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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2020 May;60(5):733-42

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.10487-0


language: English

Assessing body composition in rugby players: agreement between different methods and association with physical performance

Renan F. HARTMANN NUNES 1, 2 , Ewertton de SOUZA BEZERRA 3, Lucas B. ORSSATTO 4, 5, Yara M. MORENO 1, Irineu LOTURCO 6, 7, Rob DUFFIELD 7, Diego A. SILVA 1, Luiz G. GUGLIELMO 1

1 Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil; 2 Department of Physiology, Clube Atlético Tubarão, Tubarão, Brazil; 3 Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Federal University of Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil; 4 School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia; 5 Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia; 6 Núcleo de Alto Rendimento Esportivo (NAR), São Paulo, Brazil; 7 Sport and Exercise Discipline Group, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Sydney, Australia

BACKGROUND: This study investigated the comparability between air displacement plethysmography (ADP), dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) methods for body composition assessment and their correlations with physical performance in rugby players.
METHODS: Nineteen male elite players participated in the study. ADP, DXA, and BIA were used to assess fat-mass and fat-free mass. Physical performance was assessed by means of Carminatti’s test of peak velocity (PVTCAR), countermovement jump (CMJ), sprint speed (10 and 30-m), and match performance analyses (sprinting, distance covered, and high-intensity running).
RESULTS: BIA overestimated fat-mass (13±41%; r2=0.60) and underestimated fat-free mass (-1±7%; r2=0.66) compared to ADP (P=0.001). BIA underestimated fat-mass (-28±3%; r2=0.92) and overestimated fat-free mass (10±5%; r2=0.87) compared to DXA (P<0.001). ADP underestimated fat-mass (-36±37%; r2=0.69) and overestimated fat-free mass (11±8%; r2=0.52) compared to DXA (P<0.001). Fat-mass measured by ADP, DXA, and BIA negatively correlated with PVTCAR (r2≥0.49), height and peak power from CMJ (r2≥0.30), sprinting ability (r2≥0.65), and match performance variables (r2≥0.30).
CONCLUSIONS: As long as one considers that ADP and BIA underestimated fat-mass and overestimated fat-free mass compared to DXA, the methods can be used to estimate body composition, particularly to track body fat-mass changes, which negatively influence several physical capacities determinant to rugby performance. The limitations of the methods should be borne in mind when assessing the body composition of rugby athletes.

KEY WORDS: Adipose tissue; Football; Body composition; Athletic performance

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