Applying the Acute:Chronic Workload Ratio in Elite Football: Worth the Effort?

Buchheit, M.

The acute:chronic workload ratio (A/C) has become increasingly popular over the past two years as a tool for monitoring injury risk in various team sports. This ratio is typically calculated over a 28-day period, comparing the load accumulated during the current week to the load accumulated weekly over the past 28 days. Both internal (e.g., session-rate of perceived exertion multiplied by duration) and external (e.g., GPS-derived variables like high-speed running and accelerations) measures of competitive and training load are used in this calculation.

While the potential benefits of the A/C ratio are clear for practitioners, there are several limitations to its effectiveness. Firstly, there are challenges in assessing relative external load and subsequently estimating injury risk, especially in players with different locomotor profiles. Secondly, effectively monitoring overall load across all training sessions and matches throughout the year can be difficult.

These limitations likely undermine the usefulness of the A/C ratio in elite football (soccer) contexts. As such, further research and refinement of monitoring methods may be necessary to address these challenges and enhance the utility of workload ratios in injury risk management in football.

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