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Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000574
Original Investigation: PDF Only

The relationship between mid-week training measures of testosterone and cortisol concentrations and game outcome in professional rugby union matches.

Gaviglio, Christopher M.; Cook, Christian J.

Published Ahead-of-Print
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The aim of this study was to assess the response of salivary-free testosterone and cortisol concentrations across selected mid-week skill based training sessions and their association with subsequent match outcome 3 days later. Twenty-two rugby union players were assessed for salivary free-testosterone and cortisol concentrations before and after a mid-week training session over 6 consecutive weeks. The relative percentage change (response) in the testosterone and cortisol concentration and the testosterone to cortisol (T/C) ratio was also determined. Game-day analysis consisted of pre-match testosterone concentrations and match outcome. Data was pooled across the winning (n=3) and losing (n=3) outcomes. The mid-week pre-training T/C ratio was significantly lower (p<0.01) prior to a win than a loss and the increase in the preto post-T/C ratio before a win was significant (p<0.001). The increase in the pre- to post-testosterone concentration before a win was also shown to be significant (p<0.01). However, the relative changes in testosterone prior to games that were won were not statistically different to that of games lost (p>0.01). Significant relationships were also demonstrated between game day pre-testosterone concentrations and the mid-week cortisol response (r= -0.90, p=0.01) and mid-week T/C ratio response (r= 0.90, p=0.01). In conclusion, a mid-week measurement of the T/C ratio against a skill based training session appears to show some potential as an early indicator of subsequent successfully executed performances in competitive rugby union. If this work is subsequently validated, further monitoring of mid-week hormone concentrations in response to a mixed psychological-physical training session may assist with assessing competitive readiness leading up to competition.

Copyright (C) 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.



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