Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2021) 20, 101 - 109   DOI:

Research article
Minimal Agreement between Internal and External Training Load Metrics across a 2-wk Training Microcycle in Elite Squash
Carl James1, , Aishwar Dhawan2, Timothy Jones1, Christopher Pok1, Vincent Yeo3, Olivier Girard4
Author Information
1 Institut Sukan Negara (National Sports Institute) Bukit Jalil Sport City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2 EDGE10 Group Ltd 10 D Printing House Yard, Hackney Road, London, UK
3 School of Sports, Health and Leisure, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore
4 School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science) The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia

Carl James
✉ Institute Sukan Negara, (National Sports Institute), Bukit Jalil Sport City, Sri Petaling 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Publish Date
Received: 22-10-2020
Accepted: 16-12-2020
Published (online): 01-03-2021
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This study investigated the relationships between internal and external training load metrics across a 2-week ‘in-season’ microcycle in squash. 134 on-court and 32 off-court ‘conditioning’ sessions were completed by fifteen elite squash players with an average (±SD) of 11 ± 3 per player. During every session, external load was captured using a tri-axial accelerometer to calculate Playerload; i.e., the instantaneous rate of change of acceleration across 3-dimensional planes. Internal load was measured using heart rate (HR), global (sRPE) and differential RPE (dRPE-Legs, dRPE-Breathing). Additionally, HR was used to calculate Banister’s, Edward’s and TEAM TRIMPs. Across 166 training sessions, Playerload was moderately correlated with TRIMP-Banister (r = 0.43 [95% CI: 0.29-0.55], p < 0.001) and TRIMP-Edwards (r = 0.50 [0.37-0.61], p < 0.001). Association of Playerload with TRIMP-TEAM (r = 0.24 [0.09-0.38], p = 0.001) was small. There was a moderate correlation between sRPE and Playerload (r = 0.46 [0.33-0.57], p < 0.001). Association of sRPE was large with TRIMP-Banister (r = 0.68 [0.59-0.76], p = 0.001), very large with TRIMP-Edwards (r = 0.79 [0.72-0.84], p < 0.001) and moderate with TRIMP-TEAM (r = 0.44 [0.31-0.56], p < 0.001). Both dRPE-Legs (r = 0.95 [0.93-0.96], p < 0.001) and dRPE-Breathing (r = 0.92 [0.89-0.94], p < 0.001) demonstrated nearly perfect correlations with sRPE and with each other (r = 0.91 [0.88-0.93], p < 0.001). Collection of both internal and external training load data is recommended to fully appreciate the physical demands of squash training. During a training microcycle containing a variety of training sessions, interpreting internal or external metrics in isolation may underestimate or overestimate the training stress a player is experiencing.

Key words: Squash, training load, accelerometry, RPE, heart rate

           Key Points
  • In elite squash, little agreement was observed between HR-based, internal load metrics and the accelerometer-derived, external metric Playerload during a 2-week training microcycle.
  • Across a squash training microcycle, interpreting internal or external loads in isolation, may underestimate or overestimate training load.
  • Differential RPE training loads did not reveal stronger relationships with other metrics than sRPE-TL alone, which may be appropriate surrogate for HR monitoring across a squash microcycle.
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