Calculating the Acute:Chronic Workload Ratio

...how does it work?

  • No cause-effect relationship proven
  • Simplified ‘Rolling Average model’ with ratio of 7:28 days most used
  • Complex weighted model more sensitive

The ratio between training load on the short term (e.g., 1 week) and long term (e.g., four weeks) is related to the odds of overuse injuries: athletes who train longer, heavier or more intensely than in the weeks before, are at greater risk for non-contact injuries compared to athletes who had a less high peak in their training load in the last week. Calculating the so-called ‘Acute:Chronic Workload Ratio’ (ACWR) is useful and therapists and coaches can use this ACWR in addition to other measurements to monitor the training load of patients and/ or athletes. This is concluded by four Irish scientists based on a systematic literature review in which they analysed 22 very recent cohort studies.


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