Elliott, K. J, Cable, N. T, & Reilly, T. (2005). Does oral contraceptive use affect maximum force production in women? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39, 15-19.

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This study examined the effects of oral contraceptive use on maximum force production in young women. Female Ss were pill users (N = 14) and eumenorrheic controls (N = 7). Pill-using Ss were taking a combined, monophasic oral contraceptive pill for at least 6 months. Maximum dynamic and isometric leg strength, maximum isometric strength of the first dorsal interosseus (FDI) muscle, and plasma concentrations of oestradiol and progesterone were measured on days 7 and 14 of pill consumption and day 5 of pill withdrawal. The eumenorrheic group was tested on days 2 and 21 of the menstrual cycle.

There were no significant changes in the concentration of endogenous oestradiol or progesterone or any measure of muscle strength between pill phases. The pill group did not significantly differ from the eumenorrheic group, despite a significant increase in the concentration of progesterone and oestradiol on day 21 of the menstrual cycle compared with day 2 of the menstrual cycle and pill consumption and withdrawal.

Implication. Oral contraceptive use does not significantly affect muscle strength. Moreover, oral contraceptive users were no stronger or weaker than eumenorrheic controls.

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