Comparison of 1 and 2 days per week of strength training in children

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2002 Dec;73(4):416-24. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2002.10609041.


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of 1 and 2 days per week of strength training on upper body strength, lower body strength, and motor performance ability in children. Twenty-one girls and 34 boys between the ages of 7.1 and 12.3 years volunteered to participate in this study. Participants strength trained either once per week (n = 22) or twice per week (n = 20) for 8 weeks at a community-based youth fitness center. Each training session consisted of a single set of 10-15 repetitions on 12 exercises using child-size weight machines. Thirteen children who did not strength train served as age-matched controls. One repetition maximum (1RM) strength on the chest press and leg press, handgrip strength, long jump, vertical jump, and flexibility were assessed at baseline and posttraining. Only participants who strength trained twice per week made significantly greater gains in 1RM chest press strength, compared to the control group (11.5 and 4.4% respectively, p < .05). Participants who trained once and twice per week made gains in 1RM leg press strength (14.2 and 24.7%, respectively) that were significantly greater than control group gains (2.4%). On average, participants who strength trained once per week achieved 67% of the 1RM strength gains. No significant differences between groups were observed on other outcome measures. These findings support the concept that muscular strength can be improved during the childhood years and favor a training frequency of twice per week for children participating in an introductory strength training program.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Age Factors
  • Arm / physiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Pliability
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*