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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 1999 December;39(4):355-60

Copyright © 2000 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The contribution of anthropometric characteristics to performance scores in elite female gymnasts

Claessens A. L. 1, Lefevre J. 1, Beunen G. 1, Malina R. M. 2

1 Department of Kinesiology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; 2 Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA


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Background. Aims of ­this ­study ­were: a) to iden­ti­fy anthro­po­met­ric var­i­ables cor­re­lat­ed ­with gym­nas­tic per­for­mance, and b) to pre­dict per­for­mance ­scores ­from a com­bi­na­tion of anthro­po­met­ric dimen­sions.
Methods. Experimental ­design: correlational anal­y­sis and a step­wise mul­ti­ple regres­sion ­were ­used. Setting: Subjects ­were par­tic­i­pants at the 24th World Championships Artistic Gymnastics, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in 1987. Participants: A ­total of 168 ­female gym­nasts (­mean age: 16.5±1.8 ­years) ­were inves­ti­gat­ed. Each gym­nast par­tic­i­pat­ed in all ­events. Measures: An exten­sive bat­tery of anthro­po­met­ric dimen­sions was tak­en on ­each ath­lete. The somat­o­type was esti­mat­ed. Skeletal mat­u­ra­tion of the ­hand-­wrist was ­assessed. Competition ­scores for the ­four indi­vid­u­al gym­nas­tic ­events (bal­ance ­beam, ­floor exer­cise, ­vault, ­uneven ­bars) and a com­pos­ite ­score for ­each gym­nast ­were the depen­dent var­i­ables.
Results. Moderately ­high, sig­nif­i­cant cor­re­la­tions (p<0.01) ­were ­observed ­between skin­folds and endo­mor­phy, and gym­nas­tics per­for­mance ­scores, r var­y­ing ­from -0.38 to -0.60, for ­biceps skin­fold and the ­score on bal­ance ­beam, and for endo­mor­phy and the ­total ­score, respec­tive­ly. The cor­re­la­tions sug­gest ­that gym­nasts ­with ­more sub­cu­ta­ne­ous fat and high­er endo­mor­phy ­have low­er per­for­mance ­scores. About 32% to 45% of the var­i­ance in gym­nas­tic per­for­mance ­scores ­could be ­explained by anthro­po­met­ric dimen­sions and/or ­derived var­i­ables, but endo­mor­phy and chron­o­log­i­cal age are the ­most impor­tant pre­dic­tors.
Conclusions. There is a rel­a­tive­ly ­strong rela­tion­ship ­between sev­er­al anthro­po­met­ric var­i­ables and gym­nas­tic per­for­mance in a sam­ple of ­elite ­female gym­nasts, but the asso­ci­a­tions are not suf­fi­cient­ly ­high to pre­dict per­for­mance ­scores on an indi­vid­u­al ­basis.

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