Keiner, M, Sander, A, Wirth, K, Caruso, O, Immesberger, P, and Zawieja, M. Strength performance in youth: trainability of adolescents and children in the back and front squats. J Strength Cond Res 27(2): 357–362, 2013—A basic question for many athletic coaches pertains to the maximum attainable strength level for youth athletes. The aim of this investigation was to establish reference values for the strength performance in the front and back squats in youth athletes. The strength performance in front and back squats of 141 elite youth soccer players was tested by a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) and 1RM related to bodyweight (SREL). The subjects aged between 11 and 19 years and were divided into 2 groups and 4 subgroups (A = younger than 19 years, B = younger than 17 years, C = younger than 15 years, and D = younger than 13 years). For approximately 2 years, one group (control group [CG]) only participated in routine soccer training and the other group (strength training group [STG]) participated in an additional strength training program along with the routine soccer training. Additionally, the strength performance in a 5RM in both squat variants of 105 young elite weightlifters (National Weightlifting Organization Baden Württemberg, [BWG]) was examined to show the high level of trainability of children and adolescents and to determine the reference strength values for young athletes. The STG performed in the parallel front squat SREL in the subgroups A 1.7 +/− 0.2, B 1.6 +/− 0.2, C 1.4 +/−0.2 and D 0.9 +/− 0.3. The STG had significantly (p < 0.001) higher strength values in 1RM and SREL than CG. The BWG had higher strength values than STG, but the BWG was not part of the statistical analysis because of the different test protocols (1RM vs. 5RM). Our data show that the SREL in parallel squat for young elite athletes with long-term training experience should be a minimum of 2.0 for 16- to 19-year-olds, 1.5 for 13- to 15-year-olds, and 0.7 for 11- to 12-year-olds.
1Institute of Sport Science, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
2Weightlifting Organization, Baden-Württembergischen, Leimen, Germany
Address correspondence to Michael Keiner, email@example.com.