Effects of body fat and dominant somatotype on explosive strength and aerobic capacity trainability in prepubescent children

J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Dec;27(12):3233-44. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000252.


The purpose of this study was to analyze the influence of body fat and somatotype on explosive strength and aerobic capacity trainability in the prepubertal growth spurt, marked by rapid changes in body size, shape, and composition, all of which are sexually dimorphic. One hundred twenty-five healthy children (58 boys, 67 girls), aged 10-11 years (10.8 ± 0.4 years), who were self-assessed in Tanner stages 1-2, were randomly assigned into 2 experimental groups to train twice a week for 8 weeks: strength training group (19 boys, 22 girls), endurance training group (21 boys, 24 girls), and a control group (18 boys, 21 girls). Evaluation of body fat was carried out using the method described by Slaughter. Somatotype was computed according to the Heath-Carter method. Increased endomorphy reduced the likelihood of vertical jump height improvement (odds ratio [OR], 0.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01-0.85), increased mesomorphy (OR, 6.15; 95% CI, 1.52-24.88) and ectomorphy (OR, 6.52; 95% CI, 1.71-24.91) increased the likelihood of sprint performance, and increased ectomorphy (OR, 3.84; 95% CI, 1.20-12.27) increased the likelihood of aerobic fitness gains. Sex did not affect the training-induced changes in strength or aerobic fitness. These data suggest that somatotype has an effect on explosive strength and aerobic capacity trainability, which should not be disregarded. The effect of adiposity on explosive strength, musculoskeletal magnitude on running speed, and relative linearity on running speed and aerobic capacity seem to be crucial factors related to training-induced gains in prepubescent boys and girls.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Child
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Odds Ratio
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Resistance Training
  • Running / physiology
  • Somatotypes*