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Correlates of Upper and Lower Body Muscular Strength in Children

Milliken, Laura A1; Faigenbaum, Avery D2; Loud, Rita LaRosa3; Westcott, Wayne L3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2008 - Volume 22 - Issue 4 - p 1339-1346
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31817393b1
Original Research

Milliken, LA, Faigenbaum, AD, Loud, RL, and Westcott, W. Correlates of upper and lower body muscular strength in children. J Strength Cond Res 22: 1339-1346, 2008- Despite the widespread use of and acceptance of muscular fitness field tests in national youth fitness test batteries, little is known about how these field tests compare to 1 repetition maximum (1RM) strength in children. Therefore, the aim of this study was to characterize and identify correlates of muscular strength in children 7 to 12 years of age. Ninety children (39 girls and 51 boys) between the ages of 6.7 and 12.3 years volunteered to participate in this study. Children were tested on 1RM chest press (CP) strength, 1RM leg press (LP) strength, handgrip strength, vertical jump, long jump, sit and reach flexibility, and height and weight (used to determine body mass index [BMI]). For the combined sample, LP 1RM ranged from 75% to 363% of body weight and CP 1RM ranged from 25% to 103% of body weight. Multiple regression analyses predicting LP 1RM showed that BMI and long jump were significant (R 2 = 44.4% with age and gender not significant) and BMI and vertical jump were significant (R 2 = 40.8% with age and gender not significant). Multiple regression analyses predicting CP 1RM showed that BMI and handgrip strength were significant (R 2 = 58.6% with age and gender not significant). Age and gender alone accounted for 4.6% (not significant) of the variation in LP 1RM and 15.4% (significant) in CP 1RM. In summary, these data indicate that BMI, handgrip strength, long jump, and vertical jump relate to 1RM strength in children and therefore may be useful for assessing muscular fitness in youths.

1Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts; 2Department of Health and Exercise Science, College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey; 3South Shore YMCA, Quincy, Massachusetts

Address for correspondence to Laura A. Milliken,

© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association