Strength periodization for women.
I have previously written about how you can periodize your training (read here). This time, I will focus on strength periodization for women.
«The purpose of periodization is to
• optimize the development of muscle strength and the ability to develop great effect.
• make top form coincide with important competitions.
• avoid injury and overtraining.  »
Several research reports describe the training effects of different types of periodizations. Such as the effect of block periodization, wave periodization, or linear periodization. However, most of these research reports have been conducted on men. The problem with this, however, is that men and women are not exactly alike. Besides the obvious differences between men and women, hormone production is also different. Should not the strength periodization for women take this into account?
Therefore, I will review how to create a strength periodization for women.
Periodization according to the biological adaptation.
The menstrual cycle.
We may divide the menstrual cycle into three phases:
- Menstruation (7 days)
- Proliferation phase (follicular phase) (7 days)
- Secretion phase (luteal phase) (14 days) .
Ovulation occurs at the end of the proliferation phase.
The duration of the various phases is not set in stone but varies from woman to woman.
However, the testicles (in men), the ovary (in women), adipose tissue, and the brain also produce this in small quantities. This hormone has androgenic properties. It is also a precursor to other hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.
Estrogen is a crucial hormone when talking about strength periodization for women. Both because it has several positive effects and the hormone concentration increases so noticeably during the women’s menstrual cycle. Estrogen is chiefly an anabolic hormone and thus can be used to build muscle and ligaments . Furthermore, it has several protective effects.
Fig 2. Shows the estrogen and progesterone levels throughout the menstrual cycle.
In which phase do women get the most effect from strength training?
How do we use this information to create strength periodization for women?
The menstruation phase
The follicular phase
The content of this phase depends on your goals. For example, hypertrophy and maximal strength require different training loads (read more about that here). However, if you want maximal strength, you should use a heavy weight-load of 85-100%.
The luteal phase.
Training in this phase still gives a good training effect. The athletes I have trained still feel reasonably fresh in this phase, although not as ready as in the follicular phase. Therefore, I often recommend a sub-maximum load in this phase (70-80%).
Finally, this is how you make a strength periodization for women.
Training plans with strength periodization for women.
 Olbrecht J, 2007 «The science of winning. Planning, periodizing and optimizing swim training.» F & G partners, Partners in Sports.
 Martina Velders & Patrick Diel, 2013«How Sex Hormones Promote Skeletal Muscle Regeneration» Sport Medicin 43, 1089-1100
 NkechInyere Chidi-Ogbolu & Keith Baar, 2019 «Effect of Estrogen on Musculoskeletal Performance and Injury Risk» Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, United States
Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, United States
Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, United States