Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatrics. 1999 Jul;104(1):e5.

The effects of different resistance training protocols on muscular strength and endurance development in children.

Author information

Department of Human Performance and Fitness, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts 02125-3393, USA.



Previous research has shown that children can increase their muscular strength and muscular endurance as a result of regular participation in a progressive resistance training program. However, the most effective exercise prescription regarding the number of repetitions remains questionable.


To compare the effects of a low repetition-heavy load resistance training program and a high repetition-moderate load resistance training program on the development of muscular strength and muscular endurance in children. Design. Prospective, controlled trial.


Community-based youth fitness center.


Eleven girls and 32 boys between the ages of 5.2 and 11.8 years.


In twice-weekly sessions of resistance training for 8 weeks, children performed 1 set of 6 to 8 repetitions with a heavy load (n = 15) or 1 set of 13 to 15 repetitions with a moderate load (n = 16) on child-size exercise machines. Children in the control group (n = 12) did not resistance train. One repetition maximum (RM) strength and muscular endurance (repetitions performed posttraining with the pretraining 1-RM load) were determined on the leg extension and chest press exercises.


One RM leg extension strength significantly increased in both exercise groups compared with that in the control subjects. Increases of 31.0% and 40.9%, respectively, for the low repetition-heavy load and high repetition-moderate load groups were observed. Leg extension muscular endurance significantly increased in both exercise groups compared with that in the control subjects, although gains resulting from high repetition-moderate load training (13.1 +/- 6.2 repetitions) were significantly greater than those resulting from low repetition-heavy load training (8.7 +/- 2.9 repetitions). On the chest press exercise, only the high repetition-moderate load exercise group made gains in 1-RM strength (16.3%) and muscular endurance (5.2 +/- 3.6 repetitions) that were significantly greater than gains in the control subjects.


These findings support the concept that muscular strength and muscular endurance can be improved during the childhood years and favor the prescription of higher repetition-moderate load resistance training programs during the initial adaptation period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center