Optimal Body Masses for Different Olympic Sports
Background. The weight of the best athletes at different distances and in different sports can be very different. It is known that rowers, as a rule, are very massive. In order to give a chance to athletes with a small mass, the rowing federation was introduced a special category with the weight restrictions. These facts are connected with the peculiarities of the aerobic and un-aerobic activities, drag and propulsion characteristics.
Objective. In this paper, we don’t try to explain the body mass differences. We will only fix them for different sports: running, swimming (free style), skiing, skating, cycling, and rowing and for different Olympic distances.
Methods. A significant amount of data on the velocity and body mass of the best athletes professionals (both female and male) in Olympic sports (running, swimming, skiing, skating, cycling and rowing) was collected and analyzed. Since the weights of the best athletes only are taken into consideration, the expected results can be treated as the most suitable (optimal) body masses for different sports and distances. In order to check, how the values of body mass and average speed on the distance fit the linear dependence, the equation of the linear regression was used. The regression coefficient and two parameters of the straight line were calculated. In order to check that the velocity of skating doesn’t depend on the athlete mass, the Fisher test was used.
Results. The optimal masses of athletes for different distances and sports were calculated. In general, for the short distances, the large masses of athletes are optimal and they decrease for long distances. Exception is the results for female swimming and running, where the largest masses of athletes correspond to the medium distances. For longer distances, results show that the most performing athletes are characterized by a lower body mass, except for skating. For a fixed distance, the optimal weights of female athletes are 79.5 ± 3.1% of the weight of male athletes, at the same time they develop 89.4 ± 1.8% of the speed of men.Conclusions. The presented statistical analysis indicates that within one distance there is no significant dependence of speed on the mass (the exception is only rowing). For each distance there are their optimal masses of athletes, which are different for different sports. The revealed facts can be used in athlete selection and training. They need also further investigations with the use of the metabolic and propulsion peculiarities.
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