Maximal force and tremor changes across the menstrual cycle



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.

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Analysis of variance


Basal body temperature


Estrogen receptor alpha


Γ-aminobutyric acid


Maximal voluntary contraction


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Correspondence to Matthew S. Tenan.

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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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Communicated by William J. Kraemer.

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Tenan, M.S., Hackney, A.C. & Griffin, L. Maximal force and tremor changes across the menstrual cycle. Eur J Appl Physiol 116, 153–160 (2016).

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  • Menstrual cycle
  • Maximal force
  • Tremor
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Fatigue