BACKGROUND: Although health-related benefits of fitness training in older men are well established, it is not clear yet which mode and intensity of a exercise program is most effective. This study addresses whether the combination of endurance (ED) and resistance training in older men have supplementary health-related benefits in addition to profits attained through endurance training alone. Additionally, effects of moderate- and low-intensity resistance training are compared. METHODS: Men, 55-75 years of age, were randomly assigned to a control group (N = 13) or one of three exercise groups (20 weeks, two to three times per week): endurance plus moderate resistance (MR) training (N = 22), endurance plus low resistance (LR) training (N = 22) and endurance training only (N = 22). Cardiovascular (CV) risk factors, muscular fitness and postural control were assessed before and after training. RESULTS: All exercise groups revealed significant (P < 0.05) improvements in resting heart rate, work capacity and recovery, waist girth, insulin response and knee-extensor strength with no differences among groups. Body composition, resting metabolic rate (RMR), VO2peak and postural control did not change in exercise groups. CONCLUSION: In older men, a fitness program consisting of 20 weeks endurance training combined with resistance training is equally effective as endurance training alone. Moderate vs. low resistance training added to endurance training yields similar health-related benefits.