Reliability of the Nicholas Manual Muscle Tester on Upper Body Strength in Children Ages 8-10

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Hand-held dynamometry has proven reliable in assessing adult strength. The primary purpose of this study was to determine its reliability in children. Secondary purposes included investigating strength differences between males and females and between dominant (D) and nondominant (ND) sides. Subjects were 8-, 9-, and 10-year-old boys (n=63) and girls (n=54). The Nicholas Manual Muscle Tester (NMMT) was used to measure maximum isometric force of D and ND elbow flexors, elbow extensors, and shoulder abductors. Retest measurements were taken 4 to 7 days later. Results indicated that (a) correlation coefficients ranging from .72 to .90 were statistically significant; (b) except for males’ ND elbow extensor strength, a series of paired t tests revealed no significant differences between test and retest strength values; (c) a series of paired t tests revealed no significant strength differences between D and ND sides other than for males’ elbow extensor strength for the test phase; and (d) a series of unpaired t tests revealed statistically significant differences between males and females on a majority of the muscle groups. The NMMT appears to be a quick and reliable testing instrument for determining maximal isometric force in children.

C. Dawson is with Hampstead Central School, Emerson Ave., Hampstead, NH 03841. R. Croce, T. Quinn, and N. Vroman are with the Dept. of Physical Education at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824,

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