on load in sport and risk of injury. Br J Sports Med. 2016;50(17):1030–1041.

Check this article out about “Using Training Monotony to design better judo programs”

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