Power Loading-Induced Fatigue Is Influenced by Menstrual Cycle Phase

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2022 Jul 1;54(7):1190-1198. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002904. Epub 2022 Mar 18.


Purpose: This study aimed to examine the effects of fatiguing power loading on neuromuscular properties, force production, and metabolic capacities during four phases of the menstrual cycle (MC): menstruation (M), midfollicular (mid FOL), ovulation (OV), and midluteal (mid LUT).

Methods: Sixteen eumenorrheic women performed sessions of maximal explosive leg press (2 × 10 at 60% one-repetition maximum load with 2-min recovery between sets). Serum hormones and neuromuscular responses were measured.

Results: The loading protocol significantly decreased power (between -14.2% and -12.5%; P < 0.001) and maximal force production (between maximum voluntary force (MVC); -15.0% and -7.8%; P < 0.001-0.05), while decreasing activation level (between AL; -6.9% and -2.2%; P < 0.001-0.05) in all MC phases. The decreases in AL were greater during mid LUT (P < 0.01) compared with OV. Changes in MVC and AL were associated (r2 = 0.53; P < 0.01) at all MC phases. The decrease in EMG during MVC did not differ between the MC phases; however, mean power frequency was higher during M (+7.7%; P < 0.05) and mid LUT (+3.1%; P < 0.05) compared with OV (-7.5%). Resting twitch force decreased during mid FOL (-6.9%; P < 0.05) and mid LUT (-16.2%; P < 0.001), and these values were significantly decreased (P < 0.05) compared with OV. In addition, resting twitch force at mid LUT was lower (P < 0.01) compared with M. Blood lactate levels increased more (P < 0.05) during M compared with mid LUT. Some serum hormone concentrations were associated with fatigue-induced changes in neuromuscular properties and force production, but these correlations behaved differently between the MC phases.

Conclusions: OV may offer a more favorable hormonal milieu for acute neural responses, whereas mid FOL and mid LUT seem to be superior for acute muscular responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Hormones
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle* / physiology
  • Menstruation
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Rest
  • Weight Lifting* / physiology


  • Hormones