Assessment of health-related fitness by the ALPHA-fitness test battery in girls and adolescents who practise rhythmic gymnastics

Isabel Montosa, Mercedes Vernetta, Jesús López-Bedoya

Abstract

Introduction: An optimal level of health-related physical fitness is essential in rhythmic gymnastics, since this sport involves significant physical and technical demands and it requires early specialisation and high training volumes. Aim: The aim of the study was to analyse the level of health-related physical fitness in girls and adolescents who practise rhythmic gymnastics by means of the ALPHA-Fitness test battery. Method: 116 competitive gymnasts between 7 and 18 years old (49.2% girls and 50.8% adolescents) participated in this descriptive, comparative, cross-sectional study. The ALPHA-Fitness test battery (cardiorespiratory fitness test, agility test, standing broad jump test and handgrip strength test) was applied in order to assess physical fitness. Body mass, height, waist circumference and subscapular and triceps skinfolds were measured to determine body composition. Body mass and height were used to calculate the body mass index (BMI) and the skinfolds were used to determine the body fat percentage. Height and waist circumference were used to calculate the waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). Results: All gymnasts presented good physical fitness, the best results being obtained in the agility test and the standing broad jump. They all showed low values of BMI, waist circumference and body fat percentage. Correlations were found in the complete sample between the BMI, body fat percentage and waist circumference measures and the different physical fitness tests. The Mann-Whitney U test yielded significant differences (p < 0.005) between girls and adolescents in all physical fitness tests, the adolescent gymnasts showing a higher physical fitness level than the younger ones. All gymnasts had a WHtR below 0.55, related with a better cardiovascular profile. Conclusions: In general, the gymnasts presented good physical fitness. Adolescents showed a higher physical fitness level than girls. They all presented lower BMI, waist circumference, body fat percentage and WHtR than the reference values.

Keywords

Physical fitness, Alpha battery, Body mass index, Body fat percentage, Rhythmic gymnastics

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/jhse.2018.131.18





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