A Meta-Analysis of Resistance Training in Female Youth: Its Effect on Muscular Strength, and Shortcomings in the Literature



Resistance training is an effective way to enhance strength in female youth but, to date, no researcher has meta-analysed its effect on muscular strength in that population.


This meta-analysis characterised female youths’ adaptability to resistance training (RT). A second objective was to highlight the limitations of the body of literature with a view to informing future research.

Data Sources

Google Scholar, PubMed, Web of Science.

Study Eligibility Criteria

Resistance training interventions in healthy females with a mean age between 8 and 18 years. Programmes of between 4 and 16 weeks’ duration that included a control group.

Study Appraisal and Synthesis Methods

The inverse-variance random effects model for meta-analyses was used because it allocates a proportionate weight to trials based on the size of their individual standard errors and facilitates analysis whilst accounting for heterogeneity across studies. Effect sizes, calculated from a measure of muscular strength, are represented by the standardised mean difference and are presented alongside 95% confidence intervals.


The magnitude of the main effect was ‘small’ (0.54, 95% confidence interval: 0.23–0.85). Effect sizes were larger in older (> 15 years; ES = 0.72 [0.23–1.21] vs. 0.38 [− 0.02–0.79]), taller (> 163 cm; ES = 0.67 [0.20–1.13] vs. 0.55 [0.08–1.02]) and heavier (< 54 kg; ES = 0.67 [0.30–1.03] vs. 0.53 [− 0.00–1.06]) participants.

Conclusions and Implications of Key Findings

Resistance training is effective in female youth. These findings can be used to inform the prescription of RT in female youth.

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Conflict of interest

Jason Moran, Gavin Sandercock, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Cain C.T. Clark, John F.T. Fernandes and Benjamin Drury declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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No financial support was received for the conduct of this study or preparation of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jason Moran.

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Moran, J., Sandercock, G., Ramirez-Campillo, R. et al. A Meta-Analysis of Resistance Training in Female Youth: Its Effect on Muscular Strength, and Shortcomings in the Literature. Sports Med 48, 1661–1671 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-0914-4

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