Current evidence shows no influence of women's menstrual cycle phase on acute strength performance or adaptations to resistance exercise training

Front Sports Act Living. 2023 Mar 23:5:1054542. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2023.1054542. eCollection 2023.


Introduction: The bias towards excluding women from exercise science research is often due to the assumption that cyclical fluctuations in reproductive hormones influence resistance exercise performance and exercise-induced adaptations.

Methods: Hence, the purpose of this umbrella review was to examine and critically evaluate the evidence from meta-analyses and systematic reviews on the influence of menstrual cycle phase on acute performance and chronic adaptations to resistance exercise training (RET).

Results: We observed highly variable findings among the published reviews on the ostensible effects of female sex hormones on relevant RET-induced outcomes, including strength, exercise performance, and hypertrophy.

Discussion: We highlight the importance of comprehensive menstrual cycle verification methods, as we noted a pattern of poor and inconsistent methodological practices in the literature. In our opinion, it is premature to conclude that short-term fluctuations in reproductive hormones appreciably influence acute exercise performance or longer-term strength or hypertrophic adaptations to RET.

Keywords: exercise performance; hypertrophy; menstrual cycle; resistance training; strength.

Publication types

  • Review