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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 May 09

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07480-1


language: English

Allometric associations between body size, shape, and 100­m butterfly speed performance

Senda SAMMOUD 1, Alan M. NEVILL 2, Yassine NEGRA 1 , Raja BOUGUEZZI 1, Helmi CHAABENE 4, Younés HACHANA 1, 3

1 Research Unit Sport Performance Health and Society, Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Ksar Said, Tunis, Tunisia; 2 Faculty of Education, Health, and Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall, United Kingdom; 3 Higher Institute of Sports and Physical Education, Manouba University, Tunis, Tunisia; 4 Tunisian Research Laboratory Sports Performance Optimization, National Center of Medicine and Science in Sports (CNMSS), Tunis, Tunisia


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to estimate the optimal body size, limb-­segment length, and girth or breadth ratios associated with 100-­m butterfly speed performance in swimmers.
METHODS: One-­hundred-­sixty­seven swimmers as subjects (male: n=103; female: n=64). Anthropometric measurements comprised height, body-­mass, skinfolds, arm-span, upper-­limb-­length, upper­-arm, forearm, hand-­lengths, lower-­limb-­length, thigh-­length, leg-­length, foot­-length, arm-­relaxed-­girth, forearm­-girth, wrist­-girth, thigh-­girth, calf-­girth, ankle-­girth, biacromial and biiliocristal-­breadths. To estimate the optimal body size and body composition components associated with 100-­m butterfly speed performance, we adopted a multiplicative allometric log­linear regression model, which was refined using backward elimination.
RESULTS: Fat­-mass was the singularly most important whole-­body characteristic. Height and body-­mass did not contribute to the model. The allometric model identified that having greater limb segment length-­ratio [arm-­ratio = (arm­-span)/ (forearm)] and limb girth-­ratio [girth-­ratio = (calf-­girth)/ (ankle-­girth)] were key to butterfly speed performance. A greater arm-­span to forearm-­length ratio and a greater calf to ankle-­girth-­ratio suggest that a combination of larger arm-­span and shorter forearm-­length and the combination of larger calves and smaller ankles-­girth may benefit butterfly swim speed performance. In addition having greater biacromial and biiliocristal breadths is also a major advantage in butterfly swimming speed performance. Finally, the estimation of these ratios was made possible by adopting a multiplicative allometric model that was able to confirm, theoretically, that swim speeds are nearly independent of total body size.
CONCLUSION: The 100-­m butterfly speed performance was strongly negatively associated with fat mass and positively associated with the segment length ratio [(arm-­span)/ (forearm-­length) and girth ratio (calf­-girth)/(ankle­-girth), having controlled for the developmental changes in age.

KEY WORDS: Allometric model - Butterfly stroke - Anthropometric measurements

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