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Maximal Strength Testing in Healthy Children


The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 2003 - Volume 17 - Issue 1 - p 162–166
Original Article: PDF Only

Strength training has become an accepted method of conditioning in children. However, there is concern among some observers that maximal strength testing may be inappropriate or potentially injurious to children. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of 1 repetition maximum (1RM) strength testing in healthy children. Thirty-two girls and 64 boys between 6.2 and 12.3 years of age (mean age 9.3 ±1.6 years) volunteered to participate in this study. All subjects were screened for medical conditions that could worsen during maximal strength testing. Under close supervision by qualified professionals, each subject performed a 1RM test on 1 upper-body (standing chest press or seated chest press) and 1 lower-body (leg press or leg extension) exercise using child-size weight training machines. No injuries occurred during the study period, and the testing protocol was well tolerated by the subjects. No gender differences were found for any upper- or lower-body strength test. These findings demonstrate that healthy children can safely perform 1RM strength tests, provided that appropriate procedures are followed.

1Department of Exercise Science and Physical Education, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts 02125

2South Shore YMCA, Quincy, Massachusetts 02169.

© 2003 National Strength and Conditioning Association