Purpose: The psychobiological model of endurance performance proposes that perception of effort is the ultimate determinant of endurance performance. Therefore, any physiological or psychological factor affecting perception of effort will affect endurance performance. Accordingly this novel study investigated the effects of a frequently used psychological strategy, motivational self-talk (ST), on rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and endurance performance.
Methods: In a randomized between groups pre-test - post-test design, 24 participants (mean +/- SD age 24.6 +/- 7.5 years; V[spacing dot above]O2max 52.3 +/- 8.7 ml[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1) performed two constant-load (80% peak power output) cycling time to exhaustion tests (TTE), punctuated by a two week ST intervention or a control phase.
Results: Group (ST vs. Control) x test (Pre-test vs. Post-test) mixed model ANOVA's revealed that ST significantly enhanced TTE from pre-test to post-test (637 +/- 210 s vs. 750 +/- 295 s, p < 0.05) with no change in the control group (486 +/- 157 s vs. 474 +/- 169 s). Moreover, a group x test x iso-time (0%, 50%, 100%) mixed model ANOVA revealed a significant interaction for RPE, with follow-up tests showing that motivational self-talk significantly reduced RPE at 50% iso-time (7.3 +/- 0.6 vs. 6.4 +/- 0.8, p < 0.05), with no significant difference in the control group (6.9 +/- 1.9 vs. 7.0 +/- 1.7).
Conclusion: This study is the first to demonstrate that ST significantly reduces RPE and enhances endurance performance. The findings support the psychobiological model of endurance performance and illustrate that psychobiological interventions designed to specifically target favorable changes in perception of effort are beneficial to endurance performance. Consequently this psychobiological model offers an important and novel perspective for future research investigations.
(C) 2013 American College of Sports Medicine