Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2011) 10, 600 - 606

Review article
Circadian Rhythms in Exercise Performance: Implications for Hormonal and Muscular Adaptation
Weipeng Teo1, , Michael J. Newton1, Michael R. McGuigan2,3
Author Information
1 School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia
2 New Zealand Academy of Sport North Island, Auckland, New Zealand
3 Sport Performance Research Institute New Zealand, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

Weipeng Teo
✉ School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup, WA, 6027, Australia
Publish Date
Received: 28-08-2011
Accepted: 21-10-2011
Published (online): 01-12-2011

Almost all physiological and biochemical processes within the human body follow a circadian rhythm (CR). In humans, the suprachiasmatic nucleus regulates sleep- wake cycle and other daily biorhythms in line with solar time. Due to such daily physiological fluctuations, several investigations on neuromuscular performance have reported a distinct CR during exercise. Generally, peak performances have been found to occur in the early evening, at approximately the peak of core body temperature. The increase in core body temperature has been found to increase energy metabolism, improve muscle compliance and facilitate actin-myosin crossbridging. In addition, steroidal hormones such as testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) also display a clear CR. The role of T within the body is to maintain anabolism through the process of protein synthesis. By contrast, C plays a catabolic function and is involved in the response of stress. Due to the anabolic and catabolic nature of both T and C, it has been postulated that a causal relationship may exist between the CR of T and C and muscular performance. This review will therefore discuss the effects of CR on physical performance and its implications for training. Furthermore, this review will examine the impact of muscular performance on CR in hormonal responses and whether could variations in T and C be potentially beneficial for muscular adaptation.

Key words: Diurnal variation, steroidal hormones, neuromuscular adaptation

           Key Points
  • A distinct CR can be observed in physical performance.
  • CR of exercise performance is highly associated with CR in core body temperature
  • Both T and C display a clear CR, however, the current evidence does not show a clear relationship with neuromuscular adaptations.
  • TST is able to induce changes in physical performance variables at the particular time point, but not for the circadian profile of T and C.
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