OBJECTIVES: To study the effects of a supervised, intensive (85% of one repetition maximum (1-RM)) 14 week resistance training programme on lipid profile and body fat percentage in healthy, sedentary, premenopausal women. SUBJECTS: Twenty four women (mean (SD) age 27 (7) years) took part in the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a non-exercising control group or a resistance exercise training group. The resistance exercise training group took part in supervised 45-50 minute resistance training sessions (85% of 1-RM), three days a week on non-consecutive days for 14 weeks. The control group did not take part in any structured physical activity. RESULTS: Two way analysis of variance with repeated measures showed significant (p < 0.05) increases in strength (1-RM) in the exercising group. There were significant (p < 0.05) decreases in total cholesterol (mean (SE) 4.68 (0.31) v 4.26 (0.23) mmol/1 (180 (12) v 164 (9) mg/dl)), low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (2.99 (0.29) v 2.57 (0.21) mmol/l (115 (11) v 99 (8) mg/dl), the total to high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ratio (4.2 (0.42) v 3.6 (0.42)), and body fat percentage (27.9 (2.09) v 26.5 (2.15)), as well as a strong trend towards a significant decrease in the LDL to HDL cholesterol ratio (p = 0.057) in the resistance exercise training group compared with their baseline values. No differences were seen in triglycerides and HDL cholesterol. No changes were found in any of the measured variables in the control group. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that resistance training has a favourable effect on lipid profile and body fat percentage in healthy, sedentary, premenopausal women.