Muscle and fat mapping of the trunk: a case study


The following case study examines the muscle and fat thickness of the trunk in a 25-year-old, former collegiate gymnast. Previous studies have quantified total and regional skeletal muscle mass using magnetic resonance imaging and muscle volume and distribution using ultrasound. However, to the best of our knowledge, the distribution and symmetry of skeletal muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) of the anterior and posterior trunk have never been investigated. Ultrasound was used to identify skeletal muscle and AT thickness of 143 data points on the anterior portion of the trunk and 140 data points on the posterior portion of the trunk. Muscle thickness values in the anterior trunk ranged from 0.5 to 5.6 cm, and muscle thickness of the posterior trunk ranged from 0.6 to 6.6 cm. Total muscle volume of the trunk was 2935 and 4195 cm3 for the anterior and posterior portions, respectively. The total predicted muscle mass in the anterior and posterior trunk was 7.4 kg. This case study begins to provide a picture of the distribution and symmetry of skeletal muscle and AT of the trunk. Future studies are necessary to confirm these findings and examine relationships among different populations.


Il caso che presentiamo esamina lo spessore del muscolo e grasso del tronco di un venticinquenne ex ginnasta professionista. Precedenti studi hanno quantificato la massa muscolare scheletrica totale e regionale utilizzando la risonanza magnetica, il volume muscolare e la distribuzione con l’ecografia. Tuttavia, per quanto a nostra conoscenza, la distribuzione e la simmetria della muscolatura scheletrica e del tessuto adiposo sottocutaneo (AT) del tronco anteriore e posteriore, non sono mai stati indagati. Pertanto, lo scopo di questo studio è stato valutare la quantità assoluta e relativa di muscolo e del grasso in tutta la regione tronco, in un atleta altamente qualificato. Metodi: Il soggetto si trovava nella posizione fondamentale, l’ecografia è stata usata per identificare lo spessore della muscolo scheletrico e del AT in 143 punti prestabiliti sulla parte anteriore del tronco e in 140 punti prestabiliti nulla parte posteriore del tronco. Il volume muscolare è stato calcolato per ciascun segmento del tronco moltiplicando lo spessore muscolare (cm) per la lunghezza e la larghezza di ogni segmento (3 cm × 3 cm). Risultati: I valori di spessore del muscolo nella parte anteriore del tronco variavano da 0.5 cm a 5.6 centimetri e lo spessore del muscolo nella parte posteriore del tronco variavano da 0.6 centimetri a 6.6 centimetri. Il volume totale dei muscoli del tronco era 2935 cm3 e 4195 cm3, rispettivamente per la parte anteriore e posteriore. Il totale previsto della massa muscolare della parte anteriore e posteriore del tronco era di 7.4 kg. Conclusioni: Questo studio inizia a fornire un quadro della distribuzione e della simmetria della muscolatura scheletrica e dell’AT del tronco. Ulteriori studi sono necessari per confermare questi risultati e valutarli nelle diverse popolazioni.

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Correspondence to Jeremy P. Loenneke.

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The authors are not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding, or financial holdings that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this manuscript. This study was not supported by any funding.

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All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. The participant provided written informed consent to enrollment in the study and to the inclusion in this article of information that could potentially lead to their identification.

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Buckner, S.L., Abe, T., Counts, B.R. et al. Muscle and fat mapping of the trunk: a case study. J Ultrasound 18, 399–405 (2015).

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  • Ultrasound
  • Volume
  • Gymnastics
  • Hypertrophy