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Serum hormones and physical performance capacity in young boy athletes during a 1-year training period


Serum hormones and physical performance capacity in boy athletes (AG;n = 19) were investigated during a 1-year training period (between the ages of 11.6 and 12.6 years). Six young untrained boys served as the control group (CG). The mean serum testosterone concentration increased significantly in AG (P<0.05) following the training period from 2.92 nmol·l−1, SD 1.04 to 5.81 nmol·l−1, SD 1.33. Significant differences were not observed in the cortisol, sex hormone binding globulin and growth hormone levels during the follow-up period. The AG clearly increased speed (P<0.001), speed-strength (P<0.01-P<0.001) and anaerobic capacity (P<0.001) whereas CG had only slight increases (NS) in physical performance capacity during a 1-year period. During the last 6-month training period significant positive correlations (r=0.490–0.58;P<0.05 -P<0.01) were observed in AG between the relative changes in testosterone, testosterone: cortisol ratio and growth hormone and the relative performance change in speed, maximal isometric force and endurance, respectively. At the end of the period significant positive correlations were observed in all subjects between the level of testosterone and speed-strength (r=0.52–0.64;P<0.01 -P<0.001) and anaerobic capacity (r=0.49;P<0.05). It was concluded that an increase in anabolic activity with the synchronous training already has positive effects on trainability and physical performance capacity at an early stage in puberty.

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Correspondence to Antti Mero.

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Mero, A., Jaakkola, L. & Komi, P.V. Serum hormones and physical performance capacity in young boy athletes during a 1-year training period. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 60, 32–37 (1990).

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Key words

  • Serum hormone
  • Physical performance
  • Muscle strength
  • Training