European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 177–185 | Cite as

Muscle strength and its relationship with skeletal muscle mass indices as determined by segmental bio-impedance analysis

  • Omid Alizadehkhaiyat
  • David H. Hawkes
  • Graham J. Kemp
  • Anthony Howard
  • Simon P. Frostick
Original Article



Despite increasing interest in bio-impedance analysis (BIA) for estimation of segmental skeletal muscle mass (SMM), published results have not been entirely convincing. Furthermore, a better understanding of the relationship between muscle strength and SMM will be useful in interpreting outcomes of physical/training interventions particularly in groups with diverse body sizes (e.g. men vs women). This study aimed to measure SMM in the upper body (upper extremity and torso), to determine its correlation with muscle strength and to examine the effects of gender on muscle strength–muscle mass relationship.


Segmental (upper extremity and torso) SMM and muscle strength in five distinct shoulder planes (forward flexion, abduction in scapular plane, abduction in coronal plane, internal and external rotation) were measured in 45 healthy participants (22 males, 23 females) with mean age 30.3 years. Statistical analysis included independent t tests, Pearson correlation, and multiple regression analysis.


Men and women differed significantly in body mass (BMI: 25.9 ± 4.3 vs 23 ± 3.6) and SMM (p < 0.01). A strong relationship correlation was found between the five shoulder strength measurements and upper extremity SMM (r = 0.66–0.80, p < 0.01), which was not affected by gender. There was a significant gender difference (p < 0.01) in absolute shoulder strength, but not after normalisation to the SMM.


BIA-estimated SMM of upper extremity and torso was highly correlated with upper extremity (shoulder) strength independent of gender. SMM may, therefore, be useful for the normalisation of muscle strength allowing size-independent comparisons of muscle strength in individuals with diverse physical characteristics.


Skeletal muscle mass Segmental bio-impedance Shoulder muscle strength Muscle strength normalisation 





Abduction in scapular plane


Bio-impedance analysis


Body mass index


External rotation


Forward flexion


Fat-free mass


Internal rotation


Magnetic resonance imaging


Skeletal muscle index


Skeletal muscle mass



The project was internally funded by the Musculoskeletal Science Research Group (Department of Molecular and Cancer Medicine), University of Liverpool. Authors have no conflict of interest. This study was funded by Musculoskeletal Science Research Group, University of Liverpool.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Omid Alizadehkhaiyat
    • 1
  • David H. Hawkes
    • 2
  • Graham J. Kemp
    • 3
  • Anthony Howard
    • 2
  • Simon P. Frostick
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Health SciencesLiverpool Hope UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Musculoskeletal Science Research Group, Institute of Translational MedicineUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  3. 3.Department of Musculoskeletal Biology II, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Institute of Ageing and Chronic DiseaseUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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