The effect of overreaching on neuromuscular performance and wellness responses in Australian rules football athletes

Patrick G. Campbell*, Ian B. Stewart, Anita C. Sirotic, Geoffrey M. Minett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study seeks to evaluate the effect of periodized fluctuations in training load on wellness and psychological questionnaires, perceived exertion, performance, and neuromuscular measures in team-sport athletes. Thirteen amateur Australian rules football athletes completed 6 weeks of periodized training, consisting of 2-week normal training (NT), intensified training (IT), and taper training (TT). Training sessions were quantified using global positioning system devices, heart-rate, and session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE), with wellness (general soreness, sleep quality/quantity, readiness to train, fatigue, stress, mood, and motivation) questionnaires collected daily. Psychological (Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Athletes) and physical performance (countermovement jump, cycle ergometer peak power, 30-m sprint, and 2-km time trial) markers were measured after each training period. Perceived (sRPE) and mechanical loading were higher for IT than NT, and IT than TT (p, 0.03; d 5 0.65–25.34). Cycle ergometer peak power, 30-m sprint, 2-km time trial, and countermovement jump height showed reductions in performance after IT compared to initial testing (p, 0.02; d 5 0.51–1.46), with subsequent increases in performance after TT (p, 0.04; d 5 0.66–2.27). Average wellness was higher during NT compared to IT (p 5 0.005; d 5 1.11). Readiness to train did not significantly differ from NT to IT or TT (p, 0.55; d 5,0.59); however, readiness to train did improve during TT after the IT (p 5 0.01; d 5 1.05). The disturbances in performance, perceptual, and mood states may indicate a state of functional overreaching. The findings suggest that an averaged wellness score may be useful in potentially identifying overreaching. However, despite the popularity of wellness in monitoring systems, these measures overall demonstrated a limited capacity to differentiate between periodized fluctuations in load.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1530-1538
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


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