Effect of progressive resistance training on measures of skeletal muscle hypertrophy, muscular strength and health-related quality of life in patients with chronic kidney disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Sports Med. 2014 Aug;44(8):1125-38. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0176-8.


Background and objective: Skeletal muscle wasting resulting in reduced muscular strength and health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) is common in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and may be reversed with progressive resistance training (PRT). Therefore, we systematically assessed the effect of PRT on measures of skeletal muscle hypertrophy, muscular strength and HR-QOL in this cohort to inform clinical practice and guidelines.

Design: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Inclusion criteria: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that investigated the independent effect of PRT (>6 weeks) on measures of skeletal muscle hypertrophy [muscle mass or cross-sectional area (CSA)], muscular strength and/or HR-QOL in adults with CKD.

Data extraction and analysis: The standardised mean difference (SMD) from each study was pooled to produce an overall estimate of effect and associated 95% confidence interval (95% CI) between treatment and control groups on primary outcomes.

Results: Seven RCTs in 271 patients with Stage 3-5 CKD yielded seven studies on muscular strength (N = 249), six studies on total body muscle mass (N = 200) and six studies on HR-QOL (N = 223). PRT significantly improved standardised muscular strength [SMD 1.15 (95% CI 0.80-1.49)] and HR-QOL [SMD 0.83 (95% CI 0.51-1.16)], but not total body muscle mass [SMD 0.29 (95% CI -0.27 to 0.86)] in our primary analysis. However, secondary analysis of six studies showed that PRT induced significant muscle hypertrophy of the lower extremities (leg mass, or mid-thigh or quadriceps CSA) [SMD 0.43 (95% CI 0.11-0.76)], a pertinent analysis given that most studies implemented lower-body PRT only.

Conclusions: Robust evidence from RCTs indicates that PRT can induce skeletal muscle hypertrophy and increase muscular strength and HR-QOL outcomes in men and women with CKD. Therefore, clinical practice guidelines should be updated to inform clinicians on the benefits of PRT in this cohort.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Resistance Training* / adverse effects