Assessing the Hormone Response to High Intensity Exercise and Identifying Associations with Performance

  • Rebecca Toone

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The aim of this programme of research was to add to the existing body of knowledge on the measurement of certain hormones in relation to exercise training, the response to high intensity training, and their potential influence on short-term performance. The initial studies demonstrated agreement between venous and capillary concentrations of an array of hormones, and agreement between venous and saliva concentrations of testosterone and cortisol following scaling of saliva concentrations, suggesting suitability of use in an applied exercise setting. In addition, to ensure accurate measurement of steroid hormone concentrations in saliva, it was shown that samples should be refrigerated immediately, transferred to a freezer within 24 h of collection, and analysed within 28 days. Assessment of the response to two exercise bouts of a different type within the same day indicated that it could be beneficial to perform resistance training in the afternoon preceded by interval exercise in the morning in order to stimulate a hormonal milieu that may be more conducive to stimulating muscle protein turnover. The robust increases seen in testosterone and cortisol following interval exercise performed in the morning in that study were also observed in the same cycling sprint interval protocol performed in females. In this study, the magnitude of change in DHT concentration was related to sprint cadence. In investigating the potential acute effects of hormones on performance, the penultimate study demonstrated a positive association between affect as an indicator mood and percentage testosterone concentration during high intensity cycling. Conversely, in the final study, no postactivation potentiation effect was observed to different exercise stimuli, thus no association was observed between hormone concentrations and strength and power performance. These data may suggest that the acute short-term effects of hormone concentrations on performance may be more related to mood and behaviour in the context of this research.
Date of Award13 Oct 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorKeith Stokes (Supervisor) & Dylan Thompson (Supervisor)

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