Updated: Apr 26
Strength training for women during their menstrual cycle is a popular topic in fitness, but is it worth planning your workouts around your period? Let's explore the science behind this idea.
According to Stacy Sims, Ph.D., author of Roar, women can optimize their training by understanding their menstrual cycle phases. During the follicular phase, women have higher levels of estrogen and can handle more intense workouts. During ovulation, women may experience a temporary boost in strength, and during the luteal phase, they may feel more fatigued and should focus on recovery.
However, a review of the literature found that menstrual cycle phases do not have a meaningful impact on strength performance or resistance exercise adaptations. While tracking your menstrual cycle can be interesting, it's not necessary to make significant changes to your routine based on this information.
Sims has more recently suggested that listening to your body and adjusting accordingly is a better approach. For example, if you feel fatigued during the luteal phase, you may want to bring down the intensity of your workouts. If you feel energized during ovulation, you may want to push yourself a little harder.
It's important to note that other factors can affect your strength training besides your cycle, such as sleep, nutrition, and stress levels. Therefore, taking a holistic approach is key to achieving optimal results.
In summary, while understanding your menstrual cycle phases can be helpful, there is no significant scientific evidence to support planning your workouts around them. Instead, listen to your body and adjust accordingly, taking a holistic approach to your fitness routine.