Is Adolescence a Critical Period for the Withdrawal of Physiological Protections during High-Intensity Exercise?

By Sébastien Ratel, Vincent Martin

The child is a human being in perpetual evolution, which responds differently to exercise-related physical and psychological constraints depending on its developmental stage. Physical activity in children and adolescents is most often characterized by repeated high-intensity short-term exercises that can lead to fatigue, which increases with age. Beyond the peripheral factors (muscle mass and typology, energy metabolism, musculo-tendinous stiffness), neural factors (motor units activation, the level of antagonist co-activation) could be mechanisms that protect the child from the fatigue, compared to those involved in the adolescent. Therefore, the objective of this review is to highlight the effect of puberty on the withdrawal of potential “physiological protections” during fatiguing intense exercise.


  • maturation
  • growth
  • neuromuscular fatigue
  • high-intensity exercise
  • protection mechanisms
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