Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have greater muscle strength irrespective of body composition

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2015 Mar;31(3):237-42. doi: 10.3109/09513590.2014.982083. Epub 2014 Nov 28.


The aim of this study was to compare metabolic parameters, body composition (BC) and muscle strength of women with and without polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This was a case-control study that evaluated 40 women with PCOS and 40 controls. Androgens and insulin resistance were measured. BC was based on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Isometric handgrip and maximal dynamic muscle strength (1-RM) strength tests were performed. Median total testosterone (p < 0.01), free androgen index (p < 0.01), insulin (p < 0.01) and homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (p = 0.02) were higher and sex hormone binding globulin (SBHG) (p = 0.04) was lower in the PCOS group. Normoweight women with PCOS had higher percentages of android body fat. However, the prevalence of android fat distribution was higher in the PCOS than in the control group (p = 0.04). The strength 1-RM in bench press (p < 0.01), muscle strength relative to lean muscle mass in the dominant lower limb (p = 0.04) and isometric handgrip strength tests (p = 0.03) was higher in the PCOS group. PCOS was a determinant of strength in the bench press exercise (p = 0.04). The hyperandrogenism was a predictor of increased strength in biceps curl exercises (p = 0.03) in the dominant lower limb (p = 0.02) and isometric handgrip strength (p = 0.03). In conclusion, women with PCOS have greater muscle strength and a higher prevalence of central obesity, but no difference in BC. Muscle strength may be related to high androgen levels in these women.

Keywords: Body composition; insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism; muscle strength; polycystic ovary syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Androgens / blood
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult


  • Androgens
  • Insulin