The impact of exercise interventions on south Asians with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), who have a higher T2DM incidence rate compared to other ethnic groups, is inconclusive. This study aimed to systematically review the effect of exercise interventions in south Asians with T2DM. Five electronic databases were searched up to April 2017 for controlled trials investigating the impact of exercise interventions on south Asian adults with T2DM. The PEDro scale was used to assess the quality of the included studies. Eighteen trials examining the effect of aerobic, resistance, balance or combined exercise programs met the eligibility criteria. All types of exercise were associated with improvements in glycemic control, blood pressure, waist circumference, blood lipids, muscle strength, functional mobility, quality of life or neuropathy progression. The majority of included studies were of poor methodological quality. Few studies compared different types or dose of exercise. In conclusion, this review supports the benefits of exercise for south Asians with T2DM, although it was not possible to identify the most effective exercise prescription. Further studies of good methodological quality are required to determine the most effective dosage and type of exercise to manage T2DM in this population.