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Open AccessArticle

Are Early or Late Maturers Likely to Be Fitter in the General Population?

Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall WS1 3BD, UK
Research Unit (UR17JS01) Sports Performance, Health & Society, Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Ksar Saîd, Universite de la Manouba, Tunis 2010, Tunisia
Department of Social Science, Sport and Business, Sport and Health, Newman University, Birmingham B32 3NT, UK
Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
Division of Training and Movement Sciences, Research Focus Cognitive Sciences, University of Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 497;
Received: 16 November 2020 / Revised: 27 December 2020 / Accepted: 6 January 2021 / Published: 9 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
The present study aims to identify the optimal body-size/shape and maturity characteristics associated with superior fitness test performances having controlled for body-size, sex, and chronological-age differences. The sample consisted of 597 Tunisian children (396 boys and 201 girls) aged 8 to 15 years. Three sprint speeds recorded at 10, 20 and 30 m; two vertical and two horizontal jump tests; a change-of-direction and a handgrip-strength tests, were assessed during physical-education classes. Allometric modelling was used to identify the benefit of being an early or late maturer. Findings showed that being tall and light is the ideal shape to be successful at most physical fitness tests, but the height-to-weight “shape” ratio seems to be test-dependent. Having controlled for body-size/shape, sex, and chronological age, the model identified maturity-offset as an additional predictor. Boys who go earlier/younger through peak-height-velocity (PHV) outperform those who go at a later/older age. However, most of the girls’ physical-fitness tests peaked at the age at PHV and decline thereafter. Girls whose age at PHV was near the middle of the age range would appear to have an advantage compared to early or late maturers. These findings have important implications for talent scouts and coaches wishing to recruit children into their sports/athletic clubs. View Full-Text
Keywords: youth; fitness tests; allometry; body shape; biological age youth; fitness tests; allometry; body shape; biological age
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nevill, A.M.; Negra, Y.; Myers, T.D.; Duncan, M.J.; Chaabene, H.; Granacher, U. Are Early or Late Maturers Likely to Be Fitter in the General Population? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 497.

AMA Style

Nevill AM, Negra Y, Myers TD, Duncan MJ, Chaabene H, Granacher U. Are Early or Late Maturers Likely to Be Fitter in the General Population? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(2):497.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nevill, Alan M.; Negra, Yassine; Myers, Tony D.; Duncan, Michael J.; Chaabene, Helmi; Granacher, Urs. 2021. "Are Early or Late Maturers Likely to Be Fitter in the General Population?" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18, no. 2: 497.

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