The influence of somatotype on anaerobic performance

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The link between athlete physique and performance in sports is well established. However, a direct link between somatotype three-numeral rating and anaerobic performance has not yet been reported. The purpose of this study was to assess the relations between somatotype and anaerobic performance using both singular and multivariate analyses. Thirty-six physically active males (mean ± standard deviation age 26.0 ± 9.8 years; body mass 79.5 ± 12.9 kg; height 1.82 ± 0.07 m) were somatotype-rated using the Heath-Carter method. Subjects were assessed for 3 repetition maximum (3 RM) bench press and back squat, and completed a 30-second maximal sprint cycle test. Positive correlations were observed between mesomorphy and 3 RM bench press (r = 0.560, p < 0.001), mesomorphy and 3 RM back squat (r = 0.550, p = 0.001) and between mesomorphy and minimum power output (r = 0.357, p = 0.033). Negative correlations were observed between ectomorphy and 3 RM bench press (r = -0.381, p = 0.022), and ectomorphy and 3 RM back squat (r = -0.336, p = 0.045). Individual regression analysis indicated that mesomorphy was the best predictor of 3 RM bench press performance, with 31.4% of variance in 3 RM bench press performance accounted for by the mesomorphy rating (p < 0.001). A combination of mesomorphy and ectomorphy best predicted 3 RM back squat performance (R2 = 0.388, p < 0.04). Around one third of strength performance is predicted by somatotype-assessed physique in physically active males. This could have important implications for the identification of those predisposed to perform well in sports containing strength-based movements and prescription of training programmes.




Ryan-Stewart, H., Faulkner, J., & Jobson, S. (2018). The influence of somatotype on anaerobic performance. PLoS ONE, 13(5).

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