<p></p><p>ABSTRACT The 1% increase in HDL-C is associated with a 3% reduction in cardiovascular mortality rates. However, exercising to the point of generating beneficial changes in HDL-C is still controversial. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate whether there is a benefit of physical exercise on HDL-C levels. This is a systematic review of meta-analyses in articles indexed to PubMed/MEDLINE, SciELO and LILACS. We used the terms Lipoproteins, Cholesterol, HDL, Exercise and Resistance Training. Inclusion criteria: Meta-analyses published until January 22, 2015, with exercise as an intervention and with HDL-C endpoint. Exclusion criteria: No citation of confounding effects, assessment of HDL-C as a secondary endpoint, or dietary intervention. Regarding the aerobic training results, we evaluated eight studies. Four were significant for increased HDL-C. Of these the shortest duration in weeks was 21.8±19.5 and the highest was 35.3±31.8; the lowest frequency was 3.5±1.0 and the highest 4.0±1.1; the lowest intensity/%VO 2max was 64.8% and the highest 69.2±10.1. Four studies were not significant, being the shortest duration in weeks: 10.7±3.2 and the highest 23.19±17.7; the lowest frequency was 3.7±0.8 and the highest was 4.75±2.5; the lowest intensity/%VO 2maxwas 64.2±9.4 and the highest 74.7 ± 11.8. Resistance training: None of the three studies was significant. Combined training: A single study showed an increase in HDL-C levels (mean difference [95% CI]: 0.08 [95% CI, 0.05 -0.12 mmol/L]).We concluded that it is not possible to state that aerobic training, resisted or combined, provides significant increases in HDL-C levels, which limits its prescription as an efficient therapy for HDL-C increase.</p><p></p>