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