Baseline Strength Can Influence the Ability of Salivary Free Testosterone to Predict Squat and Sprinting Performance


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Abstract

Crewther, BT, Cook, CJ, Gaviglio, CM, Kilduff, LP, and Drawer, S. Baseline strength can influence the ability of salivary free testosterone to predict squat and sprinting performance. J Strength Cond Res 26(1): 261–268, 2012—The objective of this study was to determine if salivary free testosterone can predict an athlete's performance during back squats and sprints over time and the influence baseline strength on this relationship. Ten weight-trained male athletes were divided into 2 groups based on their 1 repetition maximum (1RM) squats, good squatters (1RM > 2.0 × body weight, n = 5) and average squatters (1RM < 1.9 × body weight, n = 5). The good squatters were stronger than the average squatters (p < 0.05). Each subject was assessed for squat 1RM and 10-m sprint times on 10 separate occasions over a 40-day period. A saliva sample was collected before testing and assayed for free testosterone and cortisol. The pooled testosterone correlations were strong and significant in the good squatters (r = 0.92 for squats, r = −0.87 for sprints, p < 0.01), but not significant for the average squatters (r = 0.35 for squats, r = −0.18 for sprints). Cortisol showed no significant correlations with 1RM squat and 10-m sprint performance, and no differences were identified between the 2 squatting groups. In summary, these results suggest that free testosterone is a strong individual predictor of squat and sprinting performance in individuals with relatively high strength levels but a poor predictor in less strong individuals. This information can assist coaches, trainers, and performance scientists working with stronger weight-trained athletes, for example, the preworkout measurement of free testosterone could indicate likely training outcomes or a readiness to train at a certain intensity level, especially if real-time measurements are made. Our results also highlight the need to separate group and individual hormonal data during the repeated testing of athletes with variable strength levels.

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