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

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Objective: To examine the effect of a physical treatment (speed, power, and strength [SPS] 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 (age = 25.9 [2.5] y, height = 186.1 [6.7] cm, and body mass = 104.1 [12.7] kg) participated in this study. Testing occurred across 2 d on 2 separate occasions (week 1 and week 2). On day 1 of both weeks, participants completed an SPS training session. On day 2 of both weeks, participants undertook a field-based rugby training session. In week 2, 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 2 before and after SPS and before rugby on day 2 (P < .05). In both weeks, T:C increased following SPS (P < .02, ES > 0.91 [0.13, 1.69]). T:C increased when the motivational presentation accompanied rugby training (P = .07, ES = 1.06 [0.27, 1.85]). Sal-C, not sal-T, drove changes in T:C (P < .001). Conclusions: Physical or psychosocial treatments may affect sal-T, sal-C, and T:C, and individual variation in responses to treatments may exist.

Serpell, Strahorn, and Colomer are with the ACT Brumbies, Bruce, ACT, Australia. Serpell, Strahorn, Colomer, McKune, Cook, and Pumpa are with the University of Canberra Research Inst for Sport and Exercise, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, Australia. Pumpa is also with Australian Rugby Union, Moore Park, NSW, Australia.

Serpell (ben.serpell@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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