1. Muscle strength of the adductor pollicis (AP) was studied throughout the menstrual cycle to determine whether any variation in force is similar to the known cyclical changes in ovarian hormones. Three groups of young women were studied: trained regularly menstruating athletes (trained), untrained regularly menstruating (untrained) and trained oral contraceptive pill users (OCU). In addition a group of untrained young men was studied as controls. 2. Maximum voluntary force (MVF) of AP was measured over a maximum period of 6 months. Ovulation was detected by luteinizing hormone measurements or change in basal body temperature. There was a significant increase in MVF (about 10%) during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle when oestrogen levels are rising, in both the trained and untrained groups. This was followed by a similar in MVF around the time of ovulation. Neither the OCU nor the male subjects showed cyclical changes in MVF.