The Evidence


The International Diabetes Institute's Lift, Loosen and Lose for Diabetes' study (see publication 1 below), was the first in the world to demonstrate the benefits of regular progressive strength training in older adults with type 2 diabetes.

This research demonstrated:

  • in just three months, blood glucose control had improved by 7%
    this effect was doubled in six months
  • further analysis indicated that participants were unable to maintain the improvement in blood glucose control during home-based training (see publicaton 2 below). This suggests that supervision from qualified staff and the social support from others are important factors in achieving and maintaining strength training benefits.

This research is now playing a key role in the modification of Physical Activity Guidelines for people with diabetes around the world. In 2005 the Federal Government decided to fund the further development of the Lift for Life program to enable broad access for the Australian population, to the benefits of the program which delivered such fantastic research results. Furthermore, this research gives Health Professionals and prospective Participants good reason to choose Lift for Life - a proven results driven program.


1.Dunstan DW, Daly RM, Owen N, et al. High-intensity resistance training improves glycaemic control in older patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2002; 25:1729-1736.

2.Dunstan DW, Daly RM, Owen N, et al. Home-based resistance training is not sufficient to maintain improved glycaemic control following supervised training in older persons with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2005; 28:3-9.

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Resistance Equipment Type
A key feature of the Lift for Life program is that the program structure is evidence-based and is supported by extensive research. It is well documented in the scientific literature that adaptations to resistance training can vary depending on the type of strength training equipment utilised.

As Lift for Lift is an evidence-based program, the resistance training equipment utilised in the community based Lift for Life programs must be the same as that used in the clinical research trials. The research conducted at Baker IDI (1,2,3) utilised isotonic strength training equipment (pin weighted machines and free weights) with an emphasis on continual progressive overload (increments of 2-10%). This approach is in line with the current recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine for progressive resistance training in adults (4), which advocate the use of free-weight and machine exercises for novice to intermediate training.

The beneficial outcomes in glycaemic control reported in the studies undertaken by Baker IDI therefore cannot be extrapolated to different program designs, different forms of progressive overload or different exercise equipment since such alterations would contradict the intention to maintain Lift for Life program as being an evidence based program.

References:1. Dunstan DW, Daly RM, Owen N, Jolley D, De Courten M, Shaw J, Zimmet P. High-intensity resistance training improves glycemic control in older patients with type 2 diabetes Diabetes Care. 2002 Oct;25(10):1729-362. 2. Dunstan DW, Daly RM, Owen N, Jolley D, Vulikh E, Shaw J, Zimmet P. Home-based resistance training is not sufficient to maintain improved glycemic control following supervised training in older individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2005 Jan;28(1):3-93. 3. Dunstan DW, Vulikh E, Owen N, Jolley D, Shaw J, Zimmet P. Community center-based resistance training for the maintenance of glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006 Dec;29(12):2586-914. 4. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults. 2009. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Mar;41(3):687-708 

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