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Short term power output in relation to growth and maturation


Objective—To examine short term power output during growth and maturation using a multilevel modelling approach.

Methods—Body mass, stature, and triceps and subscapular skinfold thicknesses of boys and girls, aged 12.2 (0.4) years (mean (SD)) at the onset of the study, were measured at age 12, 13, and 17 years. Sexual maturation, classified according to Tanner's stage of pubic hair development, was assessed on the first two occasions and assumed to be stage 5 at 17 years. Peak power (PP) and mean power (MP) were assessed on each occasion using the Wingate anaerobic test.

Results—Initial models, founded on 417 determinations of short term power output, identified body mass, stature, and age as significant explanatory variables of both PP and MP. The values for girls were significantly lower than those for boys, and a significant age by sex interaction described a progressive divergence in the MP of boys and girls. The introduction of sum of two skinfold thicknesses produced a model with an improvement in fit as indicated by a significant change in log likelihood. The stature term was negated and the body mass term increased. The age and sex terms were reduced but remained significant. The age by sex interaction term remained a significant explanatory variable for MP. Maturity effects were non-significant additional explanatory variables in all models of power output.

Conclusion—The values of PP and MP for boys are higher than those for girls, and, for MP, sex differences increase with age. Body mass and skinfold thicknesses are significant influences on both PP and MP, but age exerts a positive but non-linear effect on power output independent of body size and fatness.

  • children
  • mean power
  • multilevel modelling
  • peak power

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