Regional fat distribution (RFD) has been associated with metabolic derangements in populations with obesity. For example, upper body fat patterning is associated with higher levels of free testosterone (FT) and lower levels of sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG). We sought to determine the extent to which this relationship was true in a healthy (i.e., non-obese) female population and whether RFD influenced androgen responses to resistance exercise. This study examined the effects of RFD on total testosterone (TT), FT, and SHBG responses to an acute resistance exercise test (ARET) among 47 women (22+/-3 years; 165+/-6 cm; 62+/-8 kg; 25+/-5%BF; 23+/-3 BMI). RFD was characterized by 3 separate indices: waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), ratio of upper arm fat to mid-thigh fat assessed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI ratio), and ratio of subscapular to triceps ratio (SB/TRi ratio). Skinfolds were measured for the triceps, chest, subscapular, mid-axillary, suprailaic, abdomen, and thigh regions. The ARET consisted of 6 sets of 10 RM squats separated by 2-min rest periods. Blood was obtained pre- and post- ARET. TT, FT, and SHBG concentrations were determined by radioimmunoassay. Subjects were divided into tertiles from the indices of RFD, and statistical analyses were performed by an ANOVA with repeated measures (RFD and exercise as main effects). Significant (p < or = .05) increases following the AHRET were observed for TT (approximately 25%), FT (approximately 25%), and SHBG (4%). With multiple regression analysis, anthropometric measures significantly predicted pre- concentrations of FT, post-concentrations of TT, and pre-concentrations of SHBG. The SB/TRi and MRI ratios but not the WHR, were discriminant for hormonal concentrations among the tertiles. In young, healthy women, resistance exercise can induce transient increases in testosterone, and anthropometric markers of adiposity correlate with testosterone concentrations.