Normalizing physical performance tests for body size: a proposal for standardization

J Strength Cond Res. 2005 May;19(2):467-74. doi: 10.1519/R-15064.1.


There is a lack of standardized methodology for normalizing various indices of muscle strength and movement performance tests for differences in body size in human movement-related disciplines. Most of the data presented in the literature have been body size dependent, which precludes both comparisons between subjects and establishment of standards for specific subject populations. The goal of the present review was to propose standardized tests that normalize physical performance tests to body size. Specifically, we propose (a) using an allometric normalization based on theoretical models that presume geometric similarity, (b) using classification of performance tests based on particular values of the allometric parameters required for normalization, and (c) using a simple "performance index" that represents an individual or group performance relative to a reference population. Correspondences between theory and experimental findings and limitations are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Size / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Sports Medicine / standards
  • Task Performance and Analysis*