Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template (CERT): Modified Delphi study

Susan C Slade, Clermont E Dionne, Martin Underwood, Rachelle Buchbinder, Belinda Beck, Kim Bennell, Lucie Brosseau, Leonardo Costa, Fiona Cramp, Edith Cup, Lynne Feehan, Manuela Ferreira, Scott Forbes, Paul Glasziou, Bas Habets, Susan Harris, Jean Hay-Smith, Susan Hillier, Rana Hinman, Ann HollandMaria Hondras, George Kelly, Peter Kent, Gert-Jan Lauret, Audrey Long, Chris Maher, Lars Morso, Nina Osteras, Tom Petersen, Ros Quinlivan, Karen Rees, Jean-Philippe Regnaux, Marc Reitberg, David Saunders, Nicole Skoetz, Karen Sogaard, Tim Takken, Maurits van Tulder, Nicoline Voet, Lesley Ward, Claire White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Exercise interventions are often incompletely described in reports of clinical trials hampering evaluation of results and replication and implementation into practice.

Objective To develop a standardized method for reporting exercise programs in clinical trials, the Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template (CERT).

Design and Methods Using the EQUATOR Network's methodological framework we invited 137 exercise experts to participate in a Delphi consensus study. A list of 41 items was identified from a meta-epidemiologic study of 73 systematic reviews of exercise. For each item, participants indicated agreement on an 11-point rating scale. Consensus for item inclusion was defined a priori as greater than 70% agreement of respondents rating an item seven or above. We used three sequential rounds of anonymous online questionnaires and a Delphi workshop.

Results There were 57 (response rate 42%), 54 and 49 respondents to Rounds 1-3 respectively from 11 countries and a range of disciplines. In Round One, two items were excluded; 24 items reached consensus for inclusion (eight items in original format); and 16 items revised in response to participant suggestions. Of 14 items in Round Two, three were excluded; 11 reached consensus for inclusion (four items accepted in original format); and seven reworded. Sixteen items were included in Round Three and all items reached greater than 70% consensus for inclusion.

Conclusions The CERT, a 16-item checklist developed by an international panel of exercise experts, is designed to improve the reporting of exercise programs in all evaluative study designs and contains seven categories: materials, provider, delivery, location, dosage, tailoring, and compliance. The CERT will encourage transparency, improve trial interpretation and replication and facilitate implementation of effective exercise interventions into practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1514-1524
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • therapeutic exercise
  • evidence- based practice
  • research


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