Scheduled for Poster Session: Research Across the Disciplines I, Thursday, April 2, 2009, 12:45 PM - 2:15 PM, Tampa Convention Center: Exhibit Hall RC Poster Sessions

Detecting Overtraining in Athletes With a Finger Tap Test

Kevin Haglund, National Sports Center, Fridley, MN and Bridget A. Duoos, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN


Identifying fatigue and overtraining symptoms in normal, healthy athletes frequently is done with a variety of measures, many of them invasive. The purpose of this study was to determine if the non-invasive finger tap test detects Central Nervous System (CNS) fatigue and overtraining caused by high intensity workouts.


Fourteen Division III male collegiate sprinters and jumpers (M age = 20.4 years, SD = 1.34; M height = 181.6 cm, SD = 4.8; M weight = 78.8 kg, SD = 9.9) performed the finger tap test prior to daily track practice for two weeks. When in a seated position with the arm resting on a table top, the dominant hand index finger was used to tap as fast as possible for ten seconds on a Lafayette Adult Finger Tapper (Model 32726). During each testing session, the previous day's workout was recorded and athletes provided a one-word descriptor of their perceived physical fatigue level. The level of difficulty of the day's workout was based on a percentage of the athlete's best race time (BRT). A high intensity workout was completed at 90% or greater of the runner's BRT; a medium intensity workout between 70% to 90% of BRT; and a low intensity workout was considered less than 70% of the BRT.


A paired samples t test revealed a significant difference at the .05 level between the number of taps athletes performed the day after an easy workout and the day after a hard workout. No significant differences were shown for recorded taps between post-easy workout days or between post-hard workout days.


This study does suggest that CNS fatigue may be affected by workout difficulty and measured by using the non-invasive finger tap test. Further research is needed with an increased number of subjects and testing days.

Keyword(s): coaching, exercise/fitness/physical activity, research

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