Percentile values for muscular strength field tests in children aged 6 to 17 years: influence of weight status

J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Nov;23(8):2295-310. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b8d5c1.


The aim of this study was to provide percentile values for 9 different muscular strength tests for Spanish children (1,513 boys and 1,265 girls) aged 6 to 17.9 years. The influence of body weight on the muscular strength level across age groups was also examined. Explosive strength was assessed by the throw ball test (upper body), standing broad jump, and vertical jump tests (lower body). Upper-body muscular endurance was assessed by push ups, bent arm hang, and pull ups tests, and abdominal muscular endurance was assessed by sit ups, curl ups in 30 seconds, and curl ups tests. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Participants were categorized according to the BMI international cut-off values as underweight, normalweight, overweight, and obese. Boys had significantly better scores than girls in all the studied tests, except in the 3 upper-body muscular endurance tests in the 6- to 7-year-old group and in the push ups test in the 8- to 9-year-old group. Underweight and normalweight individuals showed similar strength levels. Both underweight and normalweight children and adolescents had significantly higher performance than their overweight and obese counterparts in the lower-body explosive strength tests and in the push ups test in boys and bent arm hang test in both boys and girls. In conclusion, percentiles values of 9 muscular strength tests are provided. Percentiles values are of interest to identify the target population for primary prevention and to estimate the proportion of adolescents with high or low muscular strength levels. The overweight and obese groups had worse scores than their underweight and normalweight counterparts, whereas the underweight group had a similar performance to the normalweight group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Spain