Chronological age vs. biological maturation: implications for exercise programming in youth

J Strength Cond Res. 2014 May;28(5):1454-64. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000391.


Biological maturation is associated with significant change to a number of physiological and structural processes throughout childhood and, in particular, adolescence. Mismatched rapid growth in the long bones relative to muscular lengthening may disrupt structure, neuromuscular function, and physical performance. Practitioners who work with school-age youth should be aware of the age-related changes that typically take place during a child's development to ensure that their strength and conditioning programming is as safe and effective as possible for enhancing performance and reducing injury risk. Although there are several methods available to assess biological maturation, practitioners who work with youth can benefit from assessment methods that are available and feasible, and that provide utility in the quantification of the degree and stages of biological maturation that affect motor performance in children and adolescents. This article synthesizes the relevant assessment methods and provides a rationale for understanding usable biological maturation assessment tools that can aid in the development of training program design for youth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Determination by Skeleton*
  • Age Factors*
  • Body Height
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Growth / physiology*
  • Human Development / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Physical Conditioning, Human
  • Sexual Development / physiology*