Body composition and the somatotype of European top roller speed skaters

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Martin Matyk
Christoph Raschka


The purpose of this study was to examine the differences between the body types of roller speed skaters. We started from the question of whether there is a roller speed skating type and which may be the most important constitutional conditions.To this end, the authors of this work made use of the constitution typologies of Conrad, Knußmann, Tittel and Wutscherk, Parnell, Heath and Carter, and the proportion figures. The skin fold thickness measurement, the bioelectrical impedance analysis, the active substance body and body-mass index were additionally involved in determining body composition. A total of 45 people were surveyed: the most successful male and female European roller speed skaters. Of these, 22 were sprinters and 23 long-distance speed skaters. The average age of the sprinters was 22.5 years (sd = 3.5 years) and long-distance speed skaters 22.3 years (sd = 2.6 years). For comparison, 49 students with an average age of 20.5 years (sd = 3.5) were used as control group. According to the typology of Knußmann, roller speed skaters may be classified as leptomorph. The students in the control groups and the sprinters tend to a larger and heavier body growth on average than the long-distance speed skaters. From the gathered data an athletic body weight stands out significantly (p ≤ 0.001) lighter in speed skaters compared to the control groups. Within the study group the long-distance speed skaters show the lowest body weights, followed by the sprinters and the control groups. The present study suggests that a European roller speed skater of the elite class is built smaller, more athletic and lighter than the comparison subjects of the collective. But, of course, there will always be found the athletes who do not comply with the found body data, yet they are successful in European or World Championships. Based on the collected data, there are clues to a particular type of constitution in roller speed skating.

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Matyk, M., & Raschka, C. (1). Body composition and the somatotype of European top roller speed skaters. Papers on Anthropology, 20, 258-271.