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Department 1

Health Sciences


Ponderal somatograms assessed body compositions in four groups of Division III collegiate football players: offensive line (OL), defensive line (DL), offensive backs (OB), and defensive backs (DB). Ponderal somatograms evaluate body size and shape by converting muscular (shoulders, chest, biceps, forearm, thigh, and calf) and nonmuscular (abdomen, hips knee, ankle, and wrist) girths into ponderal equivalent (PE) values. Anthropometric measurements, including stature, body mass, girths, and percent body fat by densitometry were collected in 82 players (22 OL, 12 DL, 20 OB, and 28 DB) during preseason camp. PE values were calculated for each girth as PE, kilograms = (girth, cm / k)sq. x stature, decimeters, where k=k constant from Behnke's reference man. PE values were compared to body mass to indicate overdevelopment (PE greater than body mass) and underdevelopment (PE less than body mass). OL was significantly heavier than DL (+15.6 kg), OB (+25.2 kg), and DB (+22.4 kg). OL percent fat as significantly greater than DL (+5.9%), OB (+9.0%), and DB (+9.3%). Similar differences occurred in girths and PE values by position. Muscular components were generally overdeveloped, with the greatest overdevelopment in the biceps (OL + 16.0 kg, DL + 19 kg, OB + 14.2 kg, and DB + 16.2 kg). Nonmuscular abdomen, hips, and knee were generally overdeveloped, with the greatest overdevelopment in the OL abdomen (+19.3 kg). Nonmuscular ankle and wrist were underdeveloped. Ponderal somatograms provide a relatively quick and simple method to translate girth measurements into ponderal equivalent values that seem to be position-specific among offensive and defensive linemen and backs. Somatograms provide an appraisal of body composition that helps coaches and athletes monitor the effectiveness of strength and conditioning programs.