We assessed the effects of resistance circuit-based training (CT) on strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, and body composition. A systematic review with meta-analysis was conducted in three databases, ending on March, 2020. Meta-analysis and subgroup analysis were used to analyze the effects of pre-post-intervention CT and differences from control groups (CG). Of the 830 studies found, 45 were included in the meta-analysis (58 experimental groups (n = 897) and 34 CG (n = 474)). The CT interventions led to increases in muscle mass (1.9%; p < 0.001) and decreases in fat mass (4.3%; p < 0.001). With regard to cardiorespiratory fitness, CT had a favorable effect on VO2max (6.3%; p < 0.001), maximum aerobic speed or power (0.3%; p = 0.04), and aerobic performance (2.6%; p = 0.006) after training. Concerning strength outcome, the CT increased the strength of the upper and lower extremities. Only the magnitude of strength performance appears to be influenced by the training (number of sessions and frequency) and the training status. Moreover, low and moderate intensities and short rest time between exercise increase the magnitude of change in fat mass loss. Therefore, CT has been shown to be an effective method for improving body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, and strength of the lower and upper limbs.
Keywords: fat mass; maximum oxygen uptake; muscle mass; one maximum repetition.