Q: Am I crazy or do I feel more accident prone during parts of the month? I am a woman and I heard hormone levels actually have an effect on my training! Can that be true?
A: Research suggests that women are 4-6 more times more likely than men to experience a painful knee injury when engaging in plyometric-based sports like soccer, volleyball, basketball, and dancing. Research points to hormonal surges of estrogen which appear to affect the neuro-muscular control.
During the first half of your menstrual cycle, estrogen is very dominant. During the second half progesterone is the dominant hormone, resulting in a difference of muscle timing. Large levels of estrogen in the first half have been shown to drastically increase the risk of injury.
Ways to guard against this is by focusing on your landing - if you are jumping and leaping you want to make sure you are engaging your hamstrings even more when landing. This is good advice across the board but important to remember if you are prone to knee and ankle injuries.