ficient data for assessing the influence of several potential modifiers—age, gender, race/ethnicity, body composition, maturation status—on performance on musculoskeletal fitness tests.
The committee found growing evidence supporting the handgrip and standing long jump tests as putative health-related (i.e., bone health and body composition) musculoskeletal fitness test items in youth. The handgrip strength test demonstrates moderate to strong validity with both upper- and lower-body criterion strength measures. The standing long jump, although not strictly a measure of pure muscle strength, demonstrates acceptable concurrent validity with lower- and upper-body criterion strength measures and lower-body power measures in youth. The handgrip strength and standing long jump tests demonstrate strong and moderate reliability, respectively. Both are applicable across a broad age range, in both sexes, and in both normal and special pediatric subpopulations. These two tests also are currently included in the ALPHA test battery for musculoskeletal fitness assessment in European youth. Test administrators may wish to include these tests in a national youth fitness survey based on their integrity and feasibility; however, the results of these tests should not be interpreted in a health context until such relationships are more firmly established. The committee found no evidence of adverse events associated with the administration of these tests in the studies reviewed.
Other tests, such as the modified pull-up and isometric knee extension, also are being used as measures of muscular strength in current fitness test batteries in the United States but are linked only weakly with health markers in youth at this time. Therefore, despite their acceptable validity, reliability, and feasibility, the committee does not recommend these tests for a national youth fitness survey until such health links are more firmly established. In addition, although the bench press and leg press tests are viewed as standard criterion measures of strength or endurance (based on the number of repetitions demanded) in adults, they cannot be recommended for inclusion in a national youth fitness survey at this time because of the limited quality and level of the scientific evidence for the relationship of these tests to health outcomes in youth; the paucity of information on their reliability across childhood; and concerns regarding their administrative feasibility, practicality, and safety.
For schools and other educational settings, administrators should consider the hand grip strength and standing long jump tests as well as alternative tests that have not yet been shown to be related to health, but are valid, reliable, and feasible. The modified pull-up and push-up tests are possible alternatives for measuring upper-body musculoskeletal strength. The curl-up could also be considered for measuring an additional construct, core strength. The committee found no evidence of adverse events associated with the administration of these tests in the studies reviewed. The com-