Effect of resistance training on muscular strength and indicators of abdominal adiposity, metabolic risk, and inflammation in postmenopausal women: controlled and randomized clinical trial of efficacy of training volume

Age (Dordr). 2016 Apr;38(2):40. doi: 10.1007/s11357-016-9901-6. Epub 2016 Mar 17.


This study evaluated the effect of resistance training (RT) volume on muscular strength and on indicators of abdominal adiposity, metabolic risk, and inflammation in post-menopausal women (PW). Thirty-two volunteers were randomly allocated into the following three groups: control (CT, no exercise, n = 11), low-volume RT (LV, three sets/exercise, n = 10), and high-volume RT (HV, six sets/exercise, n = 11). The LV and HV groups performed eight exercises at 70 % of one maximal repetition, three times a week, for 16 weeks. Muscular strength and indicators of abdominal adiposity, metabolic risk, and inflammation were measured at baseline and after 16 weeks. No differences were found in baseline measures between the groups. The PW showed excess weight and fat percentage (F%), large waist circumference (WC), high waist-hip ratio (WHR), and hypercholesterolemia and borderline values of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c%). Following the RT, a similar increase in muscle strength and reduction in F% from baseline were found in both trained groups. In HV, a decrease in total cholesterol, LDL-c, WC, and WHR was noted. Moreover, the HV showed a lower change (delta%) of interleukin-6 (IL-6) when compared to CT (HV = 11.2 %, P 25-75 = -7.6-28.4 % vs. CT = 99.55 %, P 25-75 = 18.5-377.0 %, p = 0.049). In LV, a decrease was noted for HbA1c%. There were positive correlations (delta%) between WHR and IL-6 and between IL-6 and TC. These results suggest that while a low-volume RT improves HbA1c%, F%, and muscular strength, a high-volume RT is necessary to improve indicators of abdominal adiposity and lipid metabolism and also prevent IL-6 increases in PW.

Keywords: Exercise; Glycosylated hemoglobin; Menopause; Obesity; Sarcopenia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Obesity, Abdominal / metabolism
  • Obesity, Abdominal / physiopathology
  • Obesity, Abdominal / rehabilitation*
  • Postmenopause*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcopenia / metabolism
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology
  • Sarcopenia / rehabilitation*
  • Waist-Hip Ratio


  • Biomarkers
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A