Training Around Your Period

A lot goes into being a woman. However, the Chelsea Women’s team is paving the way to making one part easier by catering training schedules to player’s menstrual cycles

As of August, the WSL team has been planning training and diet regimens around their player’s periods. There’s no denying that your period takes a huge toll on your body and your mind. And some studies have found that female players are actually more likely to sustain injury during their cycle. While women play just as hard as their male counterparts, training should be handled differently to ensure good health. 

Understanding the phases of the menstrual cycle is a huge part of figuring out how to train properly. Menstruation, pre-ovulation, the time between ovulation and premenstrual symptoms, and pre-menstruation all affect the body differently. Some make us crave junk food, some make us clumsy or extremely fatigued. All of these things will impact how the body reacts to physical fitness.

These phases also dictate when and how our bodies will react to injury. Understanding the inflammatory nature of menstruation has given us answers as to why injuries are more common and sometimes more severe. 

Chelsea Women manager, Emma Hayes, has spoken in depth about the changes that need to happen on the training level: 

“It is fair to say, I am a female coach in an industry where women have always been treated like small men… The starting point is that we are women and, ultimately, we go through something very different to men on a monthly basis. And we have to have a better understanding of that because our education failed us at school; we didn’t get taught about our reproduction systems. It comes from a place of wanting to know more about ourselves and understanding how we can improve our performance.”

Hayes has been studying the science behind developing this groundbreaking training program since 2016. And she isn’t the only one who has had her eye on the correlations. In the 2019, to prepare for the World Cup, The U.S. Women’s National Team began using Fitr Woman, the same performance and period tracking app used by Chelsea, developed by physiologist Dr. Georgie Bruinvels. 

The resulting training schedule clearly paid off, as the USWNT went on to win their fourth World Cup championship. Hayes is the first coach to implement this tailored training schedule into her team’s regular season. The U.S. ladies soccer team only revised their training tactics a few months before the tournament. 

These specialized training schedules are a groundbreaking and innovative change in women’s sports — not just in the world of soccer. Sports medicine and science is finally catching up and paying special attention to a process that has been going on since the dawn of time. With the proper training schedules to make sure our players are safe, healthy, and prepared there will be no stopping the future of female athletes. 



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