Adjustment of Measures of Strength and Power in Youth Male Athletes Differing in Body Mass and Maturation

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Adjustment for body mass and maturation of strength, power, and velocity measures of young athletes is important for talent development. Seventy-four youth male athletes performed a ballistic leg press test at five loads relative to body mass. The data were analyzed in maturity groups based on years from peak height velocity: −2.5 to −0.9 y (n = 29); −1.0 to 0.4 y (n = 28); and 0.5 to 2.0 y (n = 16). Allometric scaling factors representing percent difference in performance per percent difference in body mass were derived by linear regression of log-transformed variables, which also permitted adjustment of performance for body mass. Standardized differences between groups were assessed via magnitude-based inference. Strength and power measures showed a greater dependency on body mass than velocity-related variables (scaling factors of 0.56–0.85 vs. 0.42–0.14%/%), but even after adjustment for body mass most differences in strength and power were substantial (7–44%). In conclusion, increases in strength and power with maturation are due only partly to increases in body mass. Such increases, along with appropriate adjustment for body mass, need to be taken into account when comparing performance of maturing athletes.

Meylan was with the Sport Performance Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, at the time of this research and is currently with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, Vancouver, Canada. Cronin and Hopkins are with the School of Sport and Recreation, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Oliver is with the Cardiff School of Sport, University of Wales Institute Cardiff, Cardiff, UK.

Pediatric Exercise Science