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The Effects of Training Volume and Competition on the Salivary Cortisol Concentrations of Olympic Weightlifters

Crewther, Blair T1; Heke, Taati2; Keogh, Justin W L2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181fb47f5
Original Research

Crewther, BT, Heke, T, and Keogh, JWL. The effects of training volume and competition on the salivary cortisol concentrations of Olympic weightlifters. J Strength Cond Res 25(1): 10-15, 2011-This study examined the effects of training volume and competition on the salivary cortisol (Sal-C) concentrations of Olympic weightlifters. Male (n = 5) and female (n = 4) Olympic weightlifters provided saliva samples across a 5-week experimental =period. The first aim was to assess the weekly effects of high (≥200 sets) and low (≤100 sets) training volume on Sal-C. The second aim was to compare Sal-C concentrations and 1 repetition maximum (1RM) performance during 2 simulated and 2 actual competitions. Performance was assessed using the snatch, clean and jerk, and the Olympic total lift. Data from each competition setting were pooled before analysis. There were no significant weekly changes in Sal-C levels (p > 0.05). The actual competitions produced higher (128-130%) Sal-C concentrations (p < 0.001) and superior 1RM lifts (1.9-2.6%) for the clean and jerk, and the Olympic total, than the simulated competitions (p < 0.05). Individual Sal-C concentrations before the simulated competitions were positively correlated to all of the 1RM lifts (r = 0.48-0.49, p < 0.05). In conclusion, actual competitions produced greater Sal-C responses than simulated competitions, and this appeared to benefit the 1RM performance of Olympic weightlifters. Individuals with higher Sal-C concentrations also tended to exhibit superior 1RM lifts during the simulated competitions. Given these findings, greater emphasis should be placed upon the monitoring of C to establish normative values, training standards and to assist with performance prediction.

Author Information

1Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom; and 2Sport Performance Research Institute New Zealand, School of Sport and Recreation, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

Address correspondence to Blair T. Crewther,

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association