Author(s): Smail KM, Horvat M
The relationship of muscular strength on work performance measures in high school students with mild mental retardation was investigated. Ten students from a self contained Special Education class were matched according to age, gender, height, and weight then randomly assigned to either the treatment group or control group. The treatment group participated in a twelve week strength training program while the control group participated in low intensity recreational activities. Isometric strength and work performance measures were collected three times throughout the training, six weeks apart, with a retention measure collected six weeks past training. Vocational measures included: box stacking (timed repetitions), pail carry (timed distance), dolly cart push (timed distance), and sack carry (speed). Peak isometric strength measures were assessed bilaterally for: elbow flexion and extension, shoulder abduction, knee flexion and extension. Based on a randomized complete block design with repeated measures, results indicated a significant difference between post to pre test on each vocational task. In addition, all isometric strength measures indicated a significant difference between groups. Retention measures indicated decreases in work performance and isometric strength for both groups. Based on data analysis, it was concluded that participation in a school and community based strength training program was effective in increasing physical functioning and work related skills.