Anthropometry and Race Performance in Endurance Athletes



The main endurance disciplines are swimming, cycling and running. In studies of athletes performing in these disciplines, it is mainly the influence of body mass, body height, body mass index, length and girth of extremities, body fat and, in more recent studies, of skin-fold thicknesses, that has been investigated. Body mass seems to correlate with performance in runners and cyclists, but not in swimmers. Body height is associated with performance in female pool swimmers. Body mass index is correlated to performance in marathon and ultra-marathon runners. The length of extremities is a predictor variable in young pool swimmers; the circumference of limbs is related to running performance, depending upon the distance. Body fat is a main predictor variable in runners and swimmers. The thickness of skin-folds is related to running and swimming performance, but not to cycling performance. To summarise, there are different anthropometric variables related to performance in these endurance disciplines. In swimmers, body height is a main predictor variable; in cyclists, body mass is mainly associated with performance and in runners, the variables of body mass, body fat and skin-fold thicknesses are mainly related to performance.


Body Height Skinfold Thickness Race Time Race Performance Female Swimmer 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General Practice and Health Services ResearchUniversity of ZurichZürichSwitzerland

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