Effect of physical and psychosocial interventions on hormone and performance outcomes in professional rugby union players

a systematic review

Joshua Strahorn, Benjamin Serpell, Andrew McKune, Kate Pumpa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This systematic review investigates the acute effects of physical or psychosocial interventions on testosterone and cortisol responses in elite male rugby union players, and the subsequent association with physical performance areas (e.g. strength, power, sprint performance) or key performance indicators (e.g. coach-identified skills). Medline (via EBSCO), SPORTDiscus, Web of Science, Informit, Proquest, Cochrane and Scopus were searched for relevant articles. Nine articles met the inclusion criteria, with six articles examining the effect of speed, strength or power training, and the remaining three psychosocial interventions. Quality assessment of the articles as determined by their PEDro score was either six or seven out of eleven. This review found that both physical and psychosocial interventions can alter testosterone and cortisol, and physical performance areas important for rugby union are affected by these changes. The limited literature in the field supports the notion that physical interventions of short duration and high intensity, and psychosocial interventions that create a positive environment may elicit a hormonal response that is associated with favourable performance outcomes. Studies which reported on psychosocial interventions suggest that testosterone and cortisol may be altered in elite rugby players without metabolic stress, something of great interest to elite athletes and coaches who are looking to elicit a performance advantage without increasing athlete load. Overall this review identified that when the testosterone responses to an intervention is notably greater than cortisol, favourable outcomes are likely. Further research is required to improve our understanding on how to best manipulate training to induce these favourable changes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3158-3169
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Volume31
Issue number11
Early online dateJun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Football
Hydrocortisone
Testosterone
Hormones
Athletes
Physiological Stress
Research
Mentoring

Cite this

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