New research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that strength training is effective for preventing increases in body fat in overweight and obese premenopausal women.
The research was based on the fact that “American women aged 25 – 44 y gain 0.5 – 1 kg yearly, most of which is fat.” The goal of the study was to see if twice weekly strength training would affect this figure.
The study involved two groups (82 women in each). The first group did twice weekly strength training for two years. The sessions lasted one hour and the training consisted of exercises of three sets of 8-10 repetitions. The second group (control) received brochures recommending 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days and focused on walking. There were no dietary changes involved.
At the end of the two year period, the researchers found that the strength training group lost 3.68 percent body fat versus only a 0.14 percent drop in the control group. Also, intra-abdominal fat increased in the strength training group by 7 percent verses 21.4 percent in the control group.
Clearly, this study shows that strength training can alter body composition in premenopausal women in a positive way. But what’s unfortunate is that many women in this category never pick up a weight. If they do decide to exercise the typical recommendation is 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on most days of the week.