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Characteristics of optimal loading and suboptimal loading

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In this infographic we detail the characteristics that you must take into account when trying to apply optimal loading principles in your practice. It is also important to consider what suboptimal loading is.

These characteristics are…

Optimal loading

  • Directed to appropriate tissues.
  • Loading through functional ranges.
  • Appropriate blend of compressive, tensile and shear loading.
  • Variability in magnitude, direction, duration and intensity.
  • Includes neural overload.
  • Tailored to individual characteristics.
  • Functional.

Suboptimal loading

  • Non-specific generalised loading.
  • Loading through limited ranges of motion.
  • Loading exclusively in a single manner.
  • Constant, unidirectional load.
  • Minimum neural stimulus.
  • Generic, non-individualised.
  • Non-functional, isolated segmental loading.
optimal loading in physiotherapy


– Glasgow, P., Phillips, N., & Bleakley, C. (2015). Optimal loading: Key variables and mechanisms. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 0(0), 1-2. Doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2014-094443

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Jorge Rodriguez

Physiotherapist, Member of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), MSc Health Care Technology (cum laude) at Tallinn University of Technology, Exercise Prescription Expert and Social Media Expert. Founder and editor at lafisioterapia.net. Passionate about dissemination in Physiotherapy and health promotion, with special interest in digital tools as a way to improve quality of life.