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Moderate Resistance Training and Vascular Health in Overweight Women


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: September 2006 - Volume 38 - Issue 9 - p 1558-1564
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000227540.58916.0e
CLINICAL SCIENCES: Clinically Relevant

Purpose: Impaired endothelial function has been implicated as an initial step in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis leading to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Aerobic exercise improves vascular function and reduces risk of CVD morbidity and mortality; however, the effects of resistance training on vascular function remains unclear. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine the effects of 1 yr of resistance training (RT) on vascular structure and function in overweight but otherwise healthy eumenorrheic women.

Methods: Study participants consisted of 30 (15 control, 15 RT) overweight (BMI > 25 kg·m−2) women, aged 24-44 yr, studied before and after a 1-yr RT intervention. Vascular structure and function were assessed via noninvasive ultrasound imaging of the carotid and brachial arteries, respectively. Body composition, blood pressure, and fasting blood lipids and glucose also were measured.

Results: The RT group demonstrated a significant mean improvement in one-repetition maximum bench press following 1 yr of RT (P < 0.05). There also was a significant increase in lean body mass in the RT group compared with the control group (P = 0.04). There were no training-associated changes in blood pressure, fasting blood lipids, glucose, or insulin levels. Although there was no change in carotid artery intimamedia thickness, peak flow-mediated dilation significantly improved in the RT group (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: The principal significant finding in this study was the initial demonstration that RT alone can improve brachial artery endothelial function in overweight eumenorrheic women.

1University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN; and 2Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN

Address for correspondence: Thomas P. Olson, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic- Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, 200 1st Street NW, Joseph 4-225C, Rochester, MN 55905; E-mail:

Submitted for publication January 2006.

Accepted for publication April 2006.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine