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

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Abbreviations

ABD:

Abduction

ABD.SP:

Abduction in scapular plane

BIA:

Bio-impedance analysis

BMI:

Body mass index

EXT.ROT:

External rotation

F.FLEX:

Forward flexion

FFM:

Fat-free mass

INT.ROT:

Internal rotation

MRI:

Magnetic resonance imaging

SMI:

Skeletal muscle index

SMM:

Skeletal muscle mass

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Omid Alizadehkhaiyat.

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Communicated by Toshio Moritani.

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Alizadehkhaiyat, O., Hawkes, D.H., Kemp, G.J. et al. Muscle strength and its relationship with skeletal muscle mass indices as determined by segmental bio-impedance analysis. Eur J Appl Physiol 114, 177–185 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-013-2764-y

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Keywords

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