Chapter 8 – How to build your body for Victory: Tailoring body composition to excel in your sport
In the previous chapter, we discussed how physiological testing can identify the strengths and weaknesses of athletes in different sports. We looked at how these tests can be used to highlight areas that require improvement and identify natural strengths for specific types of sports. The same principles apply to morphological/body composition testing.
Athletes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each of which is better suited to some sports than others. While some aspects of an athlete's shape can be modified, such as the amount of body fat, other elements are less changeable. For instance, it's not advisable to lose significant amounts of bone mass from an athlete's skeleton.
It's important to view the body as a combination of various components that work together. Narrow-minded perspectives when it comes to body composition are, at best, performance limiting, and at worse, put the athlete’s long-term health at risk!
For example, setting a specific weight target for an athlete without considering their frame - the width of their shoulders and hips at a bone level, or the thickness of their wrist and ankles is nothing short of reckless. It's not wise for a large-framed athlete to aim for the same weight as a small-framed athlete without taking these differences into account.
In this chapter we will look at both aspects…
First, and most importantly, what is the athlete’s frame? The key components that are largely unmodifiable and must be built around.
And, secondly, knowing the athlete’s frame, how can we modify the modifiable to ensure high performance in a sport or event that is compatible with the frame?
One should not underestimate the importance of the first, i.e. identifying the key, unmodifiable, components of the athlete and taking these into consideration when selecting a sport.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Science of Maximal Athletic Development to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.