Prediction of bench press performance in powerlifting
The role of upper limb anthropometry
Keywords:Performance analysis of sport, Sports performance, Kinanthropometry, Body composition, Body proportions, Exercise
The bench press (BP) is a complex, multiarticular exercise known as one of the three powerlifting specialties. Although several variables contribute to the maximum load lifted, upper limb variables may also play an important role in BP performance. In this study, a cohort of 47 male Italian classic powerlifters underwent a direct anthropometric evaluation during two official competitions. The recorded parameters included body mass index, body composition, and variables of the upper limb (indirectly evaluated cross-sectional areas and lengths). IPF-GL points and maximal strength (1RM) adjusted for weight were used as proxies for performance. Statistical comparisons between weaker and stronger powerlifters, Pearson correlation and partial correlation analyses, and multiple linear regression models were performed. The upper arm cross muscular area (r = 0.56) and fat-free mass (r = 0.31) were positively correlated with Wilks points, whereas the arm fat index was negatively correlated with 1RM BP (r = -0.37). Moreover, we proposed two new indices (UALR and UAMR) that represent the ratio between upper arm areas and length. Both univariate and multivariate analyses confirmed the strong association between these two variables and BP performance. Further improvement of this study may confirm the important role of body proportion and body composition as predictors of performance in strength sports.
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