n International SportMed Journal - Testosterone, cortisol, training frequency and playing time in elite basketball players : original research article

Volume 15, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1528-3356


The aims of this study were firstly, to describe the variation in total testosterone (TT) and cortisol (C) through the course of a complete season in elite male basketball players and secondly, to analyse their relation to training frequency and playing time.

Observational descriptive with repeated measures and non-randomised sampling.
Eight professional male basketball players (27.8 ± 4.9 years; 97.0 ± 9.5 kg; 197.2 ± 7.3 cm; 24.7 ± 1 BMI) participated in the study. Firstly, blood samples were collected just after the off season period. These values were considered as baseline. During the competitive season, samples were taken periodically every four to six weeks, in a resting state, always after 24-36 hours break following the last game played. Eight samples were collected from August to April.
TT concentration showed significant variations amongst blood samples: April vs. September (-4.4 nMol/l, p=0.010, =1.1), April vs. October (-4.9 nMol/l, p=0.004, =1.27) and April vs. February (-6.8 nMol/l, p=0.013, =2.08). TT did not correlate with playing time. C concentration and the TT/C ratio did not show any significant variation throughout the season and also did not correlate with playing time.
The effect of a basketball season can be reflected in TT. It is interesting to differentiate between the three phases of the season: 1) pre-season, 2) first two-thirds of the regular season and 3) last third of the regular season, where fatigue accumulation at a metabolic level occurs. TT could be an indicator of players' state, which would justify, in conjunction with other indicators, the necessity to optimise players' workload and to individually prevent overtraining.

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