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Peak Height Velocity (PHV)

Peak height velocity is the period of time in which a child experiences the fastest change in their stature during their adolescent growth spurt (the adolescent growth spurt is not the fastest increase in stature during a person's lifetime, the greatest change in height or length is actually observed during the first year of life).

The age of PHV is a marker of maturity, and can be used with athletes to develop and maximize the effectiveness of training programs. The onset of PHV is the best determiner of when to increase the training focus on aerobic and strength development. For example females should begin strength training immediately after PHV, while males should begin strength training 12-18 months after.

How to measure peak height velocity

From the age of six, you should measure and plot height every three months. Once a rapid upward deviation is noted, measurements of torso length and arm length can also be recorded to give a more comprehensive look at how growth is taking place. Continue to take these measurements for 1-2 years after PHV. The growth spurt typically lasts between 1-1.5 years though it may extend out to 5 years for slow developers.

peak height velocity chart

Identifying Growth Problems

Children do not grow at the same rate, nor in a linear fashion. By monitoring height over a period of time you may be able to identify growth problems as a result of underlying disease, hormonal problems, malnutrition, genetic dispositions, and injury. Early identification of a growth problem should be made known to a medical professional to enable more effective treatment to assist with healthy development. You can also monitor development by comparing the height measurements to height growth charts.

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