Research Topic

Applications of Motor Learning and Control Theories in Exercise and Sport

About this Research Topic

Over the last decades, exercise scientists have endeavoured to understand the mechanisms underpinning changes in motor behavior. In clinical settings, exercise-induced changes in motor behavior improve functionality in those with chronic diseases, and even in apparently healthy individuals.

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Over the last decades, exercise scientists have endeavoured to understand the mechanisms underpinning changes in motor behavior. In clinical settings, exercise-induced changes in motor behavior improve functionality in those with chronic diseases, and even in apparently healthy individuals. Within the field of strength and conditioning, a multitude of exercise interventions bring about chronic adaptations that may benefit physical fitness components. These result in changes to muscular strength, endurance, speed and agility, which, among others, contribute to enhanced sports performance. Studies have also examined the extent to which acute responses to strenuous conditioning activities impair physical performance in sport, with findings used to develop effective monitoring tools and recovery interventions to enhance athlete preparedness for training and competition.

The majority of studies conducted thus far have demonstrated the benefits of exercise prescription and monitoring for various populations, including those with clinical conditions, healthy individuals and athletes.


More recent studies have synergistically applied the principles of motor learning and control with exercise prescription and practice. For example, recent and ongoing work has been examining the influence of augmented feedback, focus of attention, and various task and environmental constraints on motor behavior to improve clinical health outcomes, or optimize performance in sport. In observational studies, impaired motor behavior has been explored to predict chronic disease, or that of key performance parameters that are sensitive to discriminate the level of athletes for team selection, talent detection and talent identification purposes. However, to date, it is unclear whether the type of motor behavior examined by studies translate to real-life situations. One method of optimizing the representativeness of study findings is to maintain 'action fidelity', which determines whether the change in motor behavior during experimental conditions transfers to activities of daily living, or competitive performance in sport.


This Research Topic encourages authors to submit their work based on the concept of representative task design, by examining motor behaviors that replicate activities of daily living in healthy individuals, those with chronic conditions, and/or athletic populations. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
• Clinical Populations - motor behavior tasks indicative of action fidelity, including sit-to stands from a chair, stepping over or walking around obstacles and stair climbing.
• Athletic Populations - sport-specific performance measures may be considered and may include reactive agility, change-of-direction capabilities specifically selected to replicate demands in a particular sport or speed and accuracy of throwing and kicking tasks.
• All Populations - interventions to examine changes in these motor behaviors, including the chronic effects of training interventions, the acute effect of exercise-induced stress, acute and chronic manipulation of task constraints (e.g., parachute or sled running, weighted vest), the effect of augmented feedback, and the effect of internal and external focus of attention or performance outcomes that predicts chronic conditions or discriminates the level of athletes in sports.


Keywords: Motor performance, Motor behavior, Action fidelity, Representative task design, Clinical condition, Sports, Athletes, Exercise, Training


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2022 Manuscript
27 June 2022 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2022 Manuscript
27 June 2022 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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