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Does mental fatigue influences how hard the session feels in Olympic weightlifting?

Summary of a comparison of mental fatigue and exertion between Olympic-level closed skill atheletes (weightlifters, track & field athletes) and open skill athletes (basketball and volleyball players).

Who

28 elite Olympic weightlifters and track and field athletes (closed skill group; females, males) and 27 elite basketball and volleyball athletes (open skill group; 27 females) during typical training week, 5 months before the Olympics (Australia).

Design

Observational cohort study

Outcome measures

  • self-reported mental fatigue [VAS score]
  • self-reported session’s rating of perceived exertion (sRPE)
  • duration of training

Main results

Does fatigue influences how hard the session feels in Olympic weightlifting? - Infographic

  • 409 training sessions were analysed
  • mental fatigue was significantly higher in open skill athletes (e.g. basketball) than in closed skill athletes (e.g. weightlifting) both for individual sessions and over the week
  • sRPE was significantly higher in open skill athletes (e.g. basketball) than in closed skill athletes (e.g. weightlifting) for individual sessions
  • mental fatigue was correlated with sRPE only for open skill athletes (e.g., basketball)
  • sRPE was correlated with training duration in open skill (small correlation) and closed skill (moderate correlation)
  • whole week’s total sRPE was correlated with mental fatigue (moderate correlation) with 125mm-increase in total mental fatigue VAS over a training week icreasing sRPE by 3.75 over a week.
  • duration of training had small effect on an individual session’s exertion rating but not on a week’s ratings.

Take home message

For a clinician
Mental fatigue influenced perceived exertion accross the week but only for elite Olympic-level open-skill athletes (basketball, volleyball) not for weightliters. Session's rating of perceived exertion was correlated with session's duration for all athletes.
For a parent
Mental fatigue did not influence how hard the session felt in Olympic weightlifters.
For an athlete
Mental fatigue did not influence how hard the session felt in Olympic weightlifters.

Original article

Coyne JO, Coutts AJ, Newton RU, Haff GG. The Influence of Mental Fatigue on Sessional Ratings of Perceived Exertion in Elite Open and Closed Skill Sports Athletes. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2021 Apr 1;35(4):963-9.

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