Do you train to suit your menstrual cycle?

We have previously done an article on Menstrual Cycle and training when Chelsea Women’s team started designing player’s individual plans around the phases of their menstrual cycle, in an attempt to enhance performance and cut down on injuries. Recently we’ve looked into each phase, what occurs in each phase and how to optimise training and recovery. Everyone is unique and you’ll know your own body but we found the below information so helpful!

The Phases and what you can expect…

Phase 1 – the first to last day of your period (eg. 1-5days)

Oestrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest during your period.

  • Increased symptoms in this phase including inflammatory response carried from phase 4.
  • Illness risk increased as white blood cell count is lower.
  • Cognitive function is said to be higher so the ability to learn a complex skill where good coordination is involved is increased.


  • Optimise sleep and recovery in this phase.
  • Maximum training benefit may come from HIIT and strength training.
  • Muscle activation and neuromuscular control may be lower so include muscle activation exercises in your warm ups.
  • Anti-inflammatory focus in your diet, increase foods rich in Vit D, calcium, fish oils and Vit B and foods rich in antioxidants.
  • Iron rich foods to make up for blood loss. Alongside Vitamin C sources to increase absorption.

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Snapping Hip Syndrome

Snapping hip is a common condition where a snapping or popping noise can be heard when the hip flexes or extends. It can be due to various different causes however the audible sound is normally caused by a tendon rubbing over a bony prominence of the pelvis. It is often pain free to begin with, however restricted movement, pain and inflammation can develop as the condition progresses.

There are several kinds of snapping hip that occur:

– external
– internal
– intra-articular

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Menstrual Cycles and Training

Since last August, Chelsea Women’s Football squad (who currently are second in Women’s Super League) started designing player?s individual plans around the phases of their menstrual cycle, in an attempt to enhance performance and cut down on injuries. The players use a tracker and log their symptoms and their coaches adapt their training and schedules. This is a revolutionary initiative that every woman should look into, as it could be the start of a large-scale change in the way that female athletes train.

Relative research shows that during the menstrual cycle several fluctuations in sexual hormone levels occur, depending on the cycle’s phase. The phase that affects the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments) in the female body the most is ovulation, due to its hormonal profile. Specifically, estrogen and relaxin, two of the primary female sex hormones, peak at ovulation and have been specifically studied regarding their relationship to human connective tissues.

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Meniscus Tears

Meniscus tears are a source of discomfort for a significant number of patients. The can affect both younger and older people, depending on the type of tear and usually symptoms include painful clicking, popping, locking, catching, and the knee giving way. In functional terms, meniscus tears lead to decreased walking endurance and balance performance.

The human menisci are C-shaped or semi-circular fibro-cartilaginous structures with bony attachments on the tibia bone. The menisci are essential for joint stability, shock absorption, distribution of contact forces, joint lubrication, and proprioception.

Meniscal tears can be classified as acute or degenerative. Acute tears are common in younger population, usually due to an excessive amount of force applied to a normal knee and meniscus. This is different from a degenerative tear, which is mostly met in the older population and results from repetitive normal forces acting upon a worn down meniscus.

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Achilles Tendinopathy

Pain in the Achilles (Achilles Tendinopathy) affects over 150,000 people every year in the UK.
It’s a common condition found in both athletes and non-athletes. It can present with localised pain in or above the heel that’s worse in the morning, limited movement at the ankle, tenderness on palpation and variable pain ie, some people may be able to ‘run through’ the pain and then feel it worsen later. It’s more common in men, the overweight, diabetics and those with tight/weak calves or poor hip control.

Tendons in general hate change, so quite often changes in intensity of exercise can trigger a tendon to overload and become irritable. Common training errors such as running too far or too fast, using old shoes, increasing distances too quickly and too much hill running can all lead to symptoms. With all these factors to consider it’s best to see a professional if you have any heel pain so they can best advise your course of treatment, because it might not even be the Achilles! There are other conditions that can present with similar pain round the heel so it’s best to not assume your Achilles is to blame and start self-prescribed exercises.

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Essential Oils for Hayfever

During the summer months it is thought that more than ten million people suffer with symptoms of hay fever in the UK. Peak hay fever season runs from late May until around mid August and with temperatures set to rise over the next coming days many could find symptoms worsening with rising pollen levels!

Hay fever, also known as seasonal rhinitis is an immune response from the body where pollen from trees, grass, weeds, dust mites and mould cause the immune system to produce antibodies which release a product called histamine which is present in all the cells of the body. This release then causes irritation to the upper respiratory tract and inflammation to the mucous membranes (throat, eyes, noses and sinuses) causing sneezing, itching and watering of the eyes as a few of the common symptoms of hay fever. Other symptoms include: Wheezing, difficulty breathing, itchy mouth, throat and ears, loss of smell and in some cases difficulty in concentrating.

Essential oils can be of benefit to those suffering from hay fever symptoms due to their natural properties alleviating the detrimental effects of hay fever.

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De Quervains

What is it?
De Quervain’s syndrome is named after the Swiss surgeon Fritz de Quervain, who identified it first in 1895 (Pagonis et al 2011). De Quervains is described as an inflammation of the sheath that surrounds two tendons that control thumb movement (Hassan et al 2012). The main cause of De Quervains is repetitive thumb movements in combination with radial deviation of the wrist such as pinching, wringing, lifting and grasping movements. These movements can cause the tendons of the Extensor Pollicis Brevis (EPB) and Abductor Pollicis Longus (APL) to press against the styloid process which can cause friction and irritation of the tendons. The tendons swell, reducing the space in the tunnel (Van Dongen et al 2002).

What Causes it?
The most common cause of De Quervains is chronic overuse. Activities such as golfing, fly fishing, carpentry, office workers, musicians, and carrying a child in the arms for long periods can lead to chronic overuse injuries. Other causes include direct trauma leading to scar tissue formation, or inflammatory arthritis.

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Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a therapeutic massage. This massage uses very light pressure in circles and long strokes. The aim of this treatment is to increase the flow of the lymph towards the Lymph nodes. Encouraging the Lymphatic System means encouraging your body’s immune system. The lymph carries toxins and waste products away from your tissues and Lymphatic System to the lymph nodes where it is then filtered back into the circulatory system. Lymph Nodes are like filter stations, present throughout the Lymphatic System. Its main purpose is purifying and fighting pathogenic agents. In addition, not only does it remove waste products, also carries oxygen, blood cells and nutrients to tissues throughout the body.

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How Mobile Phone Use Effects Our Necks

Mobile phones are a big part of most of our lives and we use them constantly without knowing how much pressure they are putting on our body. When using the phone, your head goes forward and tilted down (Forward Head Posture FHP) and it becoming worryingly more common among teenagers and adults.

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Physiotherapy & Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis(OA) is by far the most common form of arthritis with approximately one third of people over the age of 45 having sought treatment for osteoarthritic changes. The vast majority of pain felt with mild and moderate knee OA is surprisingly due to soft tissue changes, which can be greatly reduced with Physiotherapy and massage.

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How to Stretch Properly to Prevent Injury

It is widely regarded by both therapists and sports coaches that performing a warm up and cool down which includes a stretching protocol is an effective way to aid in reducing the risk of muscle injury. However it is often misunderstood which stretching techniques should be used in both the warm up and cool down to get the most effective results to prevent muscle injury.

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You Don’t Need To Play Tennis To Get Tennis Elbow!

The Bodyworks Team are often treating Tennis Elbow and it is important to remember it doesn’t only effect tennis players!

40% of tennis players at some point will suffer from tennis elbow, also know as Lateral epicondylitis, but it also can effect you even if you don’t play tennis. 15% of people in manual trade injuries will experience tennis elbow too.

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Dry Needling

To completely understand what Dry Needling consists of and how it works, let’s talk about trigger points..
Myofascial trigger points (also known just as trigger points), are described as hyper irritable spots in fascia and skeletal muscles. They are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibres. This small patch of contracted muscles/hyper irritable spot restricts the amount of blood supply to that area, and consequently reduces the amount of essential nutrients to the muscle to achieve muscle relaxation. Trigger Points commonly develop post exercise or when muscles are being constantly overloaded/compensating for another muscle. The most common case in the clinic is overuse/overloading of the Rhomboids from long term poor posture.

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What is My Body Trying to Tell Me?

Our body is giving us signs all the time, telling us what it needs more of or less of, but do we listen to it? Most of our nutritional education at school didn’t go further than the 5 a day rule and even that has been revised now to a healthier goal. So we want to give you a crash course on 5 signs to look out for and what your body is telling you it needs!

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Core Rehabilitation for Everyone: Abdomen and Pelvic Floor

The core is the muscles around your pelvis, hips, and abdomen that you use in most body movements [1]. Although now, people are increasingly aware of the importance of abdominal work to maintain good physical health, but still do not work well in the rest of the core, such as in the pelvic floor musculature or the Psoas muscle in the hip, which both men and women should train and maintain in the best condition possible since it is essential for good posture, prevents different injuries and to have a strong muscle base to do any type of sport. Because that, not only people with pelvic floor disorders: urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and sexual dysfunctions [2,3], who should train their pelvic floor to rehabilitate it, the pelvic floor muscles need to be much stronger in elite athletes than in other people. There is a need for more basic research on the pelvic floor muscle function during physical activity and the effect of pelvic floor muscle training in elite athletes [4,5].

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Top 5 Most Common Running Injuries

1. Runner’s Knee
Patellofemoral pain (PFP) has been reported as the most frequent running injury. Thus, it is not surprising that PFP is also known as Runner’s knee.
The pain is characterized by insidious onset anterior knee pain that is exaggerated under conditions of increased patellofemoral joint stress because the overuse, the misalignment of the patella-femur angle, problems with your feet, weak or unbalanced thigh muscles or a direct hit to the knee, like from a fall or blow [2,3].
According to the scientific literature, to prevent this injury we must have an adequate education on the management of symptoms based on training modifications. That is to say, to have a correct training in the first place. And second, make a protocol of exercises aimed at strengthening and controlling the lower extremities after running [4].

2. Achilles Tendinopathy
It is the most common Achilles tendon disorder, with the highest incidence among runners. Achilles tendinopathy can be acute or chronic. In the acute phase, the cardinal symptoms are morning pain and stiffness and pain at the beginning and end of exercise sessions, with relief in between. The tendon is diffusely swollen, and there may be palpable crepitus.

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Back Pain

Most of us have experienced back pain at some point in our lives. Research has been carried out and different treatments have been found effective in the treatment of back pain. In a systematic review by Andrea D Furlan in 2008 this is researched in detail:

Low-back pain (LBP) is a major health problem in modern society. 70% to 85% of the population will experience LBP at some time in their lives (Andersson 1999). Each year, 5% to 10% of the workforce is off work because of their LBP, the majority for less than seven days. Almost 90% of all patients with acute LBP get better quite rapidly, regardless of therapy. The remaining 10% are at risk of developing chronic pain and disability, and account for more than 90% of social costs for back incapacity” (Waddell 1998).

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Are you experiencing pain in between your shoulder blades?

Although a spasm or a tear of the muscles between the blades is a possible cause of the pain, it requires a high level of fatigue/tension or lifting a very heavy weight for it to occur. The most common way to experience pain in between the blades is by cumulative tension. The tension builds over time due to constant overuse or misuse of the muscles. You will start to feel the pain when the tension is great enough or when it goes into spasm.
Even though it is possible to have tension in rhomboids or erectors of the spine themselves by…

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Benefits of using Resistance Bands..

Resistance bands are elastic bands made out of latex and are used for all kind of low-impact exercise routines. You will most likely have seen them before in the gym, etc. They come in different colours depending on the resistance so you can tailor your exercises depending on the area you want to work on or on your level of fitness. Here there are some of the benefits of using resistance bands as part of your workout:

  • Resistance bands are good to add some variety and challenge to your routine so your muscles don’t get too used to always doing the same exercises. You can use them as you would do with regular weight or you can do more general body exercises such us adding them to certain yoga movements.

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