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Factors associated with participation in resistance training: a systematic review
  1. Ryan E Rhodes1,
  2. David R Lubans2,
  3. Nandini Karunamuni3,
  4. Sarah Kennedy4,
  5. Ronald Plotnikoff4
  1. 1 School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2 School of Education, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  4. 4 University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ryan E Rhodes, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3N4, Canada; rhodes{at}


Objective Regular participation in resistance training (RT) is critical to health and recommended in most international physical activity guidelines. Few people, however, participate in RT. The purpose of this review was to assess the demographic, behavioural, intrapersonal, interpersonal and environmental factors associated with participating in RT.

Data sources Eligible studies were from English peer-reviewed published articles that examined correlates or determinants of RT in adult samples. Searches were performed from August 2015 to April 2016 in six databases.

Results We identified 51 independent data sets, from nine countries, primarily of moderate to high quality, and 23 factors related to participating in RT. Education, perceived health status, quality of life, affective judgements, self-efficacy, intention, self-regulation behaviours, subjective norm and programme leadership were associated with RT.

Conclusion Low education levels and poor health status were associated with low participation rates in RT. Intrapersonal factors including affective judgements, self-efficacy, and self-regulation behaviours, and interpersonal factors including subjective norms and programme leadership may be important for promoting RT behaviours.

  • Intervention
  • Psychology
  • Weight lifting

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  • Contributors RER wrote thepaper and conducted the analyses. DRL and RP consulted on all aspects of the paper. NK and SK conducted the literature search and consulted on the written paper.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.