European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp 153–160 | Cite as

Maximal force and tremor changes across the menstrual cycle

  • Matthew S. TenanEmail author
  • Anthony C. Hackney
  • Lisa Griffin
Original Article



Sex hormones have profound effects on the nervous system in vitro and in vivo. The present study examines the effect of the menstrual cycle on maximal isometric force (MVC) and tremor during an endurance task.


Nine eumenorrheic females participated in five study visits across their menstrual cycle. In each menstrual phase, an MVC and an endurance task to failure were performed. Tremor across the endurance task was quantified as the coefficient of variation in force and was assessed in absolute time and relative percent time to task failure.


MVC decreases 23 % from ovulation to the mid luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. In absolute time, the mid luteal phase has the highest initial tremor, though the early follicular phase has substantially higher tremor than other phases after 150 s of task performance. In relative time, the mid luteal phase has the highest level of tremor throughout the endurance task.


Both MVC and tremor during an endurance task are modified by the menstrual cycle. Performance of tasks and sports which require high force and steadiness to exhaustion may be decreased in the mid luteal phase compared to other menstrual phases.


Menstrual cycle Maximal force Tremor Estrogen Progesterone Fatigue 



Analysis of variance


Basal body temperature


Estrogen receptor alpha


Γ-aminobutyric acid


Maximal voluntary contraction


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report. All research involving humans was supervised by the local ethics board and included informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew S. Tenan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anthony C. Hackney
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lisa Griffin
    • 4
  1. 1.Human Research and Engineering Directorate, RDRL-HRS-BUS Army Research LaboratoryAberdeen Proving GroundUSA
  2. 2.Department of Exercise and Sport ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of Nutrition, School of Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Department of Kinesiology and Health EducationUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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