Training strategies of 10,074 athletes from 121 countries based on human development index in early COVID-19 lockdown

Olivier Galy, Jad Adrian Washif, Guillaume Wattelez, Abdulaziz Farooq, Olivier Hue, Øyvind Sandbakk, Christopher Martyn Beaven, Stephen Seiler, Ding Ding, David B Pyne, Karim Chamari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to investigate relationships between changes in training practices and human development index (HDI) levels, and identify strategies employed by athletes who consistently maintained their training quantity during the first 100 days of the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 10,074 athletes (5290 amateur and 4787 professional athletes from 121 countries) completed an online survey between 17 May to 5 July 2020. We explored their training practices, including specific questions on training frequency, duration and quantity before and during lockdown (March-June 2020), stratified according to the human development index (HDI): low-medium, high, or very high HDI. During the COVID-19 lockdown, athletes in low-medium HDI countries focused on innovative training. Nevertheless, women and amateur athletes experienced a substantial reduction in training activity. Performance-driven athletes and athletes from higher HDI indexed countries, were likely to have more opportunities to diversify training activities during lockdowns, facilitated by the flexibility to perform training away from home. Factors such as lockdown rules, socioeconomic environment, and training education limited training diversification and approaches, particularly in low-medium and high HDI countries. Athletes (amateurs and professionals) who maintained the quantity of training during lockdown appeared to prioritize basic cardiovascular and strength training, irrespective of HDI level. Modifying training and fitness programs may help mitigate the decrease in training activities during lockdowns. Customized training prescriptions based on gender, performance, and HDI level will assist individuals to effectively perform and maintain training activities during lockdowns, or other challenging (lockdown-like) situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2024


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