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Underlying mechanisms of prepubescent strength gains following resistance training are speculative. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of 8 wk of resistance training on muscular strength, integrated EMG amplitude (IEMG), and arm anthropometrics of prepubescent youth. Sixteen subjects (8 males, 8 females) were randomly assigned to trained or control groups. All subjects (mean age = 10.3 yr) were of prepubertal status according to the criteria of Tanner. The trained group performed three sets (7-11 repetitions) of bicep curls with dumbbells there times per week for 8 wk. Pre- and posttraining measurements included isotonic and isokinetic strength of the elbow flexors, arm anthropometrics, and IEMG of the biceps brachii. Planned comparisons for a 2 X 2 (group by test) ANOVA model were used for data analysis. Significant isotonic (22.6%) and isokinetic (27.8%) strength gains were observed in the trained group without corresponding changes in arm circumference or skinfolds. The IEMC amplitude increased 16.8% (P < 0.05). The control group did not demonstrate any significant changes in the parameters measured. Early gains in muscular strength resulting from resistance training by prepubescent children may be attributed to increased muscle activation.

(C)1994The American College of Sports Medicine