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  • Jessie Mayo

Load management - What is it and Why is it important?

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Load management is a common phrase that the medical and strength and fitness worlds have been talking about more in the last few years. It is nothing new but as with so many things; they come in and out of favour.

Load management is referring to understanding and monitoring what we do in terms of exercise and training: the 'load' that is placed on the body. It is most commonly used in terms of injury management and prevention currently but is equally important in regards to performance.

It's not the weight that counts but the change in weight

Load management is most often quantifying the external load placed on the body. Be that strength training, cardio exercises or stretching/yoga etc. It is measured by taking the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) multiplied by time. (RPE is a 10 point scale used to rate how hard you are working or the intensity.) This load number is then added up per day and then over the week. An average weekly load (chronic load) is calculated by taking the average of the last four weeks of training and then comparing your current load to this average.

So what is the fuss about.... Essentially injuries occur when there is too much change in load over a short period in load. This can be a jump up in load or even a decrease. Our bodies do not like sudden change.

And what does this mean for you? Having a good idea of your base level of exercise and fitness is important. From here it is understanding that changing load - increasing, decreasing or changing activity - needs to occur gradually and incrementally to be safe from injury. If you are returning from injury it is always beneficial to consult a professional to help guide this return and help ensure you have a good understanding of how to get to where you want to go. Going from running 5Ks to running a marathon is not impossible but takes planning over time.

Do you have further questions about how load might be affecting your body?

Speak to one of our Physiotherapists at The Movement Workshop Physiotherapy, South Melbourne for more information.

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