Resistance training, visceral obesity and inflammatory response: a review of the evidence

Obes Rev. 2012 Jul;13(7):578-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.00988.x. Epub 2012 Mar 2.


Intra-abdominal obesity is an important risk factor for low-grade inflammation, which is associated with increased risk for diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. For the most part, recommendations to treat or prevent overweight and obesity via physical activity have focused on aerobic endurance training as it is clear that aerobic training is associated with much greater energy expenditure during the exercise session than resistance training. However, due to the metabolic consequences of reduced muscle mass, it is understood that normal ageing and/or decreased physical activity may lead to a higher prevalence of metabolic disorders. Whether resistance training alters visceral fat and the levels of several pro-inflammatory cytokines produced in adipose tissue has not been addressed in earlier reviews. Because evidence suggests that resistance training may promote a negative energy balance and may change body fat distribution, it is possible that an increase in muscle mass after resistance training may be a key mediator leading to a better metabolic control. Considering the benefits of resistance training on visceral fat and inflammatory response, an important question is: how much resistance training is needed to confer such benefits? Therefore, the purpose of this review was to address the importance of resistance training on abdominal obesity, visceral fat and inflammatory response.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Obesity, Abdominal / prevention & control*
  • Resistance Training*