Int J Sports Med 2011; 32(5): 357-364
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1271677
Training & Testing

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Effects and Mechanisms of Strength Training in Children

U. Granacher1 , A. Goesele2 , K. Roggo2 , T. Wischer3 , S. Fischer4 , C. Zuerny4 , A. Gollhofer5 , S. Kriemler4
  • 1Institute of Sport Science, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany
  • 2Crossklinik AG, Swiss Olympic Medical Center, Basel, Switzerland
  • 3Merian Iselin, Department of Radiology, Basel, Switzerland
  • 4Institute of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • 5Institute of Sport and Sport Sciences, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 6Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision December 21, 2010

Publication Date:
04 March 2011 (online)


It has been demonstrated that strength training can be organized in children in a safe and effective way. However, there is limited data regarding its impact on muscle hypertrophy. This study investigated the effects of a high-intensity strength training (HIS) on knee extensor/flexor strength, countermovement (CMJ) jumping height, postural control, soft lean mass and muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) of the dominant leg in prepubertal children. Thirty-two children participated in this study and were assigned to an intervention (INT; n=17) or a control class (n=15). The INT participated in 10 weeks of weight-machine based HIS integrated in physical education. Pre/post tests included the measurements of peak torque of the knee extensors/flexors at 60 and 180°/s, CMJ jumping height, postural sway, soft lean mass of the leg by bioelectrical impedance analysis, and CSA (m. quadriceps) by magnetic resonance imaging. HIS resulted in significant increases in knee extensor/flexor peak torque (60°/s and 180°/s). HIS did not produce significant changes in CMJ jumping height, postural sway, soft lean mass, and CSA. Although HIS was effective at increasing peak torque of the knee extensors/flexors in children, it was unable to affect muscle size. It appears that neural factors rather than muscle hypertrophy account for the observed strength gains in children.


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Prof. Urs GranacherPhD 

Institute of Sport Science

Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

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