Affiliations: [a] Servizio di Medicina dello Sport - ASL Viterbo 3, Viterbo, Italy. e-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Body composition and anthropometric assessment provide the sports physician with useful information on the health state of the athlete and with some necessary elements to plan specific training loads in the most appropriate way. In practice, the chemical composition of an athlete's body (especially those who carry out 1–2 daily workouts) is always in a physiologic condition that we can define as “dynamic” (concentration of electrolytes, hydration state and relationship between intra-and extracellular water, stages of growth of muscle mass and/or reduction of fat mass, etc.), with the exception of few times of year, such as the short resting break before resuming training. As a consequence, a real “baseline” (or “stationary”) physiological state, allowing to detect the parameters of body composition under the same conditions several times during the year, is only rarely achieved. In this paper, we wanted to review the most interesting parameters and methods for the evaluation of athletes' body composition, and underline their potential applications, possible advantages, theoretical and practical limitations.
Keywords: Body composition, Anthropometry, Bioelectrical impedance analysis, Body compartments, Athletes