Salivary testosterone is related to self-selected training load in elite female athletes

C.J. Cook, C.M. Beaven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Testosterone has been related to improved acute neuromuscular performance in athletic populations. It is our contention that testosterone may also contribute to improved volitional motivation and, when monitored longitudinally, may provide one proxy marker for readiness to perform. Methods: Twelve female netball players provided saliva samples prior to five standardized training sessions in which they completed a maximal-distance medicine ball throw, and then 3 sets of bench press and then back squat using a self-selected load perceived to equal a 3-repetition maximum load. Additional repetitions were encouraged when possible and total voluntary workload was calculated from the product of the load lifted and repetitions performed. Results: Relative salivary testosterone levels as a group were correlated with bench press (r = 0.8399; p = 0.0007) and squat (r = 0.6703; p = 0.0171) self-selected workload, as well as maximal medicine ball throw performance (r = 0.7062; p = 0.0103). Conclusions: Individual salivary testosterone, when viewed relatively over time, demonstrated strong relationships with self-selected workloads during an in-season training period in female netball players. As such, daily variations in testosterone may provide information regarding voluntary training motivation and readiness to perform in elite athletic populations. Psychological and behavioral aspects of testosterone may have the potential to enhance training adaptation by complementing the known anabolic and permissive properties of testosterone. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-12
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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