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A comparison of perceptual and physiological training loads during basketball-specific conditioning relative to training mode

journal contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Patrick TuckerPatrick Tucker
Purpose: The monitoring of individualized athlete responses to training stimuli is important to coaches and conditioning staff in team sports. Perceptual (ratings of perceived exertion (RPE)) and physiological (heart rate) models have emerged as the most commonly used methods to quantify training load in team sports. To date, limited investigation has explored the use of these training load models during basketball-specific conditioning. Furthermore, no research has examined the relationship between perceptual and physiological training load across different modes of basketball conditioning. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare perceptual training load responses with physiological methods across a variety of training modes in basketball players. Methods: Eight adult semi-professional male basketball players (age: 26.3 6.7 years; stature: 188.1 6.2 cm; bodymass: 92.0 13.8 kg) participated in the study. All players were monitored across general and specific preparatory phases of an annual training plan. The training modes analysed included offcourt, repeated linear running and sprinting efforts (43 sampled sessions); on-court intermittent work combined with speed and agility drills (46 sampled sessions); and tactical/game-play conditioning (37 sampled sessions). Following (30 min) each training session, players reported their perceived intensity (Borg CR-10 scale) of the overall session, which was used to calculate perceptual training load (RPE 3 training duration (min)). In addition, heart rate responses were recorded across sessions and used to calculate individual physiological training load via Bannister’s training impulse (TRIMP) and Edwards’ summated-heart rate zones models (ZONE). Correlation analysis was used to compare the perceptual and physiological training load methods during the different training modes. Results: The mean perceptual and physiological training loads (arbitrary units) varied between the linear (RPE: 254 74; TRIMP: 62 21; ZONE:123 31), intermittent (RPE: 360 63; TRIMP: 62 19;ZONE: 121 32) and tactical/game-play training modes (RPE: 670 177; TRIMP: 121 32; ZONE: 288 58). Significant (p 0.05) correlations were observed between perceptual and physiological training load models for each training type. The strongest correlations were apparent during the lineardrills (RPE-TRIMP: r = 0.53; RPE-ZONE: r = 0.75) and tactical/game-play conditioning (RPE-TRIMP: r = 0.60; RPEZONE:r = 0.63). Weaker correlations were evident during the intermittent on-court drills (RPE-TRIMP: r = 0.38; RPE-ZONE:r = 0.52). Conclusions: The present data support the agreement between RPE and heart rate methods to quantify training load during various modes of basketball conditioning. Notably, weaker correlations were observed between perceptual and physiological measures during on-court intermittent conditioning. This finding may be due to an increased perceptual demand relative to cardiovascular responses during the multi-directional, intermittent-focused drills performed during this training mode. Practical Applications: The use of either perceptual or physiological training load models by coaches and conditioning staff can be effectively used to monitor individual training demands in basketball team environments. If properly utilized, these practices may permit the development of more precise periodized conditioning plans as well as the prevention of overtraining syndrome in basketball players.






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National Strength and Conditioning Association



Peer Reviewed


Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Health; TBA Research Institute;

Era Eligible



Journal of strength and conditioning research.

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