Resistive training increases fat-free mass and maintains RMR despite weight loss in postmenopausal women

A. S. Ryan, R. E. Pratley, D. Elahi, A. P. Goldberg


Percent body fat increases with age and is often accompanied by a loss in muscle mass, strength, and energy expenditure. The effects of 16 wk of resistive training (RT) alone or with weight loss (RTWL) on strength (isokinetic dynamometer), body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), resting metabolic rate (RMR) (indirect calorimetry), and sympathetic nervous system activity (catecholamines) were examined in 15 postmenopausal women (50–69 yr). RT resulted in significant improvements in upper and lower body strength in both groups (P < 0.01). The nonobese women in the RT group (n = 8) did not change their body weight or fat mass with training. In the obese RTWL group (n = 7), body weight, fat mass, and percent body fat were significantly decreased (P < 0.001). Fat-free mass and RMR significantly increased with training in both groups combined (P < 0.05). There were no significant changes in resting arterialized plasma norepinephrine or epinephrine levels in either group with training. RT increases strength with and without weight loss. Furthermore, RT and RTWL increase fat-free mass and RMR and decrease percent fat in postmenopausal women. Thus, RT may be a valuable component of an integrated weight management program in postmenopausal women.