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December 28, 1994

Effects of High-Intensity Strength Training on Multiple Risk Factors for Osteoporotic Fractures: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Author Affiliations

From the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Mass (Drs Nelson, Fiatarone, Morganti, and Trice, and Mr Greenberg); the Division on Aging, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass (Dr Fiatarone); and the Noll Physiological Research Center at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park (Dr Evans).

JAMA. 1994;272(24):1909-1914. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520240037038

Objective.  —To determine how multiple risk factors for osteoporotic fractures could be modified by high-intensity strength training exercises in postmenopausal women.

Design.  —Randomized controlled trial of 1-year duration.

Setting.  —Exercise laboratory at Tufts University, Boston, Mass.

Population.  —Forty postmenopausal white women, 50 to 70 years of age, participated in the study; 39 women completed the study. The subjects were sedentary and estrogen-deplete.

Interventions.  —High-intensity strength training exercises 2 days per week using five different exercises (n=20) vs untreated controls (n=19).

Main Outcome Measures.  —Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry for bone status, one repetition maximum for muscle strength, 24-hour urinary creatinine for muscle mass, and backward tandem walk for dynamic balance.

Results.  —Femoral neck bone mineral density and lumbar spine bone mineral density increased by 0.005±0.039 g/cm2 (0.9%±4.5%) (mean±SD) and 0.009±0.033 g/cm2 (10%±3.6%), respectively, in the strength-trained women and decreased by -0.022±0.035 g/cm2 (-2.5%±3.8%) and -0.019±0.035 g/cm2 (-1.8%±3.5%), respectively, in the controls (P=.02 and.04). Total body bone mineral content was preserved in the strength-trained women (+2.0±68 g; 0.0%±3.0%) and tended to decrease in the controls (-33+77 g; -1.2%±3.4%, P=.12). Muscle mass, muscle strength, and dynamic balance increased in the strength-trained women and decreased in the controls (P=.03 to <.001).

Conclusions.  —High-intensity strength training exercises are an effective and feasible means to preserve bone density while improving muscle mass, strength, and balance in postmenopausal women.(JAMA. 1994;272:1909-1914)

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