Effects of Strength Training on Motor Performance Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Meta-Analysis

in Pediatric Exercise Science

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Michael BehringerGerman Sport University Cologne

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Andreas vom HeedeGerman Sport University Cologne

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Maria MatthewsEast Stroudsburg University

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Joachim MesterGerman Sport University Cologne

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The recent literature delineates resistance training in children and adolescents to be effective and safe. However, only little is known about the transfer of achieved strength gains to athletic performance. The present meta-analysis revealed a combined mean effect size for motor skill types jumping, running, and throwing of 0.52 (95% CI: 0.33–0.71). Effect sizes for each of aforementioned skill types separately were 0.54 (95% CI: 0.34–0.74), 0.53 (95% CI: 0.23–0.83), and 0.99 (95% CI: 0.19–1.79) respectively. Furthermore, it could be shown that younger subjects and nonathletes showed higher gains in motor performance following resistance training than their counterparts and that specific resistance training regimes were not advantageous over traditional resistance training programs. Finally, a positive dose response relationship for “intensity” could be found in subgroups using traditional training regimens. These results emphasize that resistance training provides an effective way for enhancing motor performance in children and adolescents.

Behringer, vom Heede, and Mester are with the Institute of Training Science and Sport Informatics, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany. Matthews is with East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA.

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