Strength and Blood Profile Changes in Females with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Response to Eight Weeks of Resistance Exercise Training

Elaine Filusch Betts, Kim Brandsen, Jeffery J Betts

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


PURPOSE: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex syndrome characterized by menstrual dysfunction, hyperandrogenism, polycystic ovaries, obesity, and insulin resistance, leading to an increased risk for the development of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Although regular physical exercise is often recommended to women with PCOS, there is a paucity of research documenting exercise effects. Evidence for the use of resistance training is particularly lacking. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an eight-week resistance training program on strength and select indicators of cardiovascular and diabetes disease risk in women with a clinical diagnosis of PCOS. RELEVANCE: This topic is relevant to physical therapy practice, as it addresses an area of growing concern (cardiovascular disease) in women’s health. PARTICIPANTS: Following approval from the Institutional Review Board for the use of human subjects at Central Michigan University, 11 women volunteers, aged 18-35 years, with a clinical diagnosis of PCOS were recruited via physician office contact, word of mouth, and printed advertisements. METHODS: After health risk stratification and exercise risk appraisal was determined, anthropometric measurements to determine body mass index (BMI), fasting blood profiles for glucose (GLU), cholesterol (CHOL), and triglycerides (TRIG), and muscular strength measurements were taken pre-training. Resistance training of the large muscle groups of the upper and lower body using standard weight training apparatus was then performed 3 days per week for 8 weeks. All pre-test measurements were repeated post-training. ANALYSIS: Paired t-tests and ANOVA were used to determine differences in test values pre- and post-training. RESULTS: Significant increases in strength (↑ 24%) were achieved for all muscle groups tested. Improvements in TRIG (↓ 19%) and CHOL (↓ 10%) values were also realized post exercise training. Minimal improvement was noted in resting GLU levels post-training. No significant change in BMI was seen. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that resistance training in women with PCOS can produce significant strength gains and concomitant reduction in a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. No dietary modifications were prescribed, therefore these changes resulted in the absence of any significant change in BMI. Future studies using larger, randomized samples could strengthen the support for use of this type of training for women at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The inclusion of dietary modification in concert with exercise training would likely yield greater improvements in blood profiles due to changes in BMI. IMPLICATIONS: The results of this study suggest that resistance training can positively influence the factors leading to cardiovascular disease in a female population at risk. Physical therapists should consider including this type of training in their exercise prescriptions. KEYWORDS: Resistance Exercise, Women. FUNDING ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This project was partially funded by the College of Graduate Studies at Central Michigan University. CONTACT:
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages407
StatePublished - Jun 5 2007


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