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Strength differences during menstrual cycle

Summary of a systematic review with meta-analysis on variations in strength-related measures during menstrual cycle.

Who

232 women (from 21 studies) with regular menstrual cycle (of 21 to 35 days) for more than 6 months aged 19-30 years.

menstrual cyclea cyclic changes in woman's body allowing for pregnancy.

menstrual cycle phases

Design

  • Systematic review with meta-analysis of 21 studies.
  • Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies

Outcome measures

  • maximal voluntary contraction (MVC)
  • isokinetic peak torque
  • explosive strength

Main results

  • Maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) (11 studies):
    • 98 participants
    • overall non-significant differences between all the phases, but 3 studies have shown higher maximum voluntary contraction around ovulation.
  • Isokinetic peak torque (7 studies):
    • 139 participants
    • measured knee extension and/or knee flexion
    • overall there was no difference between phases.
    • for knee flexors showed small differences: higher isokinetic peak torque in early-follicular phase versus ovulatory phase.
    • 3 studies has shown lower isokinetic peak torque arond period versus other phases of the cycle, and one study found higher values around ovulation.
  • Explosive strength (10 studies):
    • 96 participants
    • tests: maximal vertical/horizontal jump, peak power on cycle ergometer, single-joint isometric rate of force development / time to peak force.
    • overall no difference

Take home message

For a clinician
Statistacally there were no differences in strength-related measures between early-follicular, ovulatory or mid-luteal phases.
For a parent
Menstrual cycle does not influence strength-related measures.
For an athlete
Menstrual cycle does not influence your strength.

Original article

Blagrove RC, Bruinvels G, Pedlar CR. Variations in strength-related measures during the menstrual cycle in eumenorrheic women: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2020 May 17.

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