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Rethinking Training to Exhaustion

Training to fatigue may impair motor learning.

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It’s common for athletes, musicians and other professionals to train repetitively to fatigue in seeking to improve their performance. When it comes to mastering a motor skill, however, new research shows that intensive repetition to the that subjects who had trained to fatigue experienced detrimental changes in motor skill learning, but not in performance of mentally demanding tasks.

“Our observations should be considered carefully when designing training protocols such as in sports and musical performance, as well as for rehabilitation programs,” said study author Pablo Celnik, PhD, director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The study was published in eLife (2019; doi:10.7554/eLife.40578).

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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