Objective: To examine the effects of short-, medium- and long-term resistance exercise training (RET) on measures of cardio-metabolic health in adults.
Design: Intervention systematic review
Data sources: MEDLINE and Cochrane Library databases were searched from inception to February 2018. The search strategy included the keywords: resistance exercise, strength training, randomised controlled trial.
Eligibility criteria for selecting studies: RCTs published in English comparing RET>2 weeks in duration with a non-exercising control or usual care group. Participants were non-athletic and aged ≥18 years.
Results: A total of 173 trials were included. Medium- and long-term RET reduced systolic blood pressure (-4.02 [95% CI: -5.92, -2.11], mmHg P < 0.0001 and -5.08 [-10.04, -0.13] mmHg, P = 0.04, respectively) and diastolic blood pressure (-1.73 [-2.88, -0.57] mmHg, P = 0.003 and -4.93 [-8.58, -1.28] mmHg, P = 0.008, respectively) versus control. Medium-term RET elicited reductions in fasted insulin and insulin resistance (-0.59 [-0.97, -0.21] μU/ml, P = 0.002 and -1.22 [-2.29, -0.15] μU/ml, P = 0.02, respectively). The effects were greater in those with elevated cardio-metabolic risk or disease compared to younger healthy adults. The quality of evidence was low or very low for all outcomes. There was limited evidence of adverse events.
Conclusions: RET may be effective for inducing improvements in cardio-metabolic health outcomes in healthy adults and those with an adverse cardio-metabolic risk profile.