Effect of gender in response to an aerobic training programme in prepubertal children

Acta Paediatr. 2001 Jan;90(1):9-15. doi: 10.1080/080352501750064815.


The aim of the present study was to investigate the gender effect of an endurance training programme on the maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) of prepubertal children. The subjects comprised eighty-five 10-11-y-old prepubertal children: 35 (17 girls, 18 boys; EG) were involved in a 13-wk running training programme and 50 (22 girls, 28 boys; CG) served as a control group. Each subject carried out a continuous and progressive cycle ergometer test before and after the 13-wk study period under the same conditions and procedures. Oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide, ventilation and heart rate (HR) were continuously monitored during the test. The training programme consisted of interval and continuous long-distance running (frequency: 3 times a week, duration: 1 h per session, intensity: higher than 80% of maximal HR). V02max significantly increased after the training programme for EG (before = 42.3 +/- 7.7, after = 45.3 +/- 7.5 ml x min(-1) x kg(-1), p < 0.01), while no alterations were noticed for CG (before = 43.1 +/- 6.7, after = 42.6 +/- 7.6 ml x min(-1) x kg(-1), p < 0.01). Such an increase was higher in the girls (+9.1%) than the boys (+4.6%). The lower initial fitness of the girls could explain this, however, because a significant relationship was found between the percentage of VO2max increase after training and the initial VO2max. The present longitudinal study shows that maximal oxygen uptake can increase in prepubertal children after an aerobic training programme and that such an increase is of the same order in boys and girls when the initial aerobic fitness is taken into account.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Respiration
  • Sex Factors