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Variations in strength-related measures during the menstrual cycle in eumenorrheic women: A systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Richard C. Blagrove
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author.
    Affiliations
    School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
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  • Georgie Bruinvels
    Affiliations
    School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St Mary's University, Twickenham, United Kingdom

    Orreco Ltd, National University of Ireland Business Innovation Centre, Galway, Ireland
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  • Charles R. Pedlar
    Affiliations
    School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St Mary's University, Twickenham, United Kingdom

    Orreco Ltd, National University of Ireland Business Innovation Centre, Galway, Ireland

    Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To systematically review the current body of research that has investigated changes in strength-related variables during different phases of the menstrual cycle in eumenorrheic women.

      Design

      Systematic review and meta-analysis.

      Methods

      A literature search was conducted in Pubmed, SPORTDiscus and Web of Science using search terms related to the menstrual cycle and strength-related measures. Two reviewers reached consensus that 21 studies met the criteria for inclusion. Methodological rigour was assessed using the Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies. Random effects meta-analyses were used to compare the early-follicular, ovulatory and mid-luteal phases for maximal voluntary contraction, isokinetic peak torque, and explosive strength.

      Results

      The assessment of study quality showed that a high level of bias exists in specific areas of study design. Non-significant and small or trivial effect sizes (p ≥ 0.26, Hedges g ≤ 0.35) were identified for all strength-related variables in each comparison between phases. 95% confidence intervals for each comparison suggested the uncertainty associated with each estimate extends to a small effect on strength performance with unclear direction (−0.42 ≤ g ≤ 0.48). The heterogeneity for each comparison was also small (p ≥ 0.83, I2 = 0%).

      Conclusions

      Strength-related measures appear to be minimally altered (g ≤ 0.35) by the fluctuations in ovarian sex hormones that occur during the menstrual cycle. This finding should be interpreted with caution due to the methodological shortcomings identified by the quality assessment.

      Keywords

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