Implementing Resistance Training in Secondary Schools: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

Sarah G. Kennedy, Jordan J. Smith, Philip J. Morgan, Louisa R. Peralta, Toni A. Hilland, Narelle Eather, Chris Lonsdale, Anthony D. Okely, Ronald C. Plotnikoff, Jo Salmon, Deborah L. Dewar, Paul A. Estabrooks, Emma Pollock, Tara L. Finn, David R. Lubans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Purpose: Guidelines recommend that young people engage in muscle-strengthening activities on at least 3 dIwkj1. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a school-based intervention focused on resistance training (RT) for adolescents. Methods: The ''Resistance Training for Teens'' intervention was evaluated using a cluster-randomized, controlled trial with 607 adolescents (50.1% girls; 14.1 T 0.5 yr) from 16 secondary schools. Teachers were trained to deliver the intervention, which included the following: (i) an interactive student seminar; (ii) a structured physical activity program, focused on RT; (iii) lunchtime fitness sessions; and (iv) Web-based smartphone apps. The primary outcome was muscular fitness (MF) and secondary outcomes included body mass index, RT skill competency, flexibility, physical activity, self-efficacy, and motivation. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 6 months (postprogram; primary end point), and 12 months (follow-up). Outcomes were assessed using linear mixed models, with three potential moderators tested using interaction terms (and subgroup analyses where appropriate). Results: For the primary outcome (MF), a group-time effect was observed at 6 months for the upper body (2.0 repetitions; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.8-3.2), but not the lower body (j1.4 cm; 95% CI, j4.7-1.9). At 6 months, there were intervention effects for RT skill competency and self-efficacy, but no other secondary outcomes. Effects for upper body MF and RT skill competency were sustained at 12 months. Despite overall no effect for body mass index, there was a group-time effect at 12 months among students whowere overweight/obese at baseline (j0.55 kgImj2; 95% CI, j1.01 toj0.08). Conclusions: The school-based RT intervention resulted in immediate and sustained improvements in upper body MF and RT skill competency, demonstrating an effective and scalable approach to delivering RT within secondary schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-72
Number of pages11
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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