Benefits of short‐duration resistance training in overweight men

Research conducted by a team of scientists within the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences has highlighted several of the positive health effects of a short duration, high-intensity resistance exercise training programme in overweight men. The findings of this study suggest that a six week programme, consisting of three 15 minute sessions per week, dramatically improves insulin sensitivity, as well as muscle size and strength in this population.

The research team recruited ten overweight men (as distinguished by a Body Mass Index [2] of 25-30), who trained three times a week for six weeks. Each training session involved a single set Picture of University of Glasgow buildingof nine standard resistance exercises such as leg presses and bicep curls, performed at 80% of their maximum single repetition lift until volitional failure (i.e. when a further repetition could not be completed). Muscle size, muscle strength and insulin sensitivity were measured before and after the training period. Comparisons of these measurements revealed that insulin sensitivity increased by 16% following the exercise regimen. Indeed, muscle size and strength were measurably increased after only two weeks of training, with these variables continuing to increase progressively throughout the remainder of the study.

Dr Stuart Gray, Lecturer in Exercise and Metabolic Health, who led the research group, is already thinking of other ways to build on his team’s work: “On top of these results, we know that the gym is not for everyone. Therefore, we also need to see if we can get people doing similar exercises at home without gym equipment, to achieve similarly beneficial effects.”

More information regarding this study can be found here.


First published: 4 August 2019