Weight Training Increases Fat-Free Mass and Strength in Untrained Young Women

    Address correspondence to: Kathleen Cullinen, MS, RD, Rhode Island Department of Health, Division of Family Health, 3 Capitol Hill, Room 302, Providence, RI 02908.
    K. Cullinen is a public health nutritionist with the Rhode Island Department of Health, Division of Family Health, in Providence, USA.
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    M. Caldwell is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Rhode Island, West Kingston, USA.
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      Objective To examine the effects of a weight training program on the resting metabolic rate, fat-free mass, strength, and dietary intake of untrained young women.
      Design A 12-week weight training program was completed by 20 previously untrained women aged 19 through 44 years.
      Subjects Twenty-three study subjects and 14 control subjects were recruited on a volunteer basis. Twenty study subjects and 10 control subjects completed the study.
      Interventions Study subjects participated in a 12-week moderate-intensity, progressive resistance weight training program consisting of 2 supervised sessions per week with 6 types of lifting exercises per session. Resting metabolic rate, fat-free mass, strength, and dietary intake were measured before and immediately after the study.
      Statistical analyses Repeated measures analysis of variance and t tests (unequal variance and paired) were used to determine interaction effects and differences within and between groups.
      Results The study group increased their fat-free mass (mean±standard deviation) from 44.2±5.4kg to 46.2±6.0kg (P<.001). Elbow flexion, elbow extension, and knee flexion strength all increased from 28.9±5.3 to 34.5±3.8, 16.9±4.9 to 22.1±5.3, and 39.5±8.6 to 48.6±7.3 ft-lb, respectively (P<.001). Percent body fat decreased from 29.8±2.8 to 27.2±2.6 (P<.001) without a significant change in body weight. Resting metabolic rate did not change significantly (P>.05).
      Application A moderate-intensity weight training program increased strength and fat-free mass and decreased body fat in normal-weight young women. Favorable changes in body composition were obtained without restricting food intake. The increase in fat-free mass did not increase resting metabolic rate significantly. J Am Diet Assoc. 1998;98:414-418.
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