Keeping my body in good health is one of the most important things to me.
– Guy Mariano
What do you do before you go skate? Anything to raise your testosterone? WTF is testosterone you say? Well, we'll get to that, because it turns out that your pre-session testosterone levels might influence how you skate on that day, and more interestingly, your testosterone levels can be influenced by watching different types of videos before your session – skate clips, aggressive clips, even erotic clips...
in the lab with the science bods.
So I recently read some research done on some elite rugby players where over the course of 6 sessions they watched a different 4 min video clip each time, each of which had a different emotional significance, before completing an exercise which was the same every time. The clips were:
a control clip (a blank screen),
humorous (clip from a TV show),
sad (clip of starving children),
erotic (clip of an erotic dance),
training (clip of someone working out),
and aggressive (clip of heavy rugby hits).
The science bods hypothesised that the clips would influence testosterone which in turn would influence performance.
The levels of testosterone were measured in the rugby player's saliva, so to get these they had to have a little dribble into a pot, and they did this before and after watching the clips. Fifteen minutes later they had to perform a 3RM squat, which they had to voluntarily select the weight for (a 3RM squat is a squat with the max weight you can complete 3 squats with). And what they found was for the humorous, training, aggressive, and erotic clips their testosterone was significantly higher and the weight they chose to lift on the 3RM was also significantly higher; meaning a better performance. The sad clip had the opposite effect - reducing testosterone and resulting in less weight lifted on the 3RM squat, and the aggressive clip had the biggest positive influence.
effects of testosterone.
Increases in testosterone have been related to improvements in performance, strength, motivation, risk-taking behaviour, better spatial awareness, amongst other things, and in separate research by the same science bods they found that pre-match testosterone levels were higher in rugby games that were won, and in games that were lost they were lower. So the science bods concluded that although further research needs to be done, the types of video clips watched in the warm-up period can significantly influence testosterone levels, which in turn can result in changes in behaviour that can influence performance and willingness to lift more weight.
the effects on skating.
So how does this relate to skating? Well, skating is all about risk-taking, being motivated to try new tricks, and requires consistent strength and focus throughout your session, and testosterone influences all of these things. So in the same way that it improved rugby player’s performance – increasing testosterone before you skate could improve how you skate, and maybe this can be done by just watching a quick 4 minute pre-session skate video. In the classic Hot Chocolate Tour video, Marc Johnson talks about how some days you skate bad and others you just wake up "feeling on-point", but how he never figured out what changed between these two kinds of sessions. It's definitely not the only thing but maybe testosterone holds part of the answer.
The science bods also said that the impact of the videos can vary by person so try watching different videos 15 mins before your session, and be aware of how you feel and how you skate after different ones. Based on their results you could watch anything from humorous clips, training (in our case - skate clips), aggressive, or erotic clips. I find that certain videos get me more hyped than others, specifically skate videos I used to watch when I was younger - classics like Yeah Right or Hot Chocolate -, and I feel like I skate better after watching these videos.
Could a part of this be because I’m increasing testosterone like the rugby players? We can’t be sure until someone tests it, but it’s possible. Also based on their results avoid watching sad/stressful clips, blank screens, and slam videos like 411VM 911 before you skate, unless you’re into weird shit. There’s also research showing testosterone increases when watching clips of a previous successful performance so you could try watching some of your own clips from previous sessions as well. Like I said it varies by person so mess with different clips and just be aware of how you skate and how you feel.