The wide world of sports has grown tremendously over the past 50 years. Athletes of all kinds are capable of performing at levels we never could have imagined in the past. Sub 10 second 100 meter dashes, marathons in just over 2 hours, and 1,000 pound back squats are just a few of the examples we can point toward.

Just as these athletes have improved tremendously, so too have our efforts to monitor their progress. This is especially true in the realm of endurance sports where different models of load, volume, and intensity quantification have been used to guide training efforts. Even on the strength side of things, coaches and athletes have turned to tracking load over the course of a training cycle. This allows us to gain insight into what level of work may be best during different times of a given cycle.

But is this enough data to really get a full picture of what is going in under the hood? Volume and intensity offer a somewhat one dimensional look at how the athlete might be responding to their training stimulus. They provide only a quantitative representation of things. This leaves the qualitative side of the equation left unrepresented. In truth, both factors need to be taken into account in order to offer the best prescription. While there are many ways to assess and monitor qualitative athlete data, the sports science techniques mentioned in this article may be ones you want to give a try.


Heart Rate and HRV

It is obvious that our hearts are absolutely crucial to our efforts as athletes. In exercise physiology, the focus is often on how much blood the heart can pump out to the body as it represents the total capacity for oxygen delivery. For acute performance considerations, this is an important concept to track and measure. However, if we want to monitor the way an athlete is responding to a given exercise load, we don’t actually have to get so complicated.

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