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Childhood muscle morphology and strength: Alterations over six months of growth

Authors

  • Christian A. Pitcher BSc, Hons,

    1. School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, M408, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley 6009, Western Australia
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  • Catherine M. Elliott PhD,

    1. School of Pediatrics and Child Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia
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  • Sîan A. Williams BSc, Hons,

    1. School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, M408, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley 6009, Western Australia
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  • Melissa K. Licari PhD,

    1. School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, M408, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley 6009, Western Australia
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  • Alex Kuenzel BSc,

    1. Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, WA, Australia
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  • Peter J. Shipman MD,

    1. Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, WA, Australia
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  • Jane P. Valentine MD,

    1. School of Pediatrics and Child Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia
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  • Siobhán L. Reid PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, M408, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley 6009, Western Australia
    • School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, M408, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley 6009, Western Australia
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Abstract

Introduction:

The purpose of this study was to establish the nature and stability of the strength-size relationship for the knee flexors and extensors across a 6-month period of childhood growth.

Methods:

Nineteen typically developing children aged 5–11 years underwent lower limb magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and dynamometry strength assessments on 2 occasions, 6 months apart. Muscle volume (MV) and maximum anatomical cross-sectional area (aCSA) for the knee flexors and extensors were determined using MRI analysis software. Isokinetic dynamometry determined corresponding isometric and isokinetic strength.

Results:

Strong correlations were found between muscle size and strength for both the knee flexors and extensors (r = 0.84–0.90; P < 0.01). Furthermore, the ratio of strength to muscle size remained consistent across 6 months of prepubescent growth.

Conclusions:

Increases in thigh muscle strength were relative to those in muscle size, suggesting that muscle growth may play an important role in the development of strength during childhood. Muscle Nerve 46: 360–366, 2012

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