Different diagnostic tools in nonfunctional overreaching

Int J Sports Med. 2008 Jul;29(7):590-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-989264. Epub 2007 Nov 30.


The current diagnosis of overreaching and overtraining is based on exclusion. In the present paper, four possible confirmative tools have been examined in three female speed skaters between 16 and 19 years old. A nonfunctional overreached (NFO) athlete, an athlete who was recovering from NFO and a healthy athlete were examined. The NFO athlete showed high stress and low regeneration levels at the Recovery Stress Questionnaire for Athletes. The recovering athlete showed a more favorable profile, although she still showed higher stress and lower recovery than the control athlete. On the Profile of Mood States, the NFO athlete showed an unfavorable profile. The control athlete showed the typical iceberg profile. The recovering athlete showed a profile similar to sedentary individuals. Results on a reaction time task showed decreased performance under pressure for the NFO but not for the control and the recovering athlete. Hormonal reactions to two maximal exercise bouts also differed between the three subjects with an overreaction after the second exercise bout of the NFO athlete as the most remarkable finding. The Recovery Stress Questionnaire for Athletes, reaction times and hormonal reactions to exercise showed to be possible tools that can be used in the diagnostic procedure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Skating / physiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone