Monday, October 3, 2011

Should You Watch Action Movies Before Going to the Gym?

Showing athletes videos that were erotic, aggressive or related to training significantly improved strength in a subsequent workout:

Previous studies have shown that visual images can produce rapid changes in testosterone concentrations. We explored the acute effects of video clips on salivary testosterone and cortisol concentrations and subsequent voluntary squat performance in highly trained male athletes (n = 12). Saliva samples were collected on 6 occasions immediately before and 15 minutes after watching a brief video clip (approximately 4 minutes in duration) on a computer screen. The watching of a sad, erotic, aggressive, training motivational, humorous or a neutral control clip was randomised. Subjects then performed a squat workout aimed at producing a 3 repetition maximum (3RM) lift. Significant (P < 0.001) relative (%) increases in testosterone concentrations were noted with watching the erotic, humorous, aggressive and training videos (versus control and sad), with testosterone decreasing significantly (versus control) after the sad clip. The aggressive video also produced an elevated cortisol response (% change) and more so than the control and humorous videos (P < 0.001). A significant (P < 0.003) improvement in 3RM performance was noted after the erotic, aggressive and training clips (versus control). A strong within-individual correlation (mean r = 0.85) was also noted between the relative changes in testosterone and the 3RM squats across all video sessions (P < 0.001). In conclusion, different video clips were associated with different changes in salivary free hormone concentrations and the relative changes in testosterone closely mapped 3RM squat performance in a group of highly trained males. Thus, speculatively, using short video presentations in the pre-workout environment offers an opportunity for understanding the outcomes of hormonal change, athlete behaviour and subsequent voluntary performance.

Source: "Changes in salivary testosterone concentrations and subsequent voluntary squat performance following the presentation of short video clips" from Hormones and Behavior

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