Strength, power and aerobic capacity of transgender athletes: a cross-sectional study

Blair Hamilton, Andrew Brown, Stephanie Montagner-Moraes, Cristina Comeras-Chueca, Peter G. Bush, Fergus M. Guppy, Yannis P. Pitsiladis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The primary objective of this cross-sectional study was to compare standard laboratory performance metrics of transgender athletes to cisgender athletes.

METHODS: 19 cisgender men (CM) (mean±SD, age: 37±9 years), 12 transgender men (TM) (age: 34±7 years), 23 transgender women (TW) (age: 34±10 years) and 21 cisgender women (CW) (age: 30±9 years) underwent a series of standard laboratory performance tests, including body composition, lung function, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, strength and lower body power. Haemoglobin concentration in capillary blood and testosterone and oestradiol in serum were also measured.

RESULTS: In this cohort of athletes, TW had similar testosterone concentration (TW 0.7±0.5 nmol/L, CW 0.9±0.4 nmol/), higher oestrogen (TW 742.4±801.9 pmol/L, CW 336.0±266.3 pmol/L, p=0.045), higher absolute handgrip strength (TW 40.7±6.8 kg, CW 34.2±3.7 kg, p=0.01), lower forced expiratory volume in 1 s:forced vital capacity ratio (TW 0.83±0.07, CW 0.88±0.04, p=0.04), lower relative jump height (TW 0.7±0.2 cm/kg; CW 1.0±0.2 cm/kg, p<0.001) and lower relative V̇O 2max (TW 45.1±13.3 mL/kg/min/, CW 54.1±6.0 mL/kg/min, p<0.001) compared with CW athletes. TM had similar testosterone concentration (TM 20.5±5.8 nmol/L, CM 24.8±12.3 nmol/L), lower absolute hand grip strength (TM 38.8±7.5 kg, CM 45.7±6.9 kg, p =0.03) and lower absolute V̇O 2max (TM 3635±644 mL/min, CM 4467±641 mL/min p =0.002) than CM.

CONCLUSION: While longitudinal transitioning studies of transgender athletes are urgently needed, these results should caution against precautionary bans and sport eligibility exclusions that are not based on sport-specific (or sport-relevant) research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108029
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Early online date10 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2024

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