The Role of the Menstrual Cycle in Athletic Performance

There is a current disparity in the number of female versus male participants in sports science research. Traditionally this was accepted, but it has led to, not only an underrepresentation of female participants in the literature, but also a lack of understanding of female exercise physiology, including the menstrual cycle and the impact it may have on athletic performance. Monthly hormonally disruptions have been implicated in alterations in strength, endurance performance and anaerobic capacity. However, research investigating these alterations has been limited and due to methodological issues has been equivocal to date. Furthermore, there is a lack of research investigating the effect of the menstrual cycle on high intensity exercise, how athletes perceive the menstrual cycle impacts their performance, and how the menstrual cycle interacts with athlete wellbeing and training load. Therefore, this research aims to reduce the ambiguity that surrounds the menstrual cycle and athletic performance in order to empower and better support female athletes.