Original Article

European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 5, pp 1861-1871

First online:

Can alternating lower body negative and positive pressure during exercise alter regional body fat distribution or skin appearance?

  • Elisabeth Löberbauer-PurerAffiliated withDepartment of Sport Science and Kinesiology, University of Salzburg Email author 
  • , Nanna L. MeyerAffiliated withUniversity of Colorado
  • , Susanne Ring-DimitriouAffiliated withDepartment of Sport Science and Kinesiology, University of Salzburg
  • , Judith HaudumAffiliated withDepartment of Sport Science and Kinesiology, University of Salzburg
  • , Helmut KässmannAffiliated withDepartment of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrinology, Paracelsus Private Medical University Salzburg
  • , Erich MüllerAffiliated withDepartment of Sport Science and Kinesiology, University of Salzburg

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether physical activity, with and without lower body pressure, leads to increased regional fat loss in the lower extremities of overweight females. Eighty-six obese women with a female phenotype were randomly assigned into four groups: control group (C), diet only (D), diet plus exercise (DE) or diet, exercise and lower body pressure intervention (DEP). The three treatment groups followed the same diet, the two exercise groups (DE and DEP) additionally followed an endurance training program of 30 min of cycling at 50%VO2max three times per week with or without lower body pressure. Body composition and fat distribution were assessed by DXA. Body size circumference measurements were recorded as well as subjective ratings of cellulite and skin appearance. As expected, all test groups (D, DE, DEP) showed a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in total body mass and fat mass. DXA revealed significant differences between the experimental groups and C. The DEP group also lost significantly more body mass and fat mass when compared with D, while no significant difference was observed between the other groups. A similar pattern was seen for circumference measurement data. A significant perceived improvement was made by the DEP group when compared with C, D and DE groups for skin condition and also between the DEP versus C and D groups for cellulite. The combination of diet and exercise is successful for weight reduction. The additional application of lower body pressure especially affects skin appearance.


Body fat distribution Lower body negative pressure Lower body positive pressure Spot reduction Training Weight loss