Ponderal somatograms evaluate body size and shape by converting muscular (shoulders, chest, biceps, forearm, thigh, calf) and nonmuscular (abdomen, hips, knee, ankle, wrist) girths into ponderal equivalent (PE) values. Anthropometric measurements, including stature, body mass, girths, and percent body fat by densitometry were collected in 54 Division III football players in preseason camp (fall) and at the beginning (winter) and end (spring) of the team strength and conditioning program. PE values were calculated for each girth as PE, kg = (girth, cm / k) squared x stature, dm, where k = k constant from Behnke's reference man. PE values were compared to body mass to indicate overdevelopment (PE is greater than body mass) and underdevelopment (PE is less than body mass) at specific girth sites. From fall to winter, body mass (+1.6 kg), percent fat (+1.3%), fat mass (+1.6 kg), nonmuscular abdominal and hip girths (+2.1 cm, +1.5 cm), and PE values (+5.3 kg, +2.6 kg) increased significantly (p is less than 0.05). From winter to spring, percent fat (-1.5%), fat mass (-1.4 kg), nonmuscular abdominal girth (-1.0 co), and PE value (-2.5 kg) decreased significantly (p is less than 0.05) from winter to spring. Fat-free mass (+1.5 kg), muscular biceps girth (+0.4 cm), and PE value (+2.6 kg) increased significantly (p is less than 0.05) from winter to spring. Ponderal somatograms muscular components were generally overdeveloped, with the greatest overdevelopment at the biceps in the fall (+14.7 kg), winter (+14.9 kg), and spring (+17.4 kg). Nonmuscular components generally were underdeveloped, except abdomen and hips that were overdeveloped. The abdomen remained the greatest nonmuscular overdevelopment in fall (+6.8 kg), winter (+10.5 kg), and spring (+7.9 kg). Ponderal somatograms provide a relatively simple, practical method to track specific changes in body size and shape over time.
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Stuempfle, K., et al. Ponderal Somatograms Assess Changes in Anthropometric Measurements Over an Academic Year in Division III Collegiate Football Players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2007) 21(3):689-696.