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Body Fat Percentage

Body composition is an important consideration in the physical make-up of athletes. This year C.P.K. started to work on this matter aiming to provide better physical preparation for our players.

At this initial stage, we focused on the body fat percentage of our players. Using the skinfold test (or pinch test), he had measured the fat layer thickness (skinfold) of seven points: subscapular, triceps, biceps, chest, axillary, abdominal, and suprailiac. Together with height and weight, and the help of certain formulas we reached the body fat percentage.

This percentage will help to plan specific individual exercises for improving performance. Later on, the test will be repeated to observe changes in weight, the percentage of essential body fat and storage body fat.

A research in the English Premier League indicates that “The non-Caucasian players demonstrated significantly lower percent body fat (9.2 +/- 2.0%) than the Caucasian players (10.7 +/- 1.8%). It was concluded that body composition is important for elite soccer players, but that homogeneity between players at top professional clubs results in little variation between individuals”. Therefore we will work on the range 8-12% (+/- 1.0%).

In general, if you are above you may need to reduce storage body fat, but if you are below you may need to gain some extra essential or storage body fat, otherwise it may cause excess fatigue.

For more details continue to read…

體脂肪率,又稱体脂百分比,是将脂肪含量用其占总体重的百分比的形式表示,一般用於動物,但近年開始有在人體的應用。對於動物來說,體脂百分比的計算法是 把動物體重中的脂肪部分重量與整個身體的分量相除,再乘以100%,脂肪包含必需脂肪酸(essential fat)及儲存脂肪(storage fat)。所謂必需脂肪,就是指身體要維持生命及繁殖所需的脂肪。一般而言,女性的必需脂肪比例會比男性為高,因為需要生育、餵哺及其他由荷爾蒙調節的身 體機能。對於男性,必需脂肪一般佔體重的2~5%,而女性約為10~13%。儲存脂肪由脂肪組織內所累積的脂肪組成,當中部份位於胸腔及腹部,用以保護身 體的內臟。一般來說,最小的建議總體脂百分比都會比身體的必需脂肪比例高。直接測量體脂百分比具有一定的難度,所以現時網上一般的方法,都是透過對人的性 別及體重資料作出評估.

The body fat percentage of a human or other living being is the total mass of fat divided by total body mass; body fat includes essential body fat and storage body fat. Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions. The percentage of essential body fat for women is greater than that for men, due to the demands of childbearing and other hormonal functions. The percentage of essential fat is 3–5% in men, and 8–12% in women (referenced through NASM). Storage body fat consists of fat accumulation in adipose tissue, part of which protects internal organs in the chest and abdomen. The minimum recommended total body fat percentage exceeds the essential fat percentage value reported above. A number of methods are available for determining body fat percentage, such as measurement with calipers or through the use of bioelectrical impedance analysis.

The body fat percentage is a measure of fitness level, since it is the only body measurement which directly calculates a person’s relative body composition without regard to height or weight. The widely used body mass index (BMI) provides a measure that allows the comparison of the adiposity of individuals of different heights and weights. While BMI largely increases as adiposity increases, due to differences in body composition, other indicators of body fat give more accurate results; for example, individuals with greater muscle mass or larger bones will have higher BMIs.

Skinfold methods

The skinfold estimation methods are based on a skinfold test, also known as a pinch test, whereby a pinch of skin is precisely measured by calipers at several standardized points on the body to determine the subcutaneous fat layer thickness. These measurements are converted to an estimated body fat percentage by an equation. Some formulas require as few as three measurements, others as many as seven. The accuracy of these estimates is more dependent on a person’s unique body fat distribution than on the number of sites measured. As well, it is of utmost importance to test in a precise location with a fixed pressure. Although it may not give an accurate reading of real body fat percentage, it is a reliable measure of body composition change over a period of time, provided the test is carried out by the same person with the same technique.

Skinfold-based body fat estimation is sensitive to the type of caliper used, and technique. This method also only measures one type of fat: subcutaneous adipose tissue (fat under the skin). Two individuals might have nearly identical measurements at all of the skin fold sites, yet differ greatly in their body fat levels due to differences in other body fat deposits such as visceral adipose tissue: fat in the abdominal cavity. Some models partially address this problem by including age as a variable in the statistics and the resulting formula. Older individuals are found to have a lower body density for the same skinfold measurement, which is assumed to signify a higher body fat percentage. However, older, highly athletic individuals might not fit this assumption, causing the formulas to underestimate their body density.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19847685

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_fat_percentage

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