To assess the individual and combined effects of weight loss and weight training on body weight and body composition, 40 obese women were randomly assigned to one of four groups for an 8 wk weight-loss study. These groups were control (C); diet without exercise (DO); diet plus weight training (DPE); and weight training without diet (EO). Body weight decreased for DO (-4.47 kg) and DPE (-3.89 kg) compared with C (-0.38 kg) and EO (0.45 kg). Lean body weight (LBW) increased for EO (1.07 kg) compared with DO (-0.91 kg) and C (-0.31 kg) and for DPE (0.43 kg) compared with DO. Upper-arm muscle areas (determined by radiograph) increased for DPE (11.2 cm2) and EO (10.4 cm2) compared with C (2.7 cm2) and DO (2.1 cm2). It was concluded that weight training results in comparable gains in muscle area and strength for DPE and EO. Adding weight training exercise to a caloric restriction program results in maintenance of LBW compared with DO.