Objectives: While it has been suggested that resistance training may have a beneficial effect on psychological health in young people, evidence supporting this assertion is limited. The primary aim of this study was to explore the effect of free weights and elastic tubing resistance training on physical self-perception in adolescents. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Method: Participants (N = 108, mean age = 14.96 ± .68 years) were randomized to free weights (n = 37) or elastic tubing (n = 41) resistance training groups and a control group was recruited (n = 30). Participants in the resistance training groups completed workloads of 2 sets of 10–12 repetitions on 10 exercises for 8 weeks. Height and weight were measured and bioelectrical impedance analysis was used to assess body composition (body fat %). Muscular strength was assessed using 1 repetition maximum tests for bench press and leg press. Students completed the Children’s Physical Self-Perception Profile and two scales developed for the current study to assess resistance training self-efficacy and outcome expectancy. Results: Physical self-perception remained stable among boys over the study period. Girls in the free weights resistance training group significantly increased their perceived body attractiveness (p < .01, d = .76) over the study period. The relationship between changes in body fat % and body attractiveness in girls was inverse and marginally significant (r = −.28, p < .10). Conclusion: Resistance training programs may improve physical self-perception in adolescent girls. However, additional studies with larger sample sizes and more heterogeneous samples are required to confirm this finding.
Psychology of Sport and Exercise Vol. 11, Issue 6, p. 497-504