Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 9, pp 1197–1207 | Cite as

Progressive Resistance Training in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Can Pumping Iron Improve Clinical Outcomes?

  • Birinder S. CheemaEmail author
  • Lisa Vizza
  • Soji Swaraj
Review Article


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder and cause of subfertility in women. The etiology of PCOS has not been fully elucidated; however, insulin resistance has been shown to exacerbate the disease process due to its effect on androgen synthesis. Progressive resistance training (PRT) is an anabolic exercise modality that can improve skeletal muscle size and quality (metabolic capacity), and studies have consistently shown that PRT can increase insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes and other cohorts. However, PRT is not currently recommended or routinely prescribed in PCOS. The objective of this article was to provide a rationale for the application of PRT in the management and treatment of PCOS. This will be accomplished by (1) overviewing the pathophysiology of PCOS with emphasis on the etiological role of insulin resistance; (2) summarizing the effectiveness of PRT in treating insulin resistance; (3) presenting evidence that PRT is feasible to prescribe in women with PCOS; and (4) providing general recommendations for PRT to complement existing guidelines for aerobic training in this cohort. We also provide recommendations for future research.


Insulin Resistance Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Aerobic Training Progressive Resistance Training Androgen Excess 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Birinder S. Cheema is guarantor of the paper, taking responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole, from inception to published article. All authors have contributed to the preparation of the manuscript and have approved and read the final article. This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. All authors declare they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Science and HealthUniversity of Western SydneyPenrithAustralia
  2. 2.The National Institute of Complementary MedicineUniversity of Western SydneyPenrithAustralia
  3. 3.Department of EndocrinologyConcord Repatriation General HospitalConcord WestAustralia

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