A 7-week follow-up study of the behaviour of testosterone and cortisol during the competition period in rowers

  • A. Urhausen
  • T. Kullmer
  • W. Kindermann


Nine rowers (six men of the regional and three women of the national top class) participated in the study. During 7 consecutive weeks of the competition period serum testosterone (T), SHBG, cortisol (C) and urea were determined at the same time every morning under fasting conditions. From the concentrations of T and SHBG the free testosterone fraction (T/SHBG) was calculated, and from the concentrations of T and C the ratio of T/C was derived. The object of the investigation was to gather information on a potentially altered anabolic-catabolic hormone relationship dependent upon the intensity of the individual training periods. All rowers showed a continuous decrease in T, T/SHBG and T/C during the observation period. A week of regenerative training halted the decrease. In two of the oarsmen who discontinued their training after 2 and 3 weeks respectively, T, T/SHBG and T/C showed a normalization in the following weeks. In all subjects the concentrations of urea increased during the first 2 weeks and decreased during the subsequent weeks of intense training and competition. The findings suggest an increase in catabolic activity in periods of intensive physical strain, including competitions. Regenerative phases of training seem to reduce the anabolic-catabolic imbalance.

Key words

Cortisol Testosterone Intense training Regeneration Overtraining 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Urhausen
    • 1
  • T. Kullmer
    • 1
  • W. Kindermann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sports and Performance MedicineUniversity of SaarlandSaarbrückenGermany

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