Changes in choice reaction time during and after 8 days exhaustive cycling are not related to changes in physical performance

Twan ten Haaf*, Selma Van Staveren, Danilo Iannetta, Bart Roelands, Romain Meeusen, Maria F. Piacentini, Carl Foster, Leo Koenderman, Hein A.M. Daanen, Jos J. De Koning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Reaction time has been proposed as a training monitoring tool, but to date, results are equivocal. Therefore, it was investigated whether reaction time can be used as a monitoring tool to establish overreaching. Methods: The study included 30 subjects (11 females and 19 males, age: 40.8 [10.8] years, VO2max: 51.8 [6.3] mL/kg/min) who participated in an 8-day cycling event. The external exercise load increased approximately 900% compared with the preparation period. Performance was measured before and after the event using a maximal incremental cycling test. Subjects with decreased performance after the event were classified as functionally overreached (FOR) and others as acutely fatigued (AF). A choice reaction time test was performed 2 weeks before (pre), 1 week after (post), and 5 weeks after (follow-up), as well as at the start and end of the event. Results: A total of 14 subjects were classified as AF and 14 as FOR (2 subjects were excluded). During the event, reaction time at the end was 68 ms (95% confidence interval, 46-89) faster than at the start. Reaction time post event was 41 ms (95% confidence interval, 12-71) faster than pre event and follow-up was 55 ms faster (95% confidence interval, 26-83). The time by class interaction was not significant during (P = .26) and after (P = .43) the event. Correlations between physical performance and reaction time were not significant (all Ps < .30). Conclusions: No differences in choice reaction time between AF and FOR subjects were observed. It is suggested that choice reaction time is not valid for early detection of overreaching in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-433
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number4
Early online dateAug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Cognitive performance
  • Overreaching
  • Overtraining
  • Training monitoring


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