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AIDS. 1999 Feb 4;13(2):231-9.

Short-term progressive resistance training increases strength and lean body mass in adults infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

Author information

  • 1Department of Community Health, Tufts University School of Medicine, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA. roubenoff@hnrc.tufts.edu



To assess the efficacy of progressive resistance training (PRT) in increasing strength and lean body mass (LBM) in HIV-infected adults.


Twenty-five adults with HIV infection were trained using a highly intensive PRT regimen for 8 weeks, followed by an additional 8 weeks of observation under ad libitum physical activity conditions.


Twenty-four of the 25 patients completed the first phase of the study. They had significant increases in strength on all four exercises tested (P < 0.0001), and an increase in LBM of 1.75 +/- 1.94 kg (mean +/- SD, P < 0.0002), with a concomitant decline in fat of 0.92 +/- 2.22 kg (P < 0.05), and no significant change in weight or bone mineral content. Twenty-one of the patients returned for follow-up 8 weeks after completing the PRT. Compared with their baseline values, their mean lean mass remained 1.40 +/- 1.8 kg higher (P < 0.003). Among those who continued to train to some extent, lean mass increased by a mean of 1.1 +/- 1.6 kg (n = 9, P < 0.05 versus end of PRT), whereas those who did no further training showed an increase in lean mass of 0.28 +/- 1.4 kg (n = 12, P = NS versus end of PRT). The difference between the two groups was not, however, significant (P = 0.25). Among six patients with AIDS wasting, the increase in LBM was larger than among non-wasted patients (2.8 versus 1.4 kg, P < 0.06), and there was an increase in both weight (+3.9 versus -0.2 kg, P < 0.002) and fat mass (+ 0.95 versus -1.5 kg, P < 0.002) at 8 weeks, which persisted at 16 weeks (weight: +4.0 versus -1.6 kg, P < 0.0002; fat: +1.6 versus -1.9 kg, P < 0.01).


This preliminary study suggests that short-term, high intensity PRT can significantly increase LBM and strength in HIV infection, and may be used as an alternative or adjunct to pharmacological anabolic treatments in this disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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