Salivary Testosterone and Cortisol Concentrations, and Psychological Overtraining Scores as Indicators of Overtraining Syndromes among Elite Soccer Players

Mehdi Kargarfard, Ehsan Amiri, Ina Shaw, Ardalan Shariat, Brandon S. Shaw


Overreaching (short-term overtraining) and overtraining syndrome (OTS) are caused by a chronic imbalance between training and recovery and can lead to prolonged fatigue and decrements in athletic performance. Though research on OTS has increased greatly over the last decade, there is still a lack of consensus about its etiology and a precise diagnosis of its occurrence. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between psychological scores and OTS markers in elite soccer players. Three samples of unstimulated saliva (2 ml) were taken on rest days (8:00 am, 11:00 am, and 5:00 pm) from 30 elite male soccer players (age: 24.1±3.8 years (mean±SD)) and analyzed for cortisol and testosterone. They were also asked to complete the Societe Francaise de Medecine du Sport (SFMS) overtraining questionnaire. Results of zero-order correlation indicated that the SFMS overtraining scores had a significant positive correlation with cortisol concentrations at 8:00 am (r = 0.66; p<0.001), 11:00 am (r = 0.62; p<0.001), and 5:00 pm (r = 0.40; p< 0.05), mean cortisol concentrations of the entire day (r = 0.60; p<0.001). Psychological overtraining scores were also positively correlated with testosterone concentrations at 8:00 am (r = 0.39; p=0.015) and 5:00 pm (r = 0.37; p< 0.05), but negatively correlated with the T/C ratio at 8:00 am (r = -0.38; p=0.020). It should be concluded that the SFMS overtraining questionnaire may be considered as a cost-effective and useful tool for monitoring (and thus preventing) overtraining in soccer players.


Anabolic; Catabolic; Functional overreaching; Overtraining syndromes; Psychological overtraining

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