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.