Effect of adiposity on insulin action after acute and chronic resistance exercise in non-diabetic women

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Dec;113(12):2933-41. doi: 10.1007/s00421-013-2725-5. Epub 2013 Sep 27.


Purpose: Obesity may attenuate metabolic health improvements following lifestyle interventions. However, the effect of adiposity on insulin action following resistance exercise in young non-diabetic women is unknown. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that adiposity attenuates improvements in insulin sensitivity and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (INS0-60/GLC0-60) after both acute resistance exercise (ARE) and progressive training (PRT).

Methods: Twenty-six young non-diabetic women (21.2 ± 0.7 years) were randomly assigned to control (C; n = 7; BF 40.1 ± 2.1 %) or exercise groups: normal body fat (NBF; n = 8; BF 29.9 ± 2.3 %) and high body fat (HBF; n = 12; BF 48.2 ± 1.4 %). Acute whole-body exercises were performed at 60 % of 1-RM for three sets of 8-12 repetitions, and PRT was performed 3 days/week for 7 weeks. A 75 g OGTT was conducted before and after ARE and PRT to estimate insulin sensitivity (Matsuda index) and INS0-60/GLC0-60. Insulin area under the curve (AUC) was calculated using the trapezoidal model.

Results: ARE had no statistical effect on insulin action across groups. Strength and fat-free mass (via DXA) increased after PRT in both NBF and HBF (p < 0.05), but only HBF women decreased BF (p < 0.01). HBF women were less insulin sensitive at baseline compared to NBF women (p < 0.05). Insulin sensitivity increased 95 % and INS0-60/GLC0-60 decreased 32 % following PRT in NBF, but not HBF or C (p < 0.05). After training, enhanced insulin sensitivity was inversely related to decreased INS0-60/GLC0-60 (r = -0.71, p < 0.001), fasting insulin (r = -0.71, p < 0.001), and insulin AUC (r = -0.85, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Seven weeks of PRT increases insulin sensitivity and reduces glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in NBF, but not HBF women. Obesity attenuates exercise-induced improvements in glucose regulation in young non-diabetic women.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult


  • Insulin