Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

No association of skin-fold thicknesses and training with race performance in male ultra-endurance runners in a 24-hour run

Beat Knechtle, Patrizia Knechtle, Thomas Rosemann



In male high-level long-distance runners over 10,000 m, a positive association between both the front thigh and medial calf skin-fold thickness and running performance has been demonstrated. It is assumed that the thickness of skin-folds of the lower limb is related to training in highly trained runners. We investigated in 22 male ultra-endurance runners in a 24-hour run the relationship between skin-fold thicknesses and race performance. The 22 runners achieved a total of 154 (47) km during the 24 hours, varying from 73.079 km to 231.956 km. No association for both the skin-fold thicknesses and the training variables with race performance could be demonstrated. Furthermore, skin-fold thicknesses showed no relationship with both volume and intensity during training. We must assume that in ultra-endurance runners in a 24-hour run, other variables such as motivation and nutrition must be associated with race outcome.


Body fat; Body composition; Performance; Anthropometry


Arrese, A.L., Ostariz, E.S. Skinfold thicknesses associated with distance running performance in highly trained runners. Journal of Sports Science. 2006; 24:69-76.

Bale, P., Bradbury, D., Colley, E. Anthropometric and training variables related to 10km running performance. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 1986; 20:170-173.

Ball, S.D., Altena, T.S., Swan, P.D. Comparison of anthropometry to DXA: a new prediction equation for men. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004; 58:1525-1531.

Becque, M.D., Katch, V.L., Moffatt, R.J. Time course of skin-plus-fat compression in males and females. Human Biology. 1986; 58, 33-42.

Conley, D., Krahenbuhl, G. Running economy and distance running performance of highly trained athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 1980; 12:357-360.

Hagan, R.D., Smith, M.G., Gettman, L.R. Marathon performance in relation to maximal aerobic power and training indices. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 1981; 13:185-189.

Hetland, M.L., Haarbo, J., Christiansen, C. Regional body composition determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Relation to training, sex hormones, and serum lipids in male long-distance runners. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. 1998; 8:102-108.

Legaz, A., Gonzalez, J.J., Serrano, E. Differences in skinfold thicknesses and fat distribution among top-class runners. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 2005; 45:512-517.

Legaz, A., Eston, R. Changes in performance, skinfold thicknesses, and fat patterning after three years of intense athletic conditioning in high level runners. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2005; 39:851-856.

Leedy, H.E., Ismail, A.H., Kessler, W.V., Christian, J.E. Relationships between physical performance items and body composition. Research Quarterly. 1965; 36:158-163.

Mattila, V.M., Tallroth, K., Marttinen, M., Pihlajamäki, H. Body composition by DEXA and its association with physical fitness in 140 conscripts. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2007; 39:2242-2247.


Copyright (c) 2011 Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.