Send to

Choose Destination
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000 Nov;32(11):1949-57.

Musculoskeletal responses to high- and low-intensity resistance training in early postmenopausal women.

Author information

Department of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Oklahoma, Norman 73019, USA.



The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a high-load (80%, 1-repetition maximum (RM), 8 reps) and a high-repetition (40%, 1-RM, 16 reps) resistance training protocol on muscular strength and bone mineral density (BMD) in early postmenopausal, estrogen-deficient women. The 6-month programs were matched initially for training volume (3 sets, 3 d x wk(-1)) for 12 exercises selected to specifically load the spine and hip.


Subjects included 25 women (41-60 yr) who were matched by spine BMD then randomly assigned to either the high-load (HL, N = 10), high-repetition (HR, N = 7), or control (C, N = 8) groups. Dietary calcium intakes were supplemented to approximately 1500 mg x d(-1). Total body, spine, and hip BMD (DXA, Lunar Model DPX-IQ), upper and lower body muscular strength, and biochemical markers of bone turnover were measured at baseline and after 6 months of training.


There were no group differences in the baseline measures. Both training groups showed similar increases in biceps (20%) and rectus femoris (28-33%) cross-sectional areas, in lower body strength (approximately 30%) and in hip strength (37-40%). HL showed greater improvements in upper body strength (HL 25%, HR 16%). Neither training group experienced significant increases in spine or hip BMD, although the HL total body BMD tended to decrease (-1.1%+/-0.4, P = 0.054) after training. Osteocalcin tended to increase (P = 0.08) in all groups after training, and the % change in osteocalcin was positively related to % changes in the total hip (r = 0.41, P = 0.048) and the trochanter (r = 0.42, P = 0.04) BMD.


The high-load and high-repetition resistance training protocols were both effective in improving muscular strength and size in postmenopausal women, indicating low-intensity resistance training can be beneficial for the muscular fitness in women for whom high-intensity exercise is contraindicated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center