This systematic review evaluates the relationship between resistance training and metabolic function in youth.
PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, CINAHL, and ClinicalTrials. gov were searched for articles that (1): studied children (2); included resistance training (3); were randomized interventions; and (4) reported markers of metabolic function. The selected studies were analyzed using the Cochrane Risk-of-Bias Tool.
Thirteen articles met inclusion criteria. Mean age ranged from 12.2 to 16.9 years, but most were limited to high school (n = 11) and overweight/obese (n = 12). Sample sizes (n = 22–304), session duration (40–60min), and intervention length (8–52 wks) varied. Exercise frequency was typically 2–3 d/wk. Resistance training was metabolically beneficial compared with control or resistance plus aerobic training in 5 studies overall and 3 out of the 4 studies with the fewest threats to bias (p ≤ .05); each was accompanied by beneficial changes in body composition, but only one study adjusted for change in body composition.
Limited evidence suggests that resistance training may positively affect metabolic parameters in youth. Well-controlled resistance training interventions of varying doses are needed to definitively determine whether resistance training can mitigate metabolic dysfunction in youth and whether training benefits on metabolic parameters are independent of body composition changes.