The primary purpose of this study was to examine, using meta-analytical measures, whether research into the performance of whole-body, psychomotor tasks following moderate and heavy exercise demonstrates an inverted-U effect. A secondary purpose was to compare the effects of acute exercise on tasks requiring static maintenance of posture versus dynamic, ballistic skills. Moderate intensity exercise was determined as being between 40% and 79% maximum power output (ẆMAX) or equivalent, while ≥ 80% ẆMAX was considered to be heavy. There was a significant difference (Zdiff = 4.29, p = 0.001, R2 = 0.42) between the mean effect size for moderate intensity exercise (g = 0.15) and that for heavy exercise size (g = − 0.86). These data suggest a catastrophe effect during heavy exercise. Mean effect size for static tasks (g = − 1.24) was significantly different (Zdiff = 3.24, p = 0.001, R2 = 0.90) to those for dynamic/ballistic tasks (g = − 0.30). The result for the static versus dynamic tasks moderating variables point to perception being more of an issue than peripheral fatigue for maintenance of static posture. The difference between this result and those found in meta-analyses examining the effects of acute exercise on cognition shows that, when perception and action are combined, the complexity of the interaction induces different effects to when cognition is detached from motor performance.