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Working with female athletes

Working with female athletes

28 Apr 2021

Something too many coaches are afraid to talk about let alone actually competently deal with is the female hormonal cycle, menstruation, menopause and other “gyno” stuff.

There is sadly even at elite levels a lack of knowledge and understanding with regards to conditioning female clients.

For example;

  • The effects oestrogen fluctuations have on aerobic capacity.
  • How joint stability is influenced by hormonal fluctuations and how to train appropriately for each phase of the monthly cycle.
  • How to effectively condition the pelvic floor.
  • How to understand the different life stages of a woman, the influence of the psyche and the archetypes of each stage of life.
  • How to work with female clients that have pelvic floor dysfunctions.
  • How diet affects hormones.
  • How to take into account bio-individuality when designing a nutrition plan.

Humans are complex, health and illness don't just happen in isolation. Health and illness is influenced by biology, psychology, social influence and culture. This is especially true for females, the pressure to conform to sometimes cotradictory roles within the home and workplace can have a negative impact on psychological wellbeing and cultural ideals about what feminimity should look like can lead to behaviours that impact health. 

Having gone through extensive training with the CHEK institute, as all CHEK practitioners do I have the tools and knowledge to work with female clients in a more enlightened way than just thinking of females as small men. Oftentimes my clients present with complex health challenges such as endometriosis and postpartum pelvic floor reconsructive surgery. 

When working with female athletes I design their training programs to compliment the hormonal fluctuations of their monthly cycle. By structuring the training this way, we can capitalise on the changes in physiology that occur. For example, during ovulation testosterone and estrogen are both at peak levels so this is the ideal time for strength and power training whereas during the late luteal phase (premenstrual) oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone crash resulting in slower reaction times and inhibition of the abdominal wall, a time better suited to recovery rather than demanding training.