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In this week’s podcast, FitPro’s Head of Education, Aaron Barnett, speaks to Debby Sargent, lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire and UKSCA tutor. They discuss the importance of training female athletes as individuals, understanding the menstrual cycle, and using it positively in their strength and conditioning training.

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup showcased the global development and professionalism of female sport at the highest level. With this comes an increasing demand for research to help coaches understand how the menstrual cycle, specifically the powerful hormones oestrogen and progesterone, impacts the structure and sequencing of the training programmes we give our athletes.

Additionally, there is a need to explore the psychological effect of the menstrual cycle and how it shapes both the training environment and the coach-athlete relationship. This podcast will aim to provide insight and practical recommendations for coaches and PTs to enable them to start to individualise training for female participants.

Some of the key take-home comments from the podcast are as follows:

“There is a mismatch between what the literature is telling you and what is actually happening practically. Personally, I think the reason for that is because studies that have included female athletes have been really poorly designed.”

“When we talk about impacting on performance, the menstrual cycle can affect psychology, mood and physiology.”

To listen to the podcast, click HERE

 About the podcast guest

Debby Sargent has more than 20 years of experience working with high-performance athletes. Since 2008, she has been a UKSCA tutor and assessor. She currently delivers a strength and conditioning course at the University of Gloucestershire and delivers physical preparation and performance lifestyle services to TASS athletes. Previously, Debby has delivered courses at the University of St Andrews, Dundee Academy of Sport, and amongst others, the Scottish Institute of Sport. Debby’s area of research interest is the female athlete, and she has recently co-authored a book entitled Strength and Conditioning for Female Athletes and will be embarking on a PhD study within this area.