Journal of Trainology



June 2022; Vol. 11, No. 2: Pages 17-21

Is the peak value truly maximal when measuring strength in young children? An updated study

Akemi Abe, Rika Sanui, Jeremy P. Loenneke, Takashi Abe


Objective: There is a lack of information about whether preschool-aged children are providing maximal attempts when measuring maximal strength. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the association between handgrip strength and forearm muscle size across the age ranges, including children three years old. Design and Methods: A total of 166 preschool children (87 boys and 79 girls) between the ages of 3.5 and 6.5 years were recruited from a local kindergarten with the cooperation of their parents. Maximum voluntary handgrip strength (HGS) was measured with the right hand using a Smedley handgrip dynamometer. Muscle thickness (MT-ulna) was measured using B-mode ultrasound at the anterior forearm of the right arm. Results: All beta (B) coefficients are unstandardized. There was a statistically significant relationship (r = 0.525) between MT-ulna and HGS [B = 0.751 (95% CI: 0.563, 0.938) p < 0.001]. However, this relationship did not depend upon age [MT-ulna*Age in months: B = -0.0033 (95% CI: -0.01, 0.01), p = 0.658]. In other words, the strength of the relationship between MT-ulna and HGS did not vary by age in months. This was also true when age was expressed in years (MT-Ulna*Age in years: p = 0.697). Conclusion: Our results indicated that the association between baseline forearm muscle size and HGS might provide suggestive evidence that children are maximally contracting. However, we acknowledge that this correlation analysis has significant limitations. Further research is needed to observe the association between these variables through longitudinal studies to confirm the results of this study.

Received March 20, 2022; accepted June 28, 2022