The Effect of Speed, Power and Strength Training, and a Group Motivational Presentation on Physiological Markers of Athlete Readiness

A Case Study in Professional Rugby

Benjamin G Serpell, Joshua Strahorn, Carmen Colomer, Andrew McKune, Christian Cook, Kate Pumpa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: This study examined the effect of a physical treatment (speed, power and strength training) and psychosocial treatment (group motivational presentation) on salivary testosterone (sal-T), salivary cortisol (sal-C), and sal-T to sal-C ratio (T:C) in professional rugby.

METHODS: Fourteen male rugby players aged 25.9 ± 2.5 years, height 186.1 ± 6.7 cm, and body mass 104.1 ± 12.7 kg participated in this study. Testing occurred across two days on two separate occasions (week one and week two). On day one of both weeks participants completed a speed, power and strength (SPS) training session. On day two of both weeks participants undertook a field-based rugby training session. In week two participants underwent an additional treatment in the form of a motivational presentation given by a respected former player before the rugby session. Saliva was collected before and after SPS training and before and after the rugby session and was assayed for testosterone and cortisol.

RESULTS: No differences were found between weeks for sal-T at any time point, but sal-C was higher in week two before and after SPS, and before rugby on day two (p < 0.05). Both weeks, T:C increased following SPS (p < 0.02, ES > 0.91 (0.13, 1.69)). T:C increased when the motivational presentation accompanied rugby training (p = 0.07, ES = 1.06 (0.27,1.85)). Sal-C drove changes in T:C (p < 0.001), not sal-T.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that physical or psychosocial treatments may affect sal-T, sal-C and T:C; and individual variation in responses to treatments may exist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-129
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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