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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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 female/19 male, age: 40.8±10.8 y, VO2max: 51.8±6.3 ml/kg/min) who participated in an 8-day cycling event. The external exercise load increased approximately 900% compared to 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), 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: Fourteen 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% CI [46, 89]) faster than at the start. Reaction time post event was 41 ms (95% CI [12, 71]) faster than pre, and follow-up 55 ms faster (95% CI [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 p>.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 date5 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Overtraining
  • Cognitive performance
  • Overreaching
  • Training monitoring
  • Humans
  • Bicycling/physiology
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance/physiology
  • Choice Behavior/physiology
  • Exercise Test
  • Reaction Time/physiology
  • Physical Conditioning, Human
  • Fatigue/physiopathology
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Physical Fitness

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