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Short-term progressive resistance training increases strength and lean body mass in adults infected with human immunodeficiency virus

Roubenoff, Ronenn*†‡; McDermott, Ann‡; Weiss, Lauren‡; Suri, Juliet‡; Wood, Michael*‡; Bloch, Rina§; Gorbach, Sherwood*†

Clinical: Original Papers

Background: To assess the efficacy of progressive resistance training (PRT) in increasing strength and lean body mass (LBM) in HIV-infected adults.

Methods: Twenty-five adults with HIV infection were trained using a highly intensive PRT regimen for 8 weeks, followed by an additional 8 weeks of observation under ad libitum physical activity conditions.

Results: Twenty-four of the 25 patients completed the first phase of the study. They had significant increases in strength on all four exercises tested (P<0.0001), and an increase in LBM of 1.75±1.94kg (mean±SD, P<0.0002), with a concomitant decline in fat of 0.92±2.22kg (P<0.05), and no significant change in weight or bone mineral content. Twenty-one of the patients returned for follow-up 8 weeks after completing the PRT. Compared with their baseline values, their mean lean mass remained 1.40±1.8kg higher (P<0.003). Among those who continued to train to some extent, lean mass increased by a mean of 1.1±1.6kg (n=9, P<0.05 versus end of PRT), whereas those who did no further training showed an increase in lean mass of 0.28±1.4kg (n=12, P=NS versus end of PRT). The difference between the two groups was not, however, significant (P=0.25). Among six patients with AIDS wasting, the increase in LBM was larger than among non-wasted patients (2.8 versus 1.4kg, P<0.06), and there was an increase in both weight (+3.9 versus -0.2kg, P<0.002) and fat mass (+ 0.95 versus -1.5kg, P<0.002) at 8 weeks, which persisted at 16 weeks (weight: +4.0 versus -1.6kg, P<0.0002; fat: +1.6 versus -1.9kg, P<0.01).

Conclusion: This preliminary study suggests that short-term, high intensity PRT can significantly increase LBM and strength in HIV infection, and may be used as an alternative or adjunct to pharmacological anabolic treatments in this disease.

From the *Department of Community Health, and Tupper Research Institute, Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA; Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA; and § Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Sponsorship: This work was supported by NIH grant DK45734 and through the General Clinical Research Center funded by the Division of Research Resources of the NIH under grant M01-RR00054, and by a gift from the Keiser Sports Health Equipment Company.

The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the US Department of Agriculture, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the US government.

Requests for reprints to: Ronenn Roubenoff, MD, MHS, Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA HNRCA, Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Tel: +1 617-556-3172; fax: +1-617-556-3344; e-mail: roubenoff@hnrc.tufts.edu.

Date of receipt: 2 September 1998; revised: 28 October 1998; accepted: 4 November 1998

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.