The Benefits of Resistance Training in Obese Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Bruno Ribeiro, Pedro Forte, Raquel Vinhas, Daniel A. Marinho, Luís B. Faíl, Ana Pereira, Fernando Vieira, Henrique P. Neiva

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Physical activity is essential in acquiring healthy lifestyle behaviors in the early years of maturational development and preventing various diseases. Resistance training (RT) is fundamental for improving body composition and is increasingly recommended for obese adolescents. A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to synthesize and analyze data on the effects of RT programs in this population, seeking to develop useful recommendations for health and sports professionals. Methods: A search was performed using four databases (Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, and ScienceDirect). According to specific inclusion criteria, twenty-one studies were selected to evaluate the impact of RT on body mass index (BMI), body fat, waist circumference, muscle strength, insulin sensitivity, lean mass and cardiorespiratory fitness. Results: After the RT programs, the adolescents improved their muscle strength (SMD, 1.44; 95% CI: 0.76–2.12), cardiorespiratory fitness (SMD, 1.09; 95% CI: 0.15–2.04), BMI (SMD, 0.21; 95% CI: 0.07–0.35), waist circumference (SMD, 0.27; 95% CI: 0.06–0.47) and body fat (SMD, 0.20; 95% CI: 0.05–0.34). However, insulin sensitivity (SMD, 0.32; 95% CI: − 0.47 to 1.10) and lean mass (SMD, 0.12; 95% CI: − 0.06 to 0.31) did not reveal any changes. Different RT programs were used but it seems that 2–3 times/week ∼60 min/session of RT for 12 weeks should be recommended for positive changes. Conclusions: RT seems to be effective when the objective is to improve muscle strength, cardiorespiratory fitness and can be an efficient strategy to reduce obesity in adolescents by reducing body fat, waist circumference and body mass index. PROSPERO Registration number: CRD42022333411.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109
Number of pages12
JournalSports medicine - open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Body mass
  • Fat
  • Fitness
  • Strength-training
  • Youth


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