Female Climber Series: Should We Stop Training During The High Hormone Phase?
There are studies that have shown adaptations to strength training to be better in the follicular phase (rising estrogen and low progesterone) compared to the luteal phase (high estrogen and progesterone).
So, should we focus all our strength training in the low hormone phase and not do any in the high hormone phase? No!
As we have established climbing relies heavily on strength and focusing on strength for half a cycle and then stepping away for half a cycle would give us peaks and troughs in training load and inconsistency in training stimulus.
So now we know that we want to keep up our strength training in our high hormone phase, what can we do to make the most of it?
1- Reducing the volume of strength training in the high hormone phase will increase recovery time and therefore maintain high-quality sessions.
2- Reduce the length of high-intensity strength sessions so that recovery is easier. This could be doing a half session and allowing a longer warm-up period.
3- By aiming for carbohydrate intake approx. 1 hour before high-intensity training (approx. 1 g/kg BW) we can try to mitigate the glycogen sparing mode our bodies are in and supply the fuel for high-intensity training.
4- Maintain loads to consolidate in strength-based conditioning or fingerboard sessions.
5- Use RPE to guide load and focus on the intention of a session when setting the difficulty.