BACKGROUND: Collegiate women’s gymnastics is an intense, monotonous, and injury-prone sport. Gymnasts are subjected to substantial physiological and psychological stress. Evaluation of external training loads via accelerometry and the associated internal loads through subjective ratings of stress are commonplace in field sports but are absent in collegiate gymnastics. Thus, the purpose of this study was to quantify external and internal preseason training loads in a NCAA Division I women’s gymnastics team, while also attempting to determine their usefulness and practicality. METHODS: Eighteen women from the same NCAA Division 1 team volunteered over four preseason training periods (general prep 1 (GP1), general prep 2 (GP2), specific prep 1, SP1, and specific prep 2 (SP2)). External load was quantified with Catapult Sports accelerometers where Player Load (PL), Player Load per minute (PL/min), and Inertial Movement Analysis (IMA) were specifically examined via repeated measures ANOVA. The Short Recovery-Stress Scale (SRSS) was completed daily by all participants along with a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS) for both ratings of sleep and total soreness to calculate Pearson’s r coefficients between all internal and external load metrics. RESULTS: PL, PL/min, and IMA were significantly correlated with one another (r = .551 to .986, p < .001 for all measures). Mental stress was highly associated with an athlete’s perception of total stress (r = .843, p < .001). Physical stress was the strongest predictor of soreness ratings (r = .460, p < .001). Mental recovery had the strongest correlation with overall recovery (r = .809, p < .001). PL during GP2 was higher than SP1 (642.1 ± 17.7 vs. 574.2 ± 15.2, p = 0.019) and SP2 (522.4 ± 17.0, p < 0.001), while SP1 was greater than SP2 (p = 0.012). There were significant correlations between external and internal load measures. CONCLUSIONS: External and internal load monitoring may individually be valuable in women’s collegiate gymnastics despite not showing a consistent association with each other. Future research should evaluate the effects of academic major, menstrual cycle influence, and nutritional approach within this population. Subjective ratings of stress, recovery, sleep, and soreness offer key insights for monitoring collegiate gymnasts, however, accelerometry’s practicality is yet undetermined when considering the cost to benefit ratio of these measures.

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