Research Impact: Increased stress can have negative effects on performance, particularly if there is an imbalance between training load and recovery. This study evaluated salivary cortisol as a marker of recovery. Over a 10-week preseason period, 19 male elite Rugby Union players provided saliva samples biweekly (Monday and Friday mornings). Subjective markers of recovery and internal training load were also collected. Salivary cortisol significantly increased on certain Mondays, indicating that players did not physically recover from the previous week of training or match at the weekend, and certain Fridays, indicating increased physiological stress from that week’s training. These results suggest salivary cortisol may be used as an objective marker of recovery, to help identify players training status.
Tiernan, C., Lyons, M., Comyns, T, Nevill, A.M. and Warrington., G.., 2019. Investigation of the Relationship Between Salivary Cortisol, Training Load and Subjective Markers of Recovery in Elite Rugby Union Players. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 1(aop), pp.1-24. DOI: 10.1123-ijsp.2018-0945