SIGNIFICANT TESTOSTERONE USERS DO NOT ALWAYS TEST POSITIVE AND ANY PERFORMANCE INCREASES SEEM TO BE CONFOUNDED

Deakin, G., Rogerson, S., Meir, R., Coutts, R., Zhour, S., Marshall-Gradisnik, S., & Weatherby, R. (2006). Performance enhancement and urinary detection after short-term testosterone enanthate use. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(5), Supplement abstract 2249.

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This investigation determined if testosterone enanthate would increase strength and athletic performance in 3-6 weeks and if the use the T/E ratio screening measure could detect the use of the steroid over that period. Healthy young males (N = 18) were randomly assigned to either a testosterone enanthate or a placebo group. Ss performed a structured heavy resistance-training program while receiving either testosterone enanthate (3.5 mg/kgBW a therapeutic dosage) or saline intramuscular injections once weekly for six weeks. 1 RM strength measures (bench press and leg press) and 10-second cycle sprint performance were monitored at the pre- (week 0), mid- (week 3) and post- (week 6) time points. Body mass and the urinary testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E) ratio were measured at week 0 and week 6.

When compared to baseline (week 0), 1 RM bench press strength and total work during the cycle sprint increased significantly at week 3 and week 6 in the testosterone group but not the placebo group. At week 3, 1 RM bench press increased 9% from baseline whilst at week 6 it had increased further to 15%. No significant differences were found between groups for 1 RM leg press or peak power. Body mass at week 6 was significantly greater (7%) than at week 0 in the testosterone group but not the placebo group. Four of the nine subjects in the testosterone group (44%) had a T/E ratio of <4:1. T/E ratios for the testosterone group ranged from 2 to 37:1. T/E ratios for the placebo group remained unchanged.

Implication. A therapeutic level dosage of testosterone enanthate, enhanced 1 RM bench press and 10-second cycle sprint performance in three weeks but did not change leg press performance. It is not clear that the steroid alone was responsible for the performance change because of this differential effect. If it had been, leg press should have also improved. It is questionable practice to stress the positive results and ignore the negatives. Using the T/E ratio of 4:1 (currently used to screen urine samples), almost half the Ss using the testosterone enanthate failed to test positive under WADA rules.

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