Resistance Training Versus Endurance Training

 In Exercise, Health, medical exercise

When you think about exercise what matters the most to you? Improving your health, losing weight, gaining strength and reducing the risk of chronic health diseases are all common goals. So which form of exercise is best suited to help you achieve your goal(s), resistance training or endurance training? An interesting study was recently completed that highlighted some important distinctions between the effects of resistance training and endurance training. The study looked at individuals who had abdominal obesity and separated the individuals into two groups. The first group received high-intensity interval endurance training three times a week for 45 minutes. Meanwhile the second group engaged in resistance training three times per week for 45 minutes. The researchers examined the effects of the exercise on epicardial fat (visceral fat deposit between the heart and pericardium) and pericardial adipose tissue (fat tissue that covers the surface of the heart and surrounds the coronary arteries) mass using an MRI to measure tissue mass.

So which method was superior? Well it was somewhat of a mixed result. The endurance training group reduced adipose tissue mass by 32%, while the resistance training group reduced tissue mass by 24%. In regards to pericardial adipose tissue, endurance training produced a nonsignificant reduction in mass, while the resistance training group reduced adipose tissue by 31%.

The authors showed that for individuals with abdominal obesity, both forms of training (endurance and resistance) reduced epicardial adipose tissue. However, only resistance training reduced pericardial adipose tissue. There is a close association between pericardial fat and coronary artery disease. Meanwhile epicardial adipose tissue is thought to have a cardioprotective role since it metabolizes fatty acids, preventing the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. However, if the epicardial adipose tissue releases inflammatory adipokines at an increased rate, it can lead to artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). So which form of exercise should you do? The answer is both as they both create slightly different changes within the body, so it makes sense to make time for both in your exercise routine.


Christensen RH, Wedell-Neergaard A, Lehrskov LL, et al. Effect of Aerobic and Resistance Exercise on Cardiac Adipose Tissues: Secondary Analyses From a Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Cardiol. Published online July 03, 20194(8):778–787. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.2074

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