Testosterone levels are predictors of multistage fitness test performance in young male and female hockey athletes

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Introduction & Aims: Steroid hormones are important regulators of physiological processes and variations in their levels have the potential to affect the components of physical performance, such as agility, speed, power and endurance. The aim of this study is to evaluate the capacity of testosterone, cortisol, progesterone and estradiol levels to predict physical test performance in young hockey athletes and to improve understanding of the influence that steroid hormones have on physical performance in male and female hockey athletes, both at the level of individual hormones and in combination with each other.

Methods: Between June 2013 and November 2014, saliva samples were collected from 25 male and 17 female hockey athletes and assayed for testosterone, cortisol, estradiol and progesterone levels. The athletes then completed a battery of tests, including tests of endurance, power and speed.

Results: Linear regression models identified negative predictors of multistage fitness test performance in males ( testosterone: multiple R = 0.38, multiple R2=0.14, p = 0.03, d=-0.82; progesterone: multiple R = 0.44, multiple R2=0.20, p = 0.01, d=-0.99 ) and females ( testosterone: multiple R = 0.41, multiple R2 = 0.17, p = 0.05, d=-0.89 ). Cortisol levels were identified as a negative predictor of 30-40m sprint speed ( multiple R = 0.42, multiple R2=0.18, p = 0.02, d=0.93 ) in females and a positive predictor of countermovement jump height ( multiple R = 0.49, R2 = 0.24, p = 0.02, d=1.11 ) in males.

Conclusions: Based on the results of this study the testosterone levels of young hockey athletes may assist in predicting performance in the multistage fitness test. In concert with other training strategies, coaches and their young athletes may consider including appropriate, non-prohibited/accepted strategies that reduce testosterone levels when endurance performance is important.


School of Science

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Conference Paper

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