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

Abstract

Background

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.

Objectives

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.

Results

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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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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