The aim of this study is to explore the relationships between internal and external load measures in American football. Thirty football players wore a portable integrated monitor unit for 10 weeks during the fall football season. Relationships between internal and external load measurements were determined. Internal load consisted of heart rate zones and heart rate-derived measures and session Ratings of Perceived Exertion (sRPE). External load consisted of distance in different speed zones, total distance traveled, and accelerations. There were many significant positive relationships, but the meaningful relationships (r
> 0.5) were between heart rate-derived measures of load (Training Impulse and heart rate reserve) and low-intensity movement and total distance. Only accelerations between 1 and 1.99 m·s−2
were moderately correlated to heart rate-derived internal load. RPE values alone did not correlate strong enough with any of the measure but sRPE training load (sRPE-TL) correlated to most external values. Overall, moderate correlations were present between heart rate-derived internal load to total distance and lower intensity movement. sRPE-TL values had high correlations but were highly dependent on duration, not perceived exertion. When addressing load in American football, duration of the session is a key component in determining internal load as HR data and sRPE alone do not correlate highly with external loads.
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