American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2021, 9(1), 13-23
DOI: 10.12691/ajssm-9-1-4
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Influence of Training-induced Testosterone and Cortisol Changes on Skeletal Muscle and Performance in Elite Junior Athletes

Janel Bailey1, , Rachel Irving1, Paula Dawson2, Dialo-Rudolph Brown1 and Eon Campbell1

1Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Biochemistry Section, University of the West Indies, Mona, St. Andrew, Jamaica

2Department of Surgery, University of the West Indies, Mona, St. Andrew, Jamaica

Pub. Date: December 16, 2021

Cite this paper:
Janel Bailey, Rachel Irving, Paula Dawson, Dialo-Rudolph Brown and Eon Campbell. Influence of Training-induced Testosterone and Cortisol Changes on Skeletal Muscle and Performance in Elite Junior Athletes. American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2021; 9(1):13-23. doi: 10.12691/ajssm-9-1-4


This study aimed to investigate the influence of testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) on Skeletal Muscle Markers (SMM) at each phase of a track and field macrocycle. On a secondary basis, we also sought to determine whether C or T moderates the relationship between SMM and performance. Twenty-eighth (28) elite junior sprint athletes (15.48 ±1.89 years), and 13 non-athletic (16.15 ±1.51 years), age and gender-matched controls participated in this study. Isometric muscle strength (MS) and muscle thickness (MTH) were considered SMM. Salivary C and T levels, MS and MTH were collected between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m. before training sessions, twice during the preparatory phase [baseline (T1) and midway into the specific preparation period (T2)] and twice in competition phase [midway point of pre-competition (T3) and midway of the major competition period (T4)]. Performance data were collected during the competition phase only. No significant improvements in SMM were observed. T and T/C ratio significantly increased (p<0.05) across the season, while C levels increased relative to baseline only. While T levels did not significantly predict SMM at any phase, C levels significantly explained (p<0.05) a 60% and 74% variance in MTH and performance respectively. However, neither C nor T significantly moderated the relationship between SMM and performance. These findings suggest that raising T levels across a season may be more indicative of a response to training load, rather than a reflection of skeletal muscle adaptation. While training-induced C, which was demonstrated to have a greater influence on SMM is more sensitive to muscle function changes and performance compared to testosterone.

testosterone cortisol skeletal muscle hormones performance macrocycle junior athletes sprint muscle adaptation

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