The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of strength training in prepubescent boys and girls on muscle strength and cross-sectional area of upper arm. Subjects were ninety-nine healthy elementary school children who belonged to 1st, 3rd and 5th grades and they were assigned to two groups of training (N = 52) and control (N = 47). Training group participated in strength training program for 12 weeks which consisted of maximum sustained isometric contraction of elbow flexion for ten sec, whereas control group did not participate in special training program in this period. In orger to determine the changes due to training, cross-sectional areas of the tissues in upper arm, such as muscle, fat and bone, were measured by the ultrasonic method. Maximum isometric and isokinetic muscle strength of elbow flexion and extension were measured by means of isokinetic cybex dynamometer. In order to assess the development of physiological maturity, TW2 method was used to estimate the skeletal age in each subject by taking the hand-wrist X-ray photograph. After 12-week training period, the whole cross-sectional areas increased in both training and control groups. This increment was due to significant increases in muscle and bone area in the training group and, on the other hand, due to the increase in fat area in the control. The increment of muscle area of training group was about 50 % of that derived from the study on adults (Fukunaga, T., 1978). The increment in cross-sectional area of muscle with training was significantly correlated with the skeletal age. Isometric strength of elbow extension showed significant increase and for 5th grade males this increase was about 40 % of that obtained from adults, whereas isokinetic strength unchanged with training. Muscle strength per cross-sectional area did not show a significnat increase except for the training group of 5th grade boys. In conclusion, the effects of strength training on cross-sectional muscle area and strength for prepubescent were similar in its direction but different in its magnitude from those found in adults.
Japan Society of Physiological Anthropology