Anthropometric characteristics as discriminators of body-building success

Andrew C. Fry, Alan J. Ryan, Robert J. Schwab, Dawn R. Powell, William J. Kraemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A total of 36 non-elite male body builders were observed at the time of competition. Their mean physical characteristics (± s.d.) were: age, 24.6 ± 4.8 years; height, 174.4 ± 6.7 cm; bodyweight, 80.3 ± 11.0 kg. Their body composition values were: percentage body fat, 9.3+ 1.6%; fat-free mass, 72.8 ± 9.8 kg. The mean somatotype for all subjects was: endomorphy, 2.3 ± 0.6; mesomorphy, 6.2 ± 0.9; ectomorphy, 1.2 ± 0.6. The body proportions (cm) included: biacromial diameter/bi-iliac diameter, 1.463 ± 0.132; torso length/height, 0.468 ± 0.018; chest circumference/abdominal circumference, 1.345 ± 0.059. The body builders in the present study were younger, had lower bodyweights, lower fat-free mass, lower mesomorphy ratings, smaller circumferences, and smaller skeletal dimensions than elite body builders reported in the scientific literature. When the body builders in the present study were divided into successful and unsuccessful groups based on actual competition results, a multiple-discriminant analysis found that biacromial diameter/bi-iliac diameter, torso length/height, chest circumference/abdominal circumference, percentage body fat, height, and bodyweight accounted for 80.6% of the explained variance. These data indicate that the success of a body builder can be accounted for in large part by easily obtained physical variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991


  • Anthropometry
  • Body building
  • Body composition
  • Somatotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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