Effect of combined resistance and endurance exercise training on regional fat loss

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2017 Jun;57(6):794-801. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06358-1.


Background: The present study tested the possibility of a localized fat mass (FM) reduction by means of training programmes focusing on specific bodily regions.

Methods: Sixteen physically inactive women (age: 31±4; BMI: 27.5±2.1), randomly allocated to two groups, completed an 8 week training programme. In one group (UpBdResist) training sessions consisted of upper body resistance exercises followed by 30-minute cycling at 50%VO2max, while the other group (LwBdResist) performed lower body resistance exercises followed by 30 minutes on an arm-ergometer. Regional body composition was assessed by DEXA and skin fold measures.

Results: Regardless of a similar reduction in both groups, UpBdResist training elicited a greater reduction of the upper limbs (UL) FM as compared to the lower limbs (LL) (Δ% UL vs. LL: -12.1±3.4 vs. -4.0±4.7; P=0.02). Conversely, in the LwBdResist group, FM loss was more pronounced in the LL as compared to the UL (Δ% UL vs. LL: -2.3±7.0 vs. -11.5±8.2, P=0.02). Likewise, LwBdResist elicited a larger effect on lean mass (LM) of the LL as compared to UL (Δ% LL vs. UL: +8.4±5.8 vs. -2.7±5.0, P<0.01), yet no differences between upper and lower limb LM changes were detected in UpBdResist group.

Conclusions: The present data suggest that a training programme entailing localized explosive resistance exercise, prior to an endurance exercise bout, may target specific adipose tissue sites eliciting localised fat mass loss in the upper and lower limbs.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / physiology
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Upper Extremity / physiology