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Kirsty Elliott-Sale

Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr Elliott-Sale is the Head of the Musculoskeletal Physiology Research Group and the Postgraduate Research Tutor for the School of Science and Technology. She is also responsible for teaching on the undergraduate and postgraduate Sport Science degree programmes. Dr Elliott-Sale is the Module Leader for the “Sport Project and Dissertation” module. Dr Elliott-Sale teaches mainly in the areas of Exercise Physiology and particularly in Female Physiology, Performance, and Health.

Career overview

Dr Elliott-Sale completed her undergraduate degree and PhD at Liverpool John Moores University. She worked as a Lecturer at Brunel University and the University of Brighton before undertaking a four-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Kings College London. Dr Elliott-Sale joined NTU in September 2009 as a Senior Lecturer on a part-time basis; since then she has been promoted to Associate Professor and now works full-time.

Research areas

Dr Elliott-Sale is the Head of the Musculoskeletal Physiology Research Group and a member of the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement Research Centre. She has more than 20 years of experience working predominately with females, particularly with elite female athletes and maternal populations (e.g., postpartum women). She has an international reputation in female endocrinology and musculoskeletal physiology, as well as expertise in exercise physiology with specific regards to the design and implementation of exercise-based interventions. She has extensive experience in running research projects in sporting, clinical and academic environments.

Since the completion of her PhD, which examined the effects of female reproductive hormones on muscle strength, her research has concentrated on various aspects of health and athletic performance in female populations. She has the following main areas of interest:

  • The effects of menstrual cycle phase an oral contraceptives on athletic performance
  • Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport and the Female Athlete Triad
  • Maternal Obesity: exercise and nutrition-based interventions for weight management during and following pregnancy
  • Musculoskeletal Health and Metabolism: the bone metabolic responses to strenuous exercise and feeding

Current PhD Students:


Stephanie Hanley

Elisa Nedelec

Joe Matthews

Rita Civil


Kelly McNulty (Northumbria University)

Lloyd Parker (Liverpool John Moores University)

Guy Pitchers (Canterbury Christ Church University)

Lee McGarrigal (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Previous PhD Students:

Dr Maria Papageorgiou

Dr Rebecca Townsend

Dr Dan Martin

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate work towards an MPhil/PhD exist and further information may be obtained from the NTU Doctoral School.

External activity

Dr Elliott-Sale is an advisor for the English Institute of Sport on female athlete related projects and a contributor to their SmartHer project. She is also an advisor forthe Football Association as a member of their women’s football scientific advisory committee. She is an external examiner (MRes in Sport Science) for Liverpool Hope University and Loughborough University (MSc in Exercise Physiology). Dr Elliott-Sale is an Associate Editor for the journal Nutrition and Health.

Sponsors and collaborators

Selected Collaborators

  • Prof Craig Sale, Professor of Human Physiology, Nottingham Trent University, UK
  • Prof William Fraser, Professor of Medicine, Head of Department of Medicine, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, UK
  • Prof Graeme Close, Professor of Human Physiology, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
  • Dr Julie Greeves OBE, Research Director, Women in Ground Close Combat programme, UK
  • Dr Lucy Kean, Service Lead for Obstetrics, Consultant Foetal and Maternal Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals, UK
  • Dr Kevin Currell, Director of Science and Technical Development, English Institute of Sport, UK
  • Dr Sharon Madigan, Head of Performance Nutrition, Irish Institute of Sport, Ireland
  • Dr Kathryn Ackerman, Medical Director - Female Athlete Program, Division of Sports Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Associate Director - Sports Endocrine Research Lab, Neuroendocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Assistant Professor - Harvard Medical School, USA
  • Dr Donna Duffy, Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA
  • Dr Kathryn Jackson, Lecturer & Coordinator BSHAPA Nutrition stream, Flinders University, Australia
  • Dr Clare Minahan, Associate Professor, Griffith University, Australia

Recent Research Funding:

  • Women in Ground Close Combat - Ministry of Defence Grant (£830,000)
  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Development Project examining the role of exercise-based text messages on postpartum weight loss in overweight and obese women (£30,000)
  • NIHR Feeder Grant examining the effects of exercise on health and weight loss during pregnancy and following childbirth (£33,000)


Book Chapter

Elliott-Sale, K., & Hicks, K. (2018). Hormonal-Based Contraception and the Exercising Female. In J. Forsyth, & C-M. Roberts (Eds.), The Exercising Female: Science and Its Application (Routledge Research in Sport and Exercise Science). Taylor & Francis.


Invited author for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Nutrition Consensus on ‘Nutrition for Special Populations: Young, Female, and Master athletes’.

Selected peer-reviewed publications

  1. Ackerman, K.E., Stellingwerff, T., Elliott-Sale, K.J., et al. (2020). #REDS (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport): time for a revolution in sports culture and systems to improve athlete health and performance. British Journal of Sports Medicine, doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2019-101926.
  2. Dolan, E., Varley, I., Ackerman, K.E., Pereira, R.M.R., Elliott-Sale, K.J. and Sale, C. (2019). The Use of Bone Remodelling Markers in Sport and Exercise Science. Exercise and Sport Science Reviews. doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000215. [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Sale, C. and Elliott-Sale, K.J. (2019). Nutrition and Athlete Bone Health. Sports Medicine, 49 (Suppl 2):139-151. doi: 10.1007/s40279-019-01161-2.
  4. Saunders, B., Virgile, A., Elliott-Sale, K.J., et al. (2019). Infographic. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of β-alanine supplementation on exercise capacity and performance. British Journal of Sports Medicine, doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2019-101129
  5. Alwan, N., Moss, S.L., Elliott-Sale, K.J., Davies, I.G. and Enright, K. (2019). A Narrative Review on Female Physique Athletes: The Physiological and Psychological Implications of Weight Management Practices. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, 29, 1-22. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2019-0037. [Epub ahead of print]
  6. Desbrow, B., Burd, N.A., Tarnopolsky, M., Moore, D.R. and Elliott-Sale, K.J. (2019). Nutrition for Special Populations: Young, Female, and Masters Athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, 15, 1-8. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0269.
  7. Elliott-Sale K.J, Graham A, Hanley S, Blumenthal SL, and Sale C. (2019). Modern dietary guidelines for healthy pregnancy; maximising maternal and foetal outcomes and limiting excessive gestational weight gain. European Journal of Sport Science, 19, 62-70. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1476591.
  8. Elliott-Sale K.J, Tenforde, A.S., Parziale, A.L., Holtzman, B.S. and Ackerman, K.E. (2018). Endocrine Effects of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, 28 (4), 335-349. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0127
  9. Papageorgiou, M., Martin, D., Colgan, H., Cooper, S., Greeves, J.P., Tang, J.C.Y., Fraser, W.D., Elliott-Sale, K.J. and Sale, C. (2018). Bone metabolic responses to low energy availability achieved by diet or exercise in active eumenorrheic women. Bone, 114, 181-188. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2018.06.016.
  10. Martin, D., Cooper, S., Sale, C. and Elliott-Sale, K.J. (2018). The prevalence of hormonal contraceptives in elite female athletes. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 13 (7), 926-932. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2017-0330.
  11. Santos, L, Elliott-Sale, K.J. and Sale C. (2017). Exercise and bone health across the lifespan. Biogerentology, 18 (6), 931-946. doi: 10.1007/s10522-017-9732-6.
  12. Papageorgiou, M., Elliott-Sale, K.J., Parsons, A., Tang, J.C.Y., Greeves, J.P., Fraser, W.D. and Sale, C. (2017). Effects of reduced energy availability on bone metabolism in men and women. Bone, 105, 191-199. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2017.08.019.
  13. Papageorgiou, M., Dolan, E., Elliott-Sale, K.J. and Sale C. (2017). Reduced Energy Availability: Implications for Bone Health in Physically Active Populations. European Journal of Nutrition. doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1498-8.
  14. Swift, J.A., Pearce, J., Jethwa, P.H., Taylor, M.A., Avery, A., Ellis, S., Langley-Evans, S.C., McMullen, S. and Elliott-Sale, K.J. (2017). Antenatal weight management: Diet, physical activity levels and body mass in early pregnancy. Midwifery, 49, 40-46. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2017.01.016
  15. Townsend, R., Elliott-Sale, K.J., Currell, K., Fraser, W.D. and Sale, C. (2017). The Effect of Postexercise Carbohydrate and Protein Ingestion on Bone Metabolism. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 49 (6), 1209-1218. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001211
  16. Elliott-Sale, K.J. (2017). The effects of exercise on postpartum weight retention in overweight and obese women. Current Women's Health Reviews [Invited review], 13 (1), 11-16. doi: 10.2174/1573404812666160815120213
  17. Martin, D. and Elliott-Sale, K.J. (2016). The Effects of Hormonal Contraceptives on Determinants of Female Athlete Performance: A Mini-Review. Brazilian Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 30 (4), 1087-96. doi:
  18. Saunders, B., Elliott-Sale, K.J., Artioli, G.G., Swinton, P.A., Dolan, E., Hamilton, R, Sale, C. and Gualano, B. (2016). β-alanine supplementation and exercise performance: a systematic review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51 (8), 658-669. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096396
  19. Townsend, R., Elliott-Sale, K.J., Scott, J.P.R., Currell, K., Fraser, W. and Sale, C. (2016) Exploring the mechanism for changes in parathyroid hormone (PTH) during and after endurance exercise. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 101 (8), 3231-3239. doi:10.1210/jc.2016-1848.
  20. Elliott-Sale, K.J., Barnett, C.T. and Sale, C. (2015). Systematic review of randomised controlled trials on exercise interventions for weight management during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum among normal weight, overweight and obese women. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49 (20), 1336-42. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2014-093875.
  21. Martin, D., Cooper, S.B., Sale, C., Compton, G. and Elliott-Sale, K.J. (2015). Reliability of force and cross-sectional area measurements of the first dorsal interosseus muscle. Journal of Sport Sciences, 33 (11), 1159-1165 doi:10.1080/02640414.2014.986504.
  22. Elliott-Sale, K.J. (2014). The relationship between oestrogen and muscle strength: a current perspective. Brazilian Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 28 (2), 339-349. [Invited Review]. doi:
  23. Elliott-Sale, K.J., Hannah, R., Bussell, C.D, Parsons, A., Jones, P.G.W. and Sale C. (2014). A pilot-study evaluating the effects of a 12 week exergaming programme on body mass, size and composition in postpartum females. International Journal of Multidisciplinary and Current Research, 2, 131-138. ISSN:2321-3124:
  24. Hobson, R.M., Harris, R.C., Martin, D., Smith, P., Macklin, B., Elliott-Sale, K.J. and Sale, C. (2014). Effect of sodium bicarbonate supplementation on 2000m rowing performance. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 9, 139-144. doi:10.1123/IJSPP.2013-0086.
  25. Elliott-Sale, K.J., Smith, S., Bacon, J., Clayton, D., McPhilimey, M., Goutianos, G., Hampson, J. and Sale, C. (2013). Examining the role of OC users as an experimental and/or control group in athletic performance studies. Contraception, 88 (3), 408-412. doi:S0010-7824(12)01031-1. 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.11.023.
  26. Elliott, K.J., Cable, N.T., Reilly, T., Sefton, V., Kingsland, C. and Diver, M. (2005) Effects of supra-physiological changes in ovarian hormone levels on force production. Experimental Physiology, 90, 2115-223. doi:10.1113/expphysiol.2004.028258.
  27. Elliott, K.J., Cable, N.T. and Reilly, T. (2005). Does oral contraceptive use affect maximum force production in females? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39, 15-19. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2003.009886.
  28. Cable, N.T. and Elliott, K.J. (2004). The influence of reproductive hormones on muscle strength. Biological Rhythm Research, 35, 235-244. [Invited Review] doi:10.1080/09291010412331335788.
  29. Elliott, K.J., Cable, N.T., Reilly, T. and Diver, M.J. (2003). Effect of menstrual cycle phase on the concentration of bioavailable oestradiol and testosterone and maximum force production in females. Clinical Science, 105, 663-669. doi:10.1042/CS20020360.
  30. Elliott, K.J., Sale, C. and Cable, N.T. (2002). Effects of resistance training and detraining on muscle strength and blood lipid profiles in postmenopausal women. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 36, 340-344. doi:10.1136/bjsm.36.5.340.

See all of Kirsty Elliott-Sale 's publications...

Press expertise

  • Female athletes
  • The Female athlete Triad
  • Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S)
  • Female physiology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Musculoskeletal physiology
  • Maternal obesity
  • Pregnancy