BACKGROUND: We aimed to examine the associations of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), static strength and explosive strength with cognitive functions in young males. METHODS: Eighty-six young males (age 16-24 years) participated in the study and took part in a number of tests including: static strength (grip strength test), explosive strength (Sargent jump test), and CRF (via direct measure of maximal oxygen uptake [VO2max]). Static strength and explosive strength were scaled by allometrically modeled skeletal muscle mass (SMM) and height while VO2max was scaled by SMM and body mass (BM). Cognition was assessed by inhibitory control, simple and choice reaction time tasks using computerized Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Battery (CANTAB). Central processing time was measured by surface electromyography changes in isometric contraction response to an audio stimulus. RESULTS: VO2max scaled by BM (but not SMM), was associated with better central processing time and stop-signal reaction time (SSRT). Explosive strength was also associated with better central processing time independent of VO2max. However, static strength was not associated with cognition. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that explosive strength is a better predictor of central processing than static strength or VO2max in young males. Longitudinal studies are needed to examine whether explosive strength training in youth would improve central processing time.