Alyssa Bialowas

 

Introduction

Studies have shown that a woman’s menstrual cycle can affect exercise-induced muscle damage and oxidative stress that follow bouts of physical activity and exercise. Estradiol is an estrogen steroid hormone and major female sex hormone that is responsible for the development of female secondary sex characteristics. During the menstrual cycle, estradiol fluctuates, and is low during the first 1-8 days of the follicular phase and elevated during the midpoint to luteal phase, during days 18-24.

Related Article: Impact Of Competitive Sports On Female Athletes

Estradiol has been shown to increase satellite cell activation and impacts muscle generation in response to resistance exercise. Considering this, research out of Helsinki, Finland, sought to determine whether estradiol fluctuations during the menstrual cycle influence the muscle’s ability to undergo increases in strength and mass.

 

The Study

The participants in this study were healthy, physically active, eumenorrheic (having normal or regular menstruation) females. All twenty-two females that participated in this study had not taken any form of hormonal contraception for one year prior to the study. To calculate their menstrual cycles, participants utilized the calendar method to determine the length of their cycle, and calculated the occurrence of their mid-follicular (MF) and mid-luteal (ML) phases.

Related Article: The Stages Of A Woman’s Sleep Life: Menstruation and Menopause

During the exercise protocol, participants were required to exert a minimum of 30% of their individual pre-determined maximal contraction for each repetition. The exercise protocol was performed unilaterally and isokinetically, at 10 sets of 10 repetitions with 3 minutes of rest between sets.  Muscle biopsies were taken in opposing legs during the MF and ML phase. Estradiol was determined in each cellular extract, and statistical analyses were performed.

 

The Results

There were no significant differences detected between the right and left legs in levels and effects of estradiol fluctuations. Researchers were hoping to replicate studies that showed levels of serum estradiol to be significantly greater at ML phase than MF phase.

 

Takeaway

Based on the results of the study, muscle estradiol levels were not affected by either the MF or ML phase, or by eccentric exercise. Results indicate no significant difference between menstrual phases in muscle estradiol before or after eccentric exercise, concluding that phases of the menstrual cycle do not significantly effect training results, and do not significantly effect the muscle’s ability to undergo increases in strength and mass. For curious female athletes training at high intensity, begin to personally observe differences in training due to different stages of the menstrual cycle.




You Might Like:

  • push up

3 Ways Lifelong Exercise Prevents Aging

Alyssa Biawolas It’s no secret that exercise is good for the soul. Lifelong exercise is associated with everything from reductions in frailty, to the regulation of skeletal mass and function, to successful aging (Elliott,

  • sprinting form

How to Achieve a Near Perfect Sprinting Technique

Alyssa Bialowas The proper sprinting technique requires the combination of understanding the biomechanical variables of sprinting as well as external factors such as your running equipment (proper footwear, adequate running stopwatch for training), and

  • woman drinking water

6 Tips to Fuel Your HIIT Nutrition Plan

Alyssa Biawolas If you’re spending a lot of time creating and abiding by your workout plan, a healthy meal plan will enable you to get the most out of your efforts. When creating a nutrition

The Biomechanics of Sprinting

Alyssa Biawolas Understanding the biomechanics of sprint running form is essential to successful sprint performance. Biomechanical variables influencing sprinting include reaction time, technique, force production, neural factors, muscle structure and the electrical activity produced by

3 Ways Sleep Impacts Sports Performance

Alyssa Bialowas The importance of quality sleep for athletes is often underrated. While a major focus is constantly put on physical training and nutrition, sleep takes a backseat. However, sleep is just as important for

3 Natural Remedies for Sore Muscles

Alyssa Bialowas There’s no better feeling than the rush you get after a great workout, but that night or the next day, your muscles may not be as pleased. Fitness related muscle soreness (also




Reference:

Andre, T., Gann, J., Haines, M., Hwang, P., McKinley-Barnard, S., & Willoughby, D.

(2018). “Skeletal Muscle Estrogen Receptor Activation in Response to Eccentric

Exercise Up-Regulates Myogenic-Related Gene Expression Independent of

Differing Serum Estradiol Levels Occurring during the Human Menstrual Cycle.”

Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 17, 31-39.