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Hormonal Contraceptive Use Does Not Affect Strength, Endurance, or Body Composition Adaptations to Combined Strength and Endurance Training in Women

Myllyaho, Moona M.1; Ihalainen, Johanna K.1; Hackney, Anthony C.2,3; Valtonen, Maarit4; Nummela, Ari4; Vaara, Elina5; Häkkinen, Keijo1; Kyröläinen, Heikki1; Taipale, Ritva S.6

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: June 20, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002713
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Myllyaho, MM, Ihalainen, JK, Hackney, AC, Valtonen, M, Nummela, A, Vaara, E, Häkkinen, K, Kyröläinen, H, and Taipale, RS. Hormonal contraceptive use does not affect strength, endurance, or body composition adaptations to combined strength and endurance training in women. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2018—This study examined the effects of a 10-week period of high-intensity combined strength and endurance training on strength, endurance, body composition, and serum hormone concentrations in physically active women using hormonal contraceptives (HCs, n = 9) compared with those who had never used hormonal contraceptives (NHCs, n = 9). Training consisted of 2 strength training sessions and 2 high-intensity running interval sessions per week. Maximal bilateral isometric leg press (Isom), maximal bilateral dynamic leg press (one repetition maximum [1RM]), countermovement jump (CMJ), a 3,000-m running test (3,000 m), body composition, and serum hormone levels were measured before and after training between days 1–5 of each subject's menstrual cycle. Both groups increased 1RM and CMJ: HC = 13.2% (p < 0.001) and 9.6% (p < 0.05), and NHC = 8.3% (p < 0.01) and 8.5% (p < 0.001). Hormonal contraceptive improved 3,000 m by 3.5% (p < 0.05) and NHC by 1% (n.s.). Never used hormonal contraceptive increased lean mass by 2.1% (p < 0.001), whereas body fat percentage decreased from 23.9 ± 6.7 to 22.4 ± 6.0 (−6.0%, p < 0.05). No significant changes were observed in body composition in HC. No significant between-group differences were observed in any of the performance variables. Luteinizing hormone concentrations decreased significantly (p < 0.05) over 10 weeks in NHC, whereas other hormone levels remained statistically unaltered in both groups. It seems that the present training is equally appropriate for improving strength, endurance, and body composition in women using HC as those not using HC without disrupting hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis function.

1Biology of Physical Activity, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland;

2Department of Exercise & Sport Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina;

3Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina;

4Research Institute for Olympic Sport, Jyväskylä, Finland;

5JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland; and

6Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Kajaani, Finland

Address correspondence to Moona M. Myllyaho, moona.myllyaho@gmail.com.

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