The main androgen, testosterone, affects a variety of parameters such as body composition, muscle metabolism and function, protein synthesis, and muscle mass.18,23.
These parameters are related to the ability to perform efficiently during exercise.23,35,39.
Furthermore, previous findings from different athletic populations indicate a linear relationship between maximal explosive force, 5 force production, 22 jumping and sprinting ability 8,30,32 and testosterone levels. The association between testosterone and exercise is bidirectional, i.e. testosterone affects exercise and is affected by it.
Testosterone response to exercise is a result of a combination of different factors such as volume, intensity, type of exercise, and training status of the subjects.
Objective of the Study
To examine the effects of three seasonal training programs, largely different in strength volume, on androgen levels and performance parameters in soccer players.
How the Study was Designed
67 soccer players, members of three different professional teams, participated in the study. The strength intensity of the training programs were assessed as high (for Team-A, n=23), moderate (for Team-B, n=22), and low (for Team-C, n=22). Blood samples were analyzed for total-testosterone, free-testosterone, and the metabolic product of activate testosterone 3a-androstendiol glucuronade (3a-Diol-G). Players were tested for maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), squad-jump (SJ), countermovement-jump (CMJ), 10m and 20m sprint performance prior at the beginning of the pre-season period, at the middle (mid-point), and at the end of the competition period (end-point).
What the Results Showed
All performance parameters increased significantly until the mid-point in all teams (p<0.001). However, performance was further increased only in Team-A only for jumping and sprinting ability between end-point vs mid-point (p<0.001). An effect of the training program of Team-A on TT levels was evident exhibiting significant differences between at all point-measurements (baseline/mid-point:p=0.024, baseline/end-point:p<0.001, mid/end-point:p=0.008), while a marginally significant effect (p=0.051) was detected within Team-B and a non-significant effect in Team-C. Similar results were obtained for 3a-Diol-G in Team-A (p=0.001) where significant differences were found between the end-point to both baseline (p=0.001) and mid-point (p=0.038). No differences were detectable for FT. A borderline significant negative correlation was observed between 3a-Diol-G and VO2max in Team-B at the mid-point. No other correlations were evident between performance and hormonal parameters.
- Findings suggest that the volume of strength training combined with intensive soccer training caused an elevation of circulating TT and 3a-Diol-G levels in parallel to the induction of performance capacity.
- It is our opinion that the elevation of endogenous androgens as a result of the volume of strength training indicates that the only method to improve athletic performance is hard training.
- There are no substitutes or shortcuts. If the organism needs more androgens it will produce them endogenously.
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