We recently published a paper in the International Journal of Sports Medicine (Raymond-Pope et al., 2020) on body composition measures in over 200 NCAA Division I collegiate male and female basketball players. There is a wealth of information in the article and I encourage you to read it. This blog post is a companion to another post that I wrote examining the body composition in NCAA Division I male basketball players from that article (Raymond-Pope et al., 2020). For this blog post, I am going to focus on the female basketball players’ data from that article.
Female basketball players were placed into one of five major positions: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center. In total 122 NCAA Division I female basketball players were classified as point guards (n=34), shooting guards (n=27), small forwards (n=18), power forwards (n=27), and centers (n=16). These basketball players had their body composition determined by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which is considered the “gold standard” for measuring body composition due to its accuracy as well as its ability to measure regional as well as total body composition.
Total body composition measures of female collegiate basketball players (Table 1).
Let’s look at the measures of total body composition first. In the table below (Table 1), you can see there were significant inter-positional differences observed in total lean muscle mass (LM), fat mass (FM), bone mineral density (BMD), and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) mass for our players. Centers demonstrated greater total body mass and total fat mass (FM) compared to all other positions and as well as greater visceral adipose tissue (VAT) compared to point guards and shooting guards. Further, point guards had lower total lean muscle mass (LM) than all other positions. In addition, point guards had lower bone mineral density (BMD) than power forwards.
Regional body composition measures of female collegiate basketball players (Table 2).
Now let’s look at regional measures of body composition. Centers had greater arm FM, LM, and BMC than point guards and shooting guards as well as greater arm total mass compared to point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards. The only significant difference in female arm BMD was observed between shooting guards and power forwards. Female centers had greater leg FM than all other positions and greater leg total mass and LM than point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards. Female point guards also had lower leg BMD compared to power forwards.
What does it all mean?
Similar to our blog post that examined the body composition in NCAA Division I collegiate male basketball players we found that there were significant total and regional body composition differences across position for NCAA Division I collegiate female basketball players. These differences may be due to the unique demands of each position. Obviously, height plays a key role in a number of positions; however, a player’s total and regional body composition may make them more suitable to play a particular position. Finally, the data provided here serves as a jumping-off point for understanding player and positional norms in NCAA Division I collegiate female basketball players. Future studies are needed to determine seasonal changes in body composition in these athletes.
For those that want more detailed information, I refer you to the original paper (Raymond-Pope et al., 2020), which this blog post is based on. I also urge you to read the companion blog post on NCAA Division I collegiate female basketball players. If you have questions regarding this blog post or the original paper (Raymond-Pope et al., 2020), that this blog post is based on please contact the corresponding author Dr. Don Dengel (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Raymond-Pope CJ, Solfest AL, Carbuhn A, Stanforth PR, Oliver J, Bach CW, Bosch T, Dengel DR: Total and regional body composition of NCAA division I collegiate basketball athletes. International Journal of Sports Medicine 41(4):242-247, 2020.
About the Author
Donald Dengel, Ph.D., is a Professor in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota and is a co-founder of Dexalytics. He serves as the Director of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology, which provides clinical vascular, metabolic, exercise and body composition testing for researchers across the University of Minnesota.