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Internal Training Load Measures in Elite Adolescent Ballet Dancers

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Training load has been identified as a risk factor for musculoskeletal injury in sport, but little is known about the effects of training load in dance. The purpose of this study was to describe adolescent dancers' internal training load (ITL) and compare objective and subjective measures of ITL using heart rate (HR) training impulse methods and session Rating of Perceived Exertion (sRPE), respectively. Fifteen female elite adolescent ballet dancers at a vocational dance school volunteered to participate in the study. Internal training load data using HR and sRPE were collected over 9 days of multiple technique classes at the midpoint of the dancers' training year. Heart rate data were quantified using Edwards' training impulse (ETRIMP) and Banister's training impulse (BTRIMP), and sRPE was estimated from the modified Borg 0 to 10 scale and class duration. Descriptive statistics (median [M], and interquartile range [IQR]) were determined in arbitrary units (AU), and were as follows for all classes combined: ETRIMP: M = 134 AU (IQR = 79 to 244 AU); BTRIMP: M = 67 AU (IQR = 38 to 109); sRPE: M = 407 AU (IQR = 287 to 836 AU). The association and agreement between objective and subjective ITL measures in ballet and pointe class was assessed using Spearman correlations (r s ) and adjusted Bland-Altman 95% limits of agreement (LOA), respectively, with alpha set at 0.05. A significant moderate positive correlation was found between ETRIMP and BTRIMP in pointe class (rρ = 0.8000, p = 0.0031). The mean difference (LOA) between ETRIMP and BTRIMP was 121 AU (33 to 210 AU) in ballet and 43 AU (-3 to 88 AU) in pointe. It is concluded that some, but not all, measures of ITL in elite adolescent ballet dancers are comparable. Additional research is needed to examine the utilization of ITL measures for evaluating dance-related injury risk, as well as the application of ITL to inform the development of effective injury prevention strategies for this high-risk population.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Canada;, Email: [email protected] 2: Prevention Research Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology, Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, and O'Brien Institute for Public Health, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2020

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