All about anthropometry


Last week I attended a level 1 training course in anthropometry to become accredited with the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry, or ISAK to you and me. Anthropometry is “a simple reliable method for quantifying body size and proportions by measuring body length, width, circumference and skinfold thickness”. It can be used to monitor body composition during a competitive year in athletes, changes in physique over time or maturation rates in children. The measurement of body composition can be a useful tool in talent identification, sporting selection and optimisation of body shapes for different disciplines.

During the 2- day course, we learned how to accurately measure height, waist/calf/thigh circumference, skinfold thickness, femur and humerus breadth – all the good stuff. Accreditation isn’t necessary but it offers a certain level of accuracy and confidence in measuring body composition and applying it in practical situations. I will be using circumferences and skinfold thickness measures to monitor changes in body composition for Edinburgh Accies rugby team over pre-season. Tying it in with strength and conditioning programmes gives players goals and targets to work towards over the season and hopefully gives them a better understanding of how their body composition affects their performance and fitness.

It was a fantastic course with a great teacher and I came out with much more confidence in testing and knowledge of sport and performance. I can’t wait to get practicing!

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