Chelsea Women are one of the first football clubs to tailor their training to players’ menstrual cycle.
Since before the start of the season, the club has designed players’ individual plans around the phases of their menstrual cycle, which will allow nutrition and training schedules to take into account the fluctuations in weight as well as other changes which occur. It is hoped that taking this into account will reduce incidence of injury, with numerous issues such as anterior cruciate ligaments and other soft tissue injuries linked to menstruation.
Telegraph Women’s Sport report that the initiative is driven by Chelsea Women coach Emma Hayes, who noticed the link between menstruation when her side lost to Arsenal in the 2016 FA Cup final.
“We had a lot of players in and around their period for that game,” she said. “I remember watching players close the ball down and thinking everything was reactive and second-best. That was the starting point.”
Hayes and Chelsea are now said to be working with Dr Georgie Bruinvels, who is behind the app FitrWoman along with sport science company Orreco. The app was initially developed for female athletes to log their symptoms in order to monitor their menstrual health.
Arsenal attacker Jordan Nobbs, who missed out on a place in the England squad at the 2019 World Cup because of a knee injury has also called for a review into the link between players’ menstrual cycles and injuries, saying that the fact she had just started her menstrual cycle at the time was a ‘high factor’ in her sustaining the injury.