Resistance training effectiveness on body composition and body weight outcomes in individuals with overweight and obesity across the lifespan: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Obes Rev. 2022 May;23(5):e13428. doi: 10.1111/obr.13428. Epub 2022 Feb 21.


To systematically review and analyze the effects of resistance-based exercise programs on body composition, regional adiposity, and body weight in individuals with overweight/obesity across the lifespan. Using PRISMA guidelines, randomized controlled trials were searched in nine electronic databases up to December 2020. Meta-analyses were performed using random-effects model. One-hundred sixteen articles describing 114 trials (n = 4184 participants) were included. Interventions involving resistance training and caloric restriction were the most effective for reducing body fat percentage (ES = -3.8%, 95% CI: -4.7 to -2.9%, p < 0.001) and whole-body fat mass (ES = -5.3 kg, 95% CI: -7.2 to -3.5 kg, p < 0.001) compared with groups without intervention. Significant results were also observed following combined resistance and aerobic exercise (ES = -2.3% and -1.4 kg, p < 0.001) and resistance training alone (ES = -1.6% and -1.0 kg, p < 0.001) compared with no training controls. Resistance training alone was the most effective for increasing lean mass compared with no training controls (ES = 0.8 kg, 95% CI: 0.6 to 1.0 kg, p < 0.001), whereas lean mass was maintained following interventions involving resistance training and caloric restriction (ES = ~ - 0.3 kg, p = 0.550-0.727). Results were consistently observed across age and sex groups (p = 0.001-0.011). Reductions in regional adiposity and body weight measures were also observed following combined resistance and aerobic exercise and programs including caloric restriction (p < 0.001). In conclusion, this study provides evidence that resistance-based exercise programs are effective and should be considered within any multicomponent therapy program when caloric restriction is utilized in individuals with overweight or obesity.

Keywords: body composition; obesity; resistance training.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight* / therapy
  • Resistance Training*