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The Effects of Menstrual Cycle Phases on Running Repeated Sprint Ability

The International Journal of Strength and Conditioning is the world's first in S&C and Sport Science to be 'Diamond' Open Access. We have recently published a new article by Samuele Di Nicola, Brendon Ferrier, Geraint Florida-James, and Mykolas Kavaliauskas, titled "The Effects of Menstrual Cycle Phases on Running Repeated Sprint Ability"

Abstract


Female participation in regular sport activities has increased in recent years, yet their representation in sports and exercise science literature remains low. This can be partly attributed to the complexities associated with the menstrual cycle (MC). Despite these challenges, sport and exercise science studies should not ignore the effects of the MC and its hormonal fluctuations on performance and physiological measures. The aim of this study was to compare performance, physiological and perceptual differences when performing a running repeated sprint ability (RSA) exercise during the early-follicular, and mid-luteal sub-phases of the MC. Five healthy, physically active participants (25.4 ± 3.0 years; 1.65 ± 0.1 m; 64.5 ± 18.6 kg; 43.2 ± 5.2 ml O2·kg-1) took part in this study. The participants completed two familiarization and four intervention sessions (twice during each MC sub-phase) of the RSA exercise. The RSA protocol consisted of five ‘all-out’ sprints of six seconds on a non-motorized treadmill with 24 seconds of walking between the sprints. Results indicated no significant differences (p > 0.05) between MC sub-phases in body mass index, fat mass, mean and peak power output, fatigue index for peak power output, distance, peak acceleration, pre-exercise lactate, oxygen uptake, and heart rate. However, significant differences were found in post-exercise lactate (p = 0.04) and rating of perceived exertion (p = 0.001). In conclusion, MC phases do not appear to influence most of the chosen RSA performance indicators thus suggesting that practitioners should not tailor repeated sprint exercises and tests based on the MC phases.


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