Avoiding Program Induced Cumulative Overload (PICO)
Date of this Version
This article defines the concept of program-induced cumulative overload (PICO), provides examples, and advises ways to mitigate the adverse effects. PICO is the excessive cumulative physical workload that can be imparted to military personnel by a military training program with an embedded physical training component. PICO can be acute (accumulating within a single day) or chronic (accumulating across the entirety of the program) and results in adverse outcomes for affected personnel, including detrimental fatigue, performance degradation, injuries, or illness. Strategies to mitigate PICO include focusing administration and logistic practices during the development and ongoing management of a trainee program and implementing known musculoskeletal injury prevention strategies. More training is not always better, and trainers need to consider the total amount of physical activity that military personnel experience across both operational training and physical training if PICO is to be mitigated.