Sports Medicine

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 397–415 | Cite as

Resistance Training in the Treatment of the Metabolic Syndrome

A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Resistance Training on Metabolic Clustering in Patients with Abnormal Glucose Metabolism
  • Barbara StrasserEmail author
  • Uwe Siebert
  • Wolfgang Schobersberger
Review Article


Over the last decade, investigators have given increased attention to the effects of resistance training (RT) on several metabolic syndrome variables. The metabolic consequences of reduced muscle mass, as a result of normal aging or decreased physical activity, lead to a high prevalence of metabolic disorders. The purpose of this review is: (i) to perform a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) regarding the effect of RT on obesity-related impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes mellitus; and (ii) to investigate the existence of a dose-response relationship between intensity, duration and frequency of RT and the metabolic clustering. Thirteen RCTs were identified through a systematic literature search in MEDLINE ranging from January 1990 to September 2007. We included all RCTs comparing RT with a control group in patients with abnormal glucose regulation. For data analysis, we performed random effects meta-analyses to determine weighted mean differences (WMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for each endpoint. All data were analysed with the software package Review Manager 4.2.10 of the Cochrane Collaboration. In the 13 RCTs included in our analysis, RT reduced glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) by 0.48% (95% CI -0.76, -0.21; p = 0.0005), fat mass by 2.33 kg (95% CI -4.71, 0.04; p = 0.05) and systolic blood pressure by 6.19 mmHg (95%CI 1.00, 11.38; p = 0.02). There was no statistically significant effect of RT on total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride and diastolic blood pressure. Based on our meta-analysis, RT has a clinically and statistically significant effect on metabolic syndrome risk factors such as obesity, HbA1c levels and systolic blood pressure, and therefore should be recommended in the management of type 2 diabetes and metabolic disorders.


Metabolic Syndrome Resistance Training Impaired Glucose Tolerance Glycaemic Control Lean Body Mass 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to David Pamphlett for carefully reading our manuscript. We thank Bjoern Stollenwerk, PhD, for his advice regarding the statistical analysis.

No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this systematic review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Strasser
    • 1
    Email author
  • Uwe Siebert
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Wolfgang Schobersberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Sport Medicine, Alpine Medicine and Health TourismUniversity for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and TechnologyHall i. T.Austria
  2. 2.Department of Public Health, Medical Decision Making and Health Technology AssessmentUMIT-University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and TechnologyHall i. T.Austria
  3. 3.Cardiovascular Research Program, Institute for Technology Assessment and Department of RadiologyMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Program in Health Decision Science, Department of Health Policy and ManagementHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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