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Title: The effect of training mode on the validity of training load measures for quantifying the training dose in professional rugby league
Author: Weaving, Daniel Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 6166
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 2016
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Establishing the accurate quantification of the training load is a key focus for researchers and sport scientists to maximise the likelihood of appropriate training prescription. In the field, there are numerous methods adopted to quantify the physiological, physical, mechanical, and other loads placed on team sports athletes, including global positioning systems, accelerometry, heart rate and session rating of perceived exertion. Each method can be classified within one of two theoretical constructs: the external or internal training load. Due to the lack of a gold standard criterion, previous research has investigated validity through relationships with criterion measures of load or dose-response associations with chronic changes in physical fitness. The current research designs within investigations into the validity of those methods have failed to consider the influence of the mode of training on the validity of the measures. As strength and conditioning coaches utilise a variety of training modes to stress the various physiological systems to promote the adaptations required to succeed in competition, investigating the influence of training type on training load validity is warranted. To achieve this, the research (Chapters 3-6) was conducted within two professional rugby league clubs, where training load data (global positioning system, accelerometry, heart rate, session rating of perceived exertion) were collected across three twelve week pre-season preparatory periods. Training sessions were demarcated by training mode. The results of the first study showed that meaningful differences in the distances covered within arbitrary speed-and metabolic power-derived-thresholds exist between field-based training modes (small-sided games, conditioning, skills, speed). These differences in external load also led to differences in the perceptual- and heart-rate-derived internal load response. Establishing how those differences in demands influence the relationships between multiple external and internal training load methods is important to establish the validity of individual methods across different modes of training. In our case study approach in study two, the main finding was that when session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) demonstrated trivial differences across multiple skills training sessions, large variation was present (coefficient of variation range 31-93%) in other training load methods (individualised training impulse [iTRIMP], Body Load™, Total Number of Impacts, high-speed distance) which reduced (coefficient of variation range 3-78%) when sRPE demonstrated trivial differences during small-sided games. This provided initial evidence that training load measures provide different information which might be influenced by the training mode. However, a more comprehensive investigation was needed. In the third study we aimed to examine the influence of training mode on the variance explained between measures of external (arbitrary high-speed distance, Body Load™, total-impacts) and internal (iTRIMP, sRPE) training load over two twelve week pre-season preparatory periods. This was replicated in our fourth study, across a shorter period of training from a different team utilising different methods in which to represent the external (individualised high-speed distance, PlayerLoad™) and internal (heart rate exertion index [HREI], sRPE) training load. During both investigations, we determined the structure of the interrelationships of multiple internal and external load methods via a principal-component analysis (PCA). Within the findings of both investigations, the extraction of multiple dimensions (two principal components) in certain modes of training suggests a single training load measure cannot explain all the information provided by multiple measures used to represent the training load in professional rugby league players. Therefore, if a single measure is used this could underrepresent the actual load imposed onto players. However, establishing the ‘dose-response’ associations between training load and the changes in training outcomes, such as physical fitness is also needed to establish validity. As a result, during study five, we aimed to determine the influence of training mode on the ‘dose-response’ relationship between measures of external (PlayerLoad™ ) and internal (sRPE, HREI) training load and acute changes in physical performance (countermovement jump, 10- and 20-m sprint, Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1) following conditioning and speed training. sRPE was the only training load measure to provide meaningful relationships with changes in Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 performance. This provides the first evidence of the acute dose-response validity of the sRPE method. No measure provided meaningful relationships with all changes in performance. Therefore, further investigation is warranted to establish whether a combination of measures reflect better those changes than individual measures. The findings of the thesis suggests that practitioner should consider the implementation of both external and internal training load methods within their monitoring practices and researchers should establish multivariate and mode-specific relationships between training load methods to elucidate appropriate evidence of validity.
Supervisor: Abt, Grant ; Marshall, Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sports sciences