Purpose: This study investigated the effect of training mode on the relationships between measures of training load in professional rugby league players. Methods: Five measures of training load (internal: individualized training impulse, session rating of perceived exertion; external—body load, high-speed distance, total impacts) were collected from 17 professional male rugby league players over the course of two 12-week pre-season periods. Training was categorized by mode (small-sided games, conditioning, skills, speed, strongman, and wrestle) and subsequently subjected to a principal component analysis. Extraction criteria were set at an eigenvalue of greater than one. Modes that extracted more than one principal component were subjected to a varimax rotation. Results: Small-sided games and conditioning extracted one principal component, explaining 68% and 52% of the variance, respectively. Skills, wrestle, strongman, and speed extracted two principal components explaining 68%, 71%, 72%, and 67% of the variance respectively. Conclusions: In certain training modes the inclusion of both internal and external training load measures explained a greater proportion of the variance than any one individual measure. This would suggest that in those training modes where two principal components were identified, the use of only a single internal or external training load measure could potentially lead to an underestimation of the training dose. Consequently, a combination of internal and external load measures is required during certain training modes.
Abt, G., Earle, K., Marshall, P., Nevill, A., & Weaving, D. (2014). Combining internal- and external-training-load measures in professional rugby league. International journal of sports physiology and performance : IJSPP, 9(6), 905-912. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2013-0444