Usefulness of free testosterone/cortisol ratio during a season of elite speed skating athletes

G. Banfi, M. Marinelli, G. S. Roi, V. Agape

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Free testosterone/cortisol ratio (FTCR) was used in eight elite speed skaters (five males, three females), during an eight-month season, to study the effectiveness of the hormonal parameter as a marker of the condition of overstrain and/or incomplete recovery. We did not find values lower than 0.35·10-3. We confirmed the reliability of the criterion of FTCR decrease of 30% or more to indicate temporary incomplete recovery from intensive training and residual weariness and consequently, of reduced effectiveness for competitive purposes; a formula was used in this case to calculate FTCR. When FTCR was calculated by using directly measured FT, we remarked that such threshold criterion could not be used and the significant decrease was of 18% or more. The major problem of FTCR is the limitation of its use to male athletes, although the trend found in females was similar to that presented in males. FTCR is a useful index in elite speed skaters: broader application of this index and further investigation are required to set testing times, to use direct measurement of free testosterone and, finally, to find an equivalent support for women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-379
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Free testosterone/cortisol ratio (FTCR)
  • Overtraining
  • Speed skating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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