Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health, Physical Education and Recreation

First Advisor

Dr. Kris Berg

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel Blanke

Third Advisor

Dr. Larry Stephens


The effect of overload training on adults has been considered for thousands of years. Centuries before Christ, Milo of Crotona carried a calf on his back daily until the animal was full-grown, resulting in one of the earliest accounts of the overload principle (Bergan & Scoles, 1979). Results of overload training on adults have been well documented (Tanner, 1952; Hellebrandt & Houtz, 1958; Berger,1962a; 1962b; Rasch & Pierson, 1963; Berger & Hardage, 1967; Stull & Clark, 1970; Leighton, Holmes, Benson, Wooten & Schmerer, 1967; Wilmore, 1975; Gettman, Ward & Hager, 1982). However, how overload affects children and adolescents is barely touched upon in the literature. The concept of an overload training threshold age or point of threshold maturity is virtually a matter of speculation.

There is general agreement that there are certain indicators which are at least moderately related to strength, including maturity and structural measures (Jones, 1946; Wickens, 1958; Hunsicker & Greey, 1957; Clarke & Petersen, 1961; Clarke & Harrison, 1962; Rarick & Oyster, 1964). Although not logically developed by exercise these traits should be considered when judging the· physical potential of boys and girls. On the contrary, muscular strength is a developmental trait which can be improved through the right kind and amount of exercise (President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 1974). The value of overload training in both a rehabilitative and developmental sense has been noted for teenage boys (Gallagher, Andover & Delorme, 1949; Fisher, 1966). Unfortunately, it was not documented whether any or all of these boys had reached puberty. Since puberty has generally been considered to be·that point at which strength gains are enhanced (Jones, 1946; Miller & Keane, 1978; Wilmore, 1982), the question arises as to the worth of earlier weight training. It has been noted that strength training for prepubescent children in the hope of increasing size and/or the strength of their muscle is probably of little benefit, since there is no predictable response (Round Table Discussion, 1977). However, when reviewing the literature one finds that this one that has not been clearly investigated.


A Thesis Presented to the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1983 Margaret M. Sailors.

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