Maximal strength testing in healthy children

J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb;17(1):162-6. doi: 10.1519/1533-4287(2003)017<0162:mstihc>;2.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Reference Values
  • Safety
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*