Faigenbaum, A., Westcott, W., Micheli, L., Outerbridge, R., Long, C., LaRosa-Loud, R., & Zaichkowsky, L. (1995). The effects of strength training and detraining on children. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 27(5), Supplement abstract 656.

The effects of eight weeks of strength training followed by eight weeks of detraining in children (7-12 yr) were evaluated. Sessions were conducted twice per week. A group matched for age and maturity level served as a control group.

The trained group improved leg extensions (53.5%) and chest press (41.1%). Controls improved 7.9%. Vertical jump and sit-and-reach flexibility did not change in any significant manner indicating the specificity of training effects. During detraining, losses in strength were evident after four weeks, with the legs losing more strength than the upper body.

Implication. Twice-per-week strength training is sufficient to dramatically improve the strength of children over gains that would be expected by maturation. Detraining occurs with inactivity as with any trained effect. Weight-bearing muscle groups (legs) were seen to detrain more than the upper body.

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