Weight lifted in strength training predicts bone change in postmenopausal women

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Jan;35(1):10-7. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200301000-00003.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between weight lifted in 1 yr of progressive strength training and change in bone mineral density (BMD) in a group of calcium-replete, postmenopausal women.

Methods: As part of a large clinical trial, 140 calcium-supplemented women, 44-66 yr old, were randomized to a 1-yr progressive strength-training program. Half of the women were using hormone replacement therapy. Three times weekly, subjects completed two sets of six to eight repetitions in eight core exercises at 70-80% of one repetition maximum. BMD was measured at baseline and 1 yr.

Results: In multiple linear regression, the increase in femur trochanter (FT) BMD was positively related to total weight lifted (0.001 g.cm (-2)) for a SD of weight lifted, P< 0.01) after adjusting for age, baseline factors, HRT status, weight change, cohort, and fitness center. The weighted squats showed the strongest (0.002 g.cm(-2)) for a SD of weight lifted, P< 0.001), whereas the back extension exhibited the weakest (0.0005 g.cm(-2)) for a SD of weight lifted, P< 0.26) association with change in FT BMD. The amount of weight lifted in the weighted march exercise was significantly related to total body BMD (0.0006 g.cm(-2)) for a SD of weight lifted, P< 0.01). The associations between weight lifted and BMD for the femur neck or lumbar spine were not significant.

Conclusion: Evidence of a linear relationship between BMD change and total and exercise-specific weight lifted in a 1-yr strength-training program reinforces the positive association between this type of exercise and BMD in postmenopausal women.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Bone Density*
  • Female
  • Femur / physiology
  • Femur Neck / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / physiology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Regression Analysis
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*