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Effects of short-term, medium-term and long-term resistance exercise training on cardiometabolic health outcomes in adults: systematic review with meta-analysis
  1. Ruth E Ashton1,
  2. Garry A Tew1,
  3. Jonathan J Aning2,
  4. Stephen E Gilbert1,
  5. Liane Lewis3,
  6. John M Saxton1
  1. 1 Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2 Department of Urology, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3 School of Computer and Information Science, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor John M Saxton, Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 8ST, UK; john.saxton{at}


Objective To examine the effects of short-term, medium-term and long-term resistance exercise training (RET) on measures of cardiometabolic 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 following keywords: resistance exercise, strength training and randomised controlled trial.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Randomised controlled trials 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-term and long-term RET reduced systolic blood pressure (−4.02 (95% CI −5.92 to −2.11) mm Hg, p<0.0001 and −5.08 (−10.04 to –0.13) mm Hg, p=0.04, respectively) and diastolic blood pressure (−1.73 (−2.88 to –0.57) mm Hg, p=0.003 and −4.93 (−8.58 to –1.28) mm Hg, p=0.008, respectively) versus control. Medium-term RET elicited reductions in fasted insulin and insulin resistance (−0.59 (−0.97 to –0.21) µU/mL, p=0.002 and −1.22 (−2.29 to –0.15) µU/mL, p=0.02, respectively). The effects were greater in those with elevated cardiometabolic risk or disease compared with 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.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42016037946.

  • cardiovascular
  • exercise training
  • systematic review
  • strength training

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  • Contributors All authors have made substantial contributions to various elements of the study.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

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