Strength training & perimenopause

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  • #50178

    I’m in my mid-40s and full on experiencing perimenopause. I’ve read that women going through perimenopause/ who have transitioned to menopause should focus on lifting heavy – low reps and high weights. How does this align with the type of strength training plans for mountain running? If I’m following a training plan for mountain running, should I follow the prescribed strength workouts or should I focus more on heavier lifting because it is considered more beneficial for women going through perimenopause?

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    lucye on #50230

    Hi April, +1 here. Just listened to the Menopause Feisties’ interview with Erin Carson and I’m also feeling pretty confused about how (whether?) to incorporate #LHS guidelines into the UA programs. The awareness of how perimenopausal/menopausal women respond better to different approaches to training (compared to their younger selves, and also to men of the same age) is really just opening up, and I’d love to hear some of the UA female coaches’ perspectives.

    Rachel on #50291

    @Aprilvanert, are you using a specific training plan? What you describe sounds like a Max Strength training block as described in Training for the New Alpinism. And then in Training for the Uphill Athlete it appears in Stage 3 of General Strength (the earlier stages look like they use higher reps to increase muscle mass to get to a baseline level.)

    The focus of max strength is a neuromuscular one that recruits more muscle fibers so that you get stronger without adding mass.

    I took a look at the Intro to Ultras plan since I’m currently using it myself. The max strength shows up in the form of hill sprints. You could add in upper body max strength as well. I’ve done it in the past with pushups and chin-ups/assisted pull-ups but there are lots of options. I’m not sure about the other plans but I’m sure someone will chime in if you let us know what one you are following!

    aprilvanert on #50305

    Thanks for the replies. I’m currently following a custom plan built by a local coach and I have one more month to go. I’m looking at buying one of the UA programs to continue my training but have been wondering whether I could use the strength programs that will be included or if I should spring for the cost of working with a strength trainer once a month. I guess I was wondering if anyone had experience or knew of any resources talking about the best type of strength program for a woman ultra runner experiencing declining estrogen and what that means for building muscle and overall training adaptation.

    Anonymous on #50340

    Hi April and Lucye,
    Rachel is 100% correct, “heavier lifting” is much like Max Strength that is often utilized in UA training programs. The most difficult piece of this question to answer is that it is very unique to every woman. As we begin to move through peri-post menopause all hormones drop. Causing a host of issues. To be as general as I can, Yes. Short answer, heavier lifting has been shown to be more benefical for women heading into menopause and after. However please understand that “heavier” lifting, max weights mean movements closer to muscle fatigue causing failure of the ability to do a rep or form loss. That in turn means you must have really good form, do a proper warm up, and understand the purpose of those movements to avoid injury. So depending on your experience level in the gym setting you might want to get some advice from a qualified strength conditioning coach – again not an easy task finding one. As for layering this in for mtn running, again it will be specific to your training cycle, level at which you perform, cycling it in seasonally or year round maintenance. Buying a “plan” is great however it isn’t catered to each individual. Starting your UA program, learning movements for a month or two with lower weights to avoid injury and then transitioning to max strength would be the bests over all approach and stay with max strength in the gym longer term, ME you need can be done through your sport. Listen to your body when it comes to max strength, if anything feels tweaky stop, make sure to get quality recovery weeks, and enjoy the process most of all ( :

    aprilvanert on #50420

    That’s a great response, thank you!

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