This study investigated salivary testosterone (sal‐T) variation across the menstrual cycle in female athletes, at different competitive levels, and its association with motivation and neuromuscular power. Six elite and 16 non‐elite female athletes were monitored on days 7 (D7), 14 (D14), and 21 (D21) across 3 menstrual cycles for basal sal‐T concentrations and self‐appraised motivation to train and compete. Two further measures were taken on D7, D14, and D21 across 2 menstrual cycles: (1) the sal‐T response (delta change) to a physical stress test and (2) peak power (PP) response to a 6‐second cycle sprint following a post‐activation potentiation (PAP) stimulus. Basal sal‐T concentrations increased by 17 ± 27% from D7 to D14 before decreasing by −25 ± 43% on D21 (P < .05), but this result was biased by elite females with higher sal‐T (>102%) who showed larger menstrual changes. Motivation, sal‐T reactivity to stress, and the PP responses to a PAP stimulus also varied by testing day (P < .05), in parallel with basal sal‐T and in favor of the elite group. Furthermore, stronger within‐subject relationships (P < .001) between basal sal‐T and motivation emerged in the elites (r = .70‐.75) vs the non‐elite group (r = .41‐.50). In conclusion, menstrual cycle changes in sal‐T were more obvious in high‐performing female athletes with higher sal‐T concentrations. This was accompanied by greater training motivation, a more pronounced sal‐T response to a physical stressor and greater neuromuscular power in the elite group. These results support observations that female athletes with higher T are more represented at elite levels of performance.
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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