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NEW: Research published on the strength, power and aerobic capacity of transgender athletes

23rd April 2024

NEW: Research published on the strength, power and aerobic capacity of transgender athletes

A cross-sectional study on the strength, power and aerobic capacity of transgender athletes has been published in British Journal of Sports Medicine by Blair Hamilton et al. The primary purpose of the study was to compare standard laboratory performance metrics of trans athletes to cis athletes.

You can access the research article here.

Hamilton et al. found that there is a current lack of laboratory data on strength, power and lung capacity from transgender athlete populations. This study compares laboratory measures and thus might affect research, practice and policy considering it gives sports governing bodies laboratory-based performance-related data from transgender athletes.

The study shows that in certain cardiovascular tests, the trans women performed worse than the cis women, and were found to have less lower-body strength as well as decreased lung function compared to the cis women athletes. In addition, the bone density of the trans women athletes was found to be equivalent to that of the cis women. Bone density is linked to muscle strength.

This research is the first of its kind and is the only one so far to compare participants with similar athletic profiles who are both cis men and women, and trans men and women. The research therefore challenges existing assumptions within sports policymaking which come from studies that did not compare relevant cohorts.

The authors, Hamilton et al., recommend, based on the findings of the study, that trans women athletes should be evaluated as their own demographic group which is in accordance with the principles outlined in the International Olympic Committee Framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination based on Gender Identity and Sex Variations.

The authors have spoken to Outsports, cautioning sports bodies not to pass blanket bans without doing proper sport specific research.

LEAP Sports are organising a bite-size webinar with author Blair Hamilton on this research. Date and information on how to join will be shared shortly. If you would like to ensure you hear about it please email info@leapsports.org

Written on 23rd April 2024.