Effects of Combination Oral Contraceptives on Strength Development in Women Athletes

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Nichols, AW, Hetzler, RK, Villanueva, RJ, Stickley, CD, and Kimura, IF. Effects of combination oral contraceptives on strength development in women athletes. J Strength Cond Res 22(5): 1625-1632, 2008-This study was designed to investigate the effects of combination oral contraceptive agents (OCAs) on strength and torque production in collegiate women softball and water polo athletes who participated in a 12-week strength development program. A double-blind research design was used to mask subjects to the main outcome of interest. Thirty-one women collegiate softball and water polo players were divided into experimental (OCA users, n = 13), and control (non-OCA users, n = 18) groups. All subjects participated in the same supervised 12-week preseason strength development program. One-repetition maximum bench press (1RMBP), 10-repetition maximum leg extension (10RMLE), isokinetic peak torque bench press (IKBP), and isokinetic peak torque leg extension (IKLE) data were collected at weeks 0 (pre-test), 4, 8, and 12 (post-test). Significant increases in strength and torque production over time were identified regardless of group for 1RMBP, 10RMLE, and IKLE. No significant differences in IKBP torque production occurred during the 12-week strength training program. No significant differences in 1RMBP, 10RMLE, IKBP, or IKLE occurred between the OCA users and the non-OCA users groups. It was concluded that, within the limitations of the study, the use of combination OCAs did not provide sufficient androgenic effect to increase strength gains beyond the stimulus of the training protocol.

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