Development of an Anthropometric Prediction Model for Fat-Free Mass and Muscle Mass in Elite Athletes



Sesbreno E, Slater G, Mountjoy M & Galloway SD (2020) Development of an Anthropometric Prediction Model for Fat-Free Mass and Muscle Mass in Elite Athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 30 (2), pp. 174-181.

The monitoring of body composition is common in sports given the association with performance. Surface anthropometry is often preferred when monitoring changes for its convenience, practicality, and portability. However, anthropometry does not provide valid estimates of absolute lean tissue in elite athletes. The aim of this investigation was to develop anthropometric models for estimating fat-free mass (FFM) and skeletal muscle mass (SMM) using an accepted reference physique assessment technique. Sixty-four athletes across 18 sports underwent surface anthropometry and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) assessment. Anthropometric models for estimating FFM and SMM were developed using forward selection multiple linear regression analysis and contrasted against previously developed equations. Most anthropometric models under review performed poorly compared with DXA. However, models derived from athletic populations such as the Withers equation demonstrated a stronger correlation with DXA estimates of FFM (r = .98). Equations that incorporated skinfolds with limb girths were more effective at explaining the variance in DXA estimates of lean tissue (Sesbreno FFM [R2 = .94] and Lee SMM [R2 = .94] models). The Sesbreno equation could be useful for estimating absolute indices of lean tissue across a range of physiques if an accepted option like DXA is inaccessible. Future work should explore the validity of the Sesbreno model across a broader range of physiques common to athletic populations.

Nutrition and Dietetics; Medicine (miscellaneous); Orthopedics and Sports Medicine; General Medicine

International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism: Volume 30, Issue 2

Publication date31/03/2020
Publication date online07/02/2020
Date accepted by journal21/11/2019
PublisherHuman Kinetics

People (1)


Professor Stuart Galloway

Professor Stuart Galloway

Professor, Sport