ABSTRACT The literature presents the benefits of physical activity programs for people with intellectual disabilities (ID), but aspects such as those related to physical exercise prescription, benefits of the type of exercise program, the most recommended exercises, load control, and limitations of the interventions for adults with ID are subjects awaiting scientific research. The aim of this study was to verify, through a systematic review, the effects of physical activity programs for adults with ID. The procedure included an electronic search of the literature published from January 1960 to August 2014, considering terms related to physical activity, ID, and physical activity programs. Eight manuscripts met the eligibility criteria and were included in the study. Based on the systematic review, we found a limited number of studies that investigated, in a structured way, the effect of physical activity programs for adults with ID. In general, the systematized programs of physical exercise promoted consistent and significant benefits for adults with ID. However, there seems to be no consensus on the type of intervention to be used to promote the practice of physical activity in adults with ID. In addition, the methodological quality of the studies appears to be limited. We conclude that intervention studies with physical activity in adults with ID that involve aerobic exercise, sports specialization, and a combination of muscular and aerobic exercise performed two or three times a week for more than 40 minutes seem to be the most highly recommended for adults with ID.