The objective of the study was to evaluate the effects of acute and chronic resistance training on glucose and insulin responses to a glucose load in women with type 2 diabetes. Subjects consisted of type 2 diabetic women (n = 7) and age-matched controls (n = 8) with normal glucose tolerance. All subjects participated in 3 oral glucose tolerance tests: pretraining, 12 to 24 hours after the first exercise session (acute) and 60 to 72 hours after the final training session (chronic). Exercise training consisted of a whole body resistance exercise program using weight-lifting machines 3 days per week for 6 weeks. Resistance training was effective in increasing strength of all muscle groups in all subjects. Integrated glucose concentration expressed as area under the curve (AUC) was 3,355.0 +/- 324.6 mmol/L. min pretraining, improved significantly (P <.01) after the acute bout of exercise (2,868 +/- 324.0 mmol/L. min), but was not improved with chronic training (3,206.0 +/- 337.0 mmol/L. min) in diabetic subjects. A similar pattern of significance was observed with peak glucose concentration (pre: 20.2 +/-1.4 mmol/L; acute: 17.2 +/- 1.7 mmol/L; chronic: 19.9 +/- 1.7 mmol/L). There were no significant changes in insulin concentrations after any exercise bout in the diabetic subjects. There were no changes in glucose or insulin levels in control subjects. An acute bout of resistance exercise was effective in improving integrated glucose concentration, including reducing peak glucose concentrations in women with type 2 diabetes, but not age-matched controls. There were no significant changes in insulin concentrations for either group. Resistance exercise offers an alternative to aerobic exercise for improving glucose control in diabetic patients. To realize optimal glucose control benefits, individuals must follow a regular schedule that includes daily exercise.