TRAINING LOAD, RECOVERY AND INJURIES IN ELITE RHYTHMIC GYMNASTS DURING MAIN COMPETITIVE PERIODS: A CASE STUDY
Keywords:gymnastics, injury, ACWR, competition
Competitive periods are critical periods where elite rhythmic gymnasts experience higher training loads and insufficient recovery. The aim of this short report is to describe individual training load, recovery and injuries in elite group rhythmic gymnasts during competitive periods. Six gymnasts from the Brazilian senior rhythmic gymnastics group were monitored daily over a 126-day period comprising regular training and four competitions. Training load was measured using the session rating of perceived exertion (session-RPE). Daily load, chronic load, and acute:chronic workload ratio (ACWR) were assessed. The Total Quality Recovery (TQR) scale was used to monitor recovery and a 3-day rolling average (3RA) TQR was also measured. Injuries were diagnosed and reported by the medical staff and their reports were used in the analysis. Descriptive statistics were used. The gymnasts presented distinct daily load, ACWR, and recovery patterns, as well as injuries across the competitive periods. All athletes had rapid increase (“spike”) in load. Three athletes were underrecovered more than 60% of the time. Four athletes sustained five injuries during the time of the study (all lower limb overuse injuries, two severe, two mild and one slight). Individual factors such as age and chronic load could moderate how each gymnast responds to training and tolerates spikes in load. Moreover, injuries sustained during competitive periods appear to affect the short and long-term careers of gymnasts, as well as impair training and competition organization of the team.
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