UBC Theses and Dissertations
Anthropometric and maturational assessment of female gymnasts from varying performance levels Cameron, Katherine Susan Gacuk
Sixty-nine Canadian female gymnasts ages 11.5 to 18.0 years, from varying ability levels (National Elite = Group 1, Pre-National Elite = Group 2, Competitive = Group 3, Recreational = Group 4), were studied to determine relationships between performance and maturity, and between performance and anthropometric characteristics. It was hypothesized that there would be significant maturational and anthropometric differences among the ability groups. Skeletal age in reference to chronological age differences, among the ability groups, were assessed using analysis of variance, while differences in the incidence of menarche were assessed using chi-square analysis. Anthropometric differences were assessed using multivariate and univariate analysis of covariance, with chronological age as the covariate. At a level of significance of p < .01, and using preplanned orthogonal contrasts of Group 1+2+3 vs Group 4, Group 1+2 vs Group 3, and Group 1 vs Group 2, both of the maturational and all five of the anthropometric hypotheses were partially supported, with the following significant differences noted: Highly skilled gymnasts, in comparison to lesser skilled gymnasts (Group 1+2+3 vs Group 4, and Group 1+2 vs Group 3), were maturationally delayed both skeletally and menarcheally. Anthropometrically, they were shorter in trunk length; smaller in triceps, suprailiac, abdominal, front thigh, and medial calf skinfolds; smaller in proportional fat mass; and larger in proportional muscle mass. In addition, highly skilled gymnasts (Group 1 + 2 + 3), in comparison to recreational gymnasts (Group 4), were smaller in bi-epicondylar femur width, thigh girth, and subscapular skinfold. As well, elite gymnasts (Group 1 + 2), in comparison to lesser skilled competitive gymnasts (Group 3), were smaller in sitting height and larger in proportional skeletal mass. National elite gymnasts (Group 1), in comparison to pre-national elite gymnasts (Group 2), were not maturationally different, skeletally or menarcheally. Anthropometrically, they were shorter in trunk length, longer in thigh length, and smaller in anterior-posterior chest depth. The significant maturational differences noted among the ability groups were considered to be related to gymnastic performance, with higher skilled gymnasts being developmentally less mature than lesser skilled gymnasts. The significant anthropometric differences noted among the ability groups were considered to be related to gymnastic performance. More specifically, these differences were considered to be of biomechanical importance, and reflections of differences in activity level. As well, it was suggested that these anthropometric differences were associated with maturational differences. The results of the maturational and anthropometric assessments indicated that there may be a relationship between gymnastic performance and maturity, and between gymnastic performance and anthropometric characteristics. It was proposed that further analysis of the anthropometric parameters, with respect to proportional assessment, would be necessary before anthropometric characteristics would closely reflect maturational differences.
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