WHAT IS THE PERFECT % OF BODY FAT (BF) FOR BASKETBALL PLAYERS?

WHAT IS THE PERFECT % OF BODY FAT (BF) FOR BASKETBALL PLAYERS?

It is difficult to give an accurate answer to this question since there are many factors that affect on this such as: age, gender, height, playing position, muscle mass and bone mass.  

But the previous papers on this subject have shown that on average %BF for men are 10.5±3.8, age 20.9±1.3 and height 194.3±10.2cm (Walsh et al. 1984). Female average of % BF is 19.2±4.6, age 19.3±1.4 and height 194.3±10.2cm (Siders et al. 1991). Slightly lower values can be found in the player whose position requires speed and versatility as playmaker, while more values are expected in the position whee it is more important strength and stiffness, centers like.

Sport

Basketball

Volleyball

Baseball

Bicycling

Jumping

Gymnastic

Triathlon

male

10.5±3.8

9.8±2.9

12.6±5.0

10.5±2.4

8.5±2.1

6.5±2.4

12.5±5.9

female

19.2±4.6

17.9±3.6

19.1±5.0

 

12.9±2.5

15.3±4.0

16.5±1.4

Table: Human body composition; Roche A.F., Heymsfield S.B, Lohman T.G

When the body fat percentage is too low?

Fat as an energy source especially pronounced when dealing with prolonged physical activity and metabolic agent has its minimum values that are needed for normal physiological function of the body.  Minimum values are 3% for men and 12% for women, lower than this can cause serious health problems for either sex, especially in women.

Female triad is common in female athletes with very low body fat and is characterized by menstrual dysfunction (amenorrhea), while in the chronic form comes to bone loss (osteoporosis). One of the first signs of this is the appearance of irregular monthly cycles (oligomenorrhea). For prevent recurrence sports amenorrhea is advisable to reduce the intensity of training and increase caloric intake. (Sports medicine, R. Higgins, P.Brukner, B. English)

How we can measure body fat %?

Can be determined by direct or indirect methods of measurement. Directly involves underwater measurement of body and it is quite expensive and impractical for everyday use. In practice it is most common to use indirect methods such as measurement of skin fold by caliper or bioimpendance (BIA) scale. Ultrasound, MR, CT is also rarely used indirect methods.

Calipers and BIA scale have their advantages and disadvantages. However we can consider that the proper use of calipers obtained more accurate measurement of body fat in athletes. BIA Scales are useful for monitoring the state of athletes, or measuring the general population. Regardless of the method of measurement is recommended to be performed in similar conditions as outdoor temperatures, time of day and not immediately after training.

What is the advice to reduce body fat?

Before starting a serious diet or consultation with a nutritionist, try to cut unhealthy eating habits. One of the first things that can be reduced or excluded from diet are sugar from candy, chocolate, coffee or tea,  fatty food, fried food or even alcohol.

Only if in spite of a healthy diet and regular training you still have problems with body fat, it is recommended that further advice see with time doctor or nutritionist.

Prepared by: Dr Sinisa Vujic

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