Regional bone mineral density after resistive training in young and older men and women


Corresponding author: Alice S. Ryan, PhD, Division of Gerontology, BT/18/GR, Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. Tel: (410) 605-7851, Fax: (410) 605-7913, E-mail:


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of 6 months of whole-body resistive training (RT) on total and regional bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) by age and gender in young and older men and women.

Methods: Younger men (n=10) and women (n=7) aged 20–29 years (25±1 years) and older men (n=10) and women (n=10) aged 65–74 years (69±1 years) participated in 6 months of progressive whole-body RT. Upper- and lower-body strength was assessed by the one repetition maximum (1RM) test, and total body fat, lean tissue mass, femoral neck BMD, Ward's triangle BMD, greater trochanter BMD, total-body BMD, and L2–L4 spine BMD were determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry before and after 6 months of RT.

Results: Percent body fat decreased only in the young men (P<0.05). Lean tissue mass increased after training in young men and women and older men (P<0.05) but did not change significantly in older women. Upper- and lower-body 1RM strength increased in all groups (P<0.01). Overall, there was a significant increase in BMD at the femoral neck, ward's triangle and greater trochanter BMD, as well as total body BMC and leg BMC (P<0.05). Total-body BMD and L2–L4 spine BMD did not change with RT. There were no gender differences in the training response between men and women for any of the BMD regions and no age differences in the training response, except for a trend between young and older subjects for femoral neck (P<0.08).

Conclusion: A 6-month RT program increases muscle mass and improves BMD of the femoral region in young and healthy older men and women as a group, with a trend for this to be greater in young subjects.