Muscle mass of competitive male athletes

J Sports Sci. 1993 Feb;11(1):3-8. doi: 10.1080/02640419308729956.


The recent publication of the first validated equation for the estimation of muscle mass (MM) in men has made possible a comparison of MM in athletes from different sports. Limb girths and skinfold thicknesses were measured in 62 male athletes (aged 17-38 years) and 13 non-athletic males (aged 22-36 years). The MM (g) was calculated from the equation MM = S(0.0553 Gt2 + 0.0987 Gf2 + 0.0331 Gc2)-2445, where S is stature, Gt is the mid-thigh girth corrected for the front thigh skinfold thickness, Gc is the maximum calf girth corrected for the calf skinfold thickness and Gf is the uncorrected maximum forearm girth (all in cm). The athletes were classified as gymnasts (n = 10), basketball players (n = 10), body-builders (n = 10), track and field power athletes (n = 12), track and field long sprinters (n = 10) or distance runners (n = 10). The MM means ranged from 38.4 kg for the distance runners to 58.7 kg for the body-builders. Both body-builders and basketball players had significantly greater MM than gymnasts, long sprinters, non-athletic males and distance runners (P < 0.01). Also, MM was greater in track and field power athletes than in distance runners (P < 0.05). The MM as a percentage of body mass (%MM) ranged from 56.5% in the non-athletic group to 65.1% in the body-builders; body-builders scored higher than basketball players (P < 0.05), distance runners (P < 0.01) and the non-athletic group (P < 0.01).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Basketball
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Gymnastics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscles / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Running / physiology
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Somatotypes
  • Sports*
  • Track and Field / physiology
  • Weight Lifting / physiology