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Indeed association does not equal prediction: the never-ending search for the perfect acute:chronic workload ratio
  1. Billy T Hulin1,2,
  2. Tim J Gabbett3,4
  1. 1 School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2 Football Department, St. George Illawarra Dragons Rugby League Football Club, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Gabbett Performance Solutions, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4 Institute for Resilient Regions, University of Southern Queensland, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Billy T Hulin, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia; billyhulin{at}

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Let’s get something straight

We recently demonstrated associations between workload and injury.1 2 Regrettably, in these manuscripts, we used the words ‘predict’ and ‘predictive’ within the titles. Although we clearly used more appropriate language throughout these manuscripts, the titles of our work have resulted in a misconception that we believe the acute:chronic workload ratio can predict injury with some certainty.3 4 Our purpose for investigating workload–injury relationships in these studies was to identify workloads that practitioners could use (along with other information) to make informed decisions in regards to when injury risk may be increased or decreased—it was not our intention to imply that one variable could predict injury with crystal ball-like accuracy. We discussed at length that other variables will undoubtedly also have associations with injury,1 2 and that good athlete monitoring involves consideration of factors in addition to workload.5 However, we feel that these views may have been dismissed and, consequently, our purpose here is to provide novel perspectives and some clarity and context on the practical applications of the acute:chronic workload ratio.

An acute:chronic workload ratio of 1.5 is not the magical boundary where all training should cease and desist

The acute:chronic workload ratio should never be viewed in isolation. The size of an athlete’s chronic workload is …

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  • Contributors BTH drafted the original version of this work and TG provided improvements to future versions.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests TG works as a consultant to several high performance organisations, including sporting teams, industry, military and higher education institutions. He serves in a voluntary capacity as Senior Associate Editor of BJSM.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.