Associations of muscle strength and fitness with metabolic syndrome in men

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Aug;36(8):1301-7. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000135780.88930.a9.


Purpose: To examine the associations for muscular strength and cardiorespiratory fitness with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome among men.

Methods: Participants were 8570 men (20-75 yr) for whom an age-specific muscular strength score was computed by combining the body weight adjusted one-repetition maximum measures for the leg press and the bench press. Cardiorespiratory fitness was quantified by age-specific maximal treadmill exercise test time.

Results: Separate age and smoking adjusted logistic regression models revealed a graded inverse association for metabolic syndrome prevalence with muscular strength (beta = -0.37, P < 0.0001) and cardiorespiratory fitness (beta = -1.2, P < 0.0001). The association between strength and metabolic syndrome was attenuated (beta = -0.08, P < 0.01) when further adjusted for cardiorespiratory fitness. The association between cardiorespiratory fitness and metabolic syndrome was unchanged (beta = -1.2, P < 0.0001) after adjusting for strength. Muscular strength added to the protective effect of fitness among men with low (P trend = 0.0002) and moderate (P trend < 0.0001) fitness levels. Among normal weight (BMI < 25), overweight (BMI 25-30), and obese (BMI >or= 30) men, respectively, being strong and fit was associated with lower odds (73%, 69%, and 62% respectively, P < 0.0001) of having prevalent metabolic syndrome.

Conclusions: Muscular strength and cardiorespiratory fitness have independent and joint inverse associations with metabolic syndrome prevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise*
  • Glucose
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Fitness*
  • United States


  • Lipoproteins
  • Glucose