The potential influence of perception of achievement on performance in volitional time-to-exhaustion cycle ergometer trials

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The purpose of this short communication was to report the findings of an investigation of the potential influence of spontaneous goal setting on subjects undertaking maximal fitness testing. Subjects were asked to complete a single incremental volitional time-to-exhaustion cycle ergometer trial. The final minute of the trial, after the last increase in increment in resistance, was broken down into six 10-second intervals and a frequency count made of how many subjects stopped within each interval. A chi-square test was used to determine that there was a significant difference between the expected and the observed frequencies (p <0.05), with 45% of subjects stopping in the first interval (0–10 seconds) and 0% within the last interval (51–60 seconds). Reflections of the subjects revealed that those who were close to exhaustion but near to reaching the next increment of resistance were more likely to “push on.” However, despite having been told to keep going as long as they could, subjects upon reaching that increment stopped almost immediately as they believed they could not manage to reach the next increment. This suggests a potential psychological element related to goal achievement that influences performance in incremental volitional time-to-exhaustion cycle ergometer trials. Practically, this means that the information participants have available on which to base goals (level of increment, time, etc.) needs to be minimized to prevent spontaneous goal setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1546–1548
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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