July 13, 2016

Benefits for Athletes

DXA body composition is widely used in elite sport especially in the USA. Some studies of its use follow:


Sport and Training Influence Bone and Body Composition in Women Collegiate Athletes

This is a novel descriptive study to characterize off-season, preseason, and postseason bone and body composition measures in women collegiate athletes. From 2006 through 2008, 67 women collegiate athletes from 5 sports, softball (n = 17), basketball (n = 10), volleyball (n = 7), swimming (n = 16), and track jumpers and sprinters (n = 17) were scanned using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at 3 seasonal periods: (a) off-season = before preseason training, (b) preseason = after preseason training, and (c) postseason = after competitive season. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scans were analyzed for total body mass, lean mass (LM), fat mass (FM), percent body fat (%BF), bone mineral content, bone mineral density (BMD), arm BMD, leg BMD, pelvis BMD, and spine BMD. Data were analyzed between sports using analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Tukey post hoc follow-ups, and within each sport using repeated-measures ANOVA and LSD; alpha < 0.05. Significant off-season to preseason or postseason changes in %BF, LM, and BMD within each sport were as follows:

Sports Body Fat Percent Lean Mass Percent Bone Mineral Density %
Softball -7 +4 +1
Basketball -11 +4 +1
Volleyball Unchanged Unchanged +2
Swimming Unchanged +2.5 Unchanged
Track -7 +3.5 +1

Comparisons among athletes in each sport showed bone measurements of swimmers averaged 4-19% lower than that of athletes in any other sport, whereas for track jumpers and sprinters, %BF and FM averaged 36 and 43% lower compared with other sports at all seasonal periods. Values for athletes playing basketball and volleyball were most similar, whereas softball athletes’ values fell between all other athletes. These data serve as sport-specific reference values for comparisons at in-season and off-season training periods among women collegiate athletes in various sports.

Carbuhn, AF, Fernandez, TE, Bragg, AF, Green, JS, and Crouse, SF. Sport and training influence bone and body composition in women collegiate athletes. J Strength Cond Res 24(7): 1710-1717, 2010-

Source: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research – July 1, 2010 Category: Sports Medicine Tags: Original Research Source Type: research



The aim of the study was to analyze the pattern of muscular lesions and overuse pathologies in a high level football team during three consecutive agonistic seasons monitored by serial dXA measurements of individual body composition.

Introduction during the three seasons, according to an individual use of dXA measurements to monitor all prevention and rehabilitation programs, we could detect a progressive reduction in the occurrence of muscular lesions (from 28 cases in the 2007-2008 to 12 in 2009-2010) and overuse pathologies (from 32 to 11).


All AC Siena professional football players were evaluated by serial measurements of regional and total body fat and lean body mass during the 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 agonistic seasons: these three consecutive championships were all performed in the “Serie A” top Italian Football league. In the first season 29 players were evaluated (Means: age 25.3±Sd years; height 181.8±Sd cm; weight 79.1±Sd kg); subsequently, we tested 37 athletes in the second season (24.2±Sd y; 181.6±Sd cm; 78.5±Sd kg) and 30 players in the last one (24.4±Sd y; 179.8±Sd cm; 76.3±Sd kg). during each season, players were tested at the beginning and at the end of summer training periods; furthermore, they were evaluated every 45 days during the seasonal training, with pre-determined sessions scheduled as follows: the last week before end of year season-off, the first week of the new year and at the last week of the championship. In some cases, in relation to individual reduced performances, transitory overweight periods or injuries and diseases, fat and lean body mass parameters were detected every 15 days or less. All measurements were performed by a lunar idXA (Madison, WI, USA), using total body scan mode.


These preliminary results show the importance of a continuous and precise evaluation of the body composition by dXA in high level football players during the agonistic season in order to maintain the best performance as long as possible. Moreover, the possibility to perform regional evaluations allow us to increase the utilization of this device to try to obtain the best agonistic recovery of football players after injuries, diseases and other periods without training.

Causarano A1,2, Catanese S1, D’Urbano G1, Martelli G2

1Siena Football Association, Siena;

2performance Medical and Rehabilitation Center, Siena, Italy

Body composition of professional football (soccer) players determined by dual X-ray absorptiometry.


A three-compartment body composition analysis of 42 professional football (soccer) players and 33 age- and body mass index-matched control subjects was determined by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The equipment provided a direct measurement of fat, lean, and bone mass. Fat mass was significantly higher in the controls subjects whereas lean mass and bone mass were markedly higher in the players. The percentage of body weight fat varied from 6.1 to 19.5% in the football players and from 9.1 to 29.9% in the control subjects. The respective averages were 12.0 +/- 3.1 and 19.2 +/- 5.6% (p < 0.001). The midfielders had a significantly higher percentage of fat (13.6 +/- 3.3%) than backs or forwards (11.1 +/- 2.8 and 11.0 +/- 2.3%, p < 0.05 and p < 0.06, respectively). In the football players, the correlation between age and fat mass was significant (r = 0.53, p < 0.001), whereas there was no correlation between fat and age in the control subjects (r = 0.13 p > 0.1). This article provides, for the first time, DXA analysis of body composition of football players in relation to their age and function. The results should be of interest to coaches because they will help improve athletes’ performance.

J Clin Densitom. 2001 Spring;4(1):51-5

Wittich A, Oliveri MB, Rotemberg E, Mautalen C.


Body composition is a key consideration in the physical make-up of professional soccer players. The aims of the present study were to determine whether the body composition of professional soccer players varied according to playing position, international status or ethnicity, and to establish which variables best distinguished the soccer players from a reference group. Body composition was assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in 64 male professional soccer players. Measured variables included bone mineral density and the relative amounts of lean and fat mass. Data were analysed using analysis of variance and stepwise discriminant function. The soccer players recorded better values than a reference group (n = 24) for all body composition compartments. Percent lean mass and bone mineral density were the variables best able to identify the soccer players (95.5% correctly classified). Differences in body composition were evident between goalkeepers and outfield players, but not between outfield playing positions. No differences were found on the basis of international status. The non-Caucasian players demonstrated significantly lower percent body fat (9.2 ± 2.0%) than the Caucasian players (10.7 ± 1.8%). It was concluded that body composition is important for elite soccer players, but that homogeneity between players at top professional clubs results in little variation between individuals.

Journal of Sports Sciences, 01 August 2009, vol./is. 27/10(1019-1026), 02640414

Author(s):Sutton L,Scott M,Wallace J,Reilly T


Three-compartment body composition changes in elite rugby league players during a Super League season, measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.


This study investigated the acute changes in body composition that occur over the course of a competitive season in elite rugby league players. Twenty elite senior players from an English Super League rugby league team underwent a total-body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan at three phases of a competitive season: pre-season (February), mid-season (June) and post-season (September). Body mass, fat mass, lean mass, percentage body fat and bone mineral content were reported at each phase. Between the start and mid-point of the season, body mass, lean mass, fat mass and body fat percentage showed no significant change (p>0.05), however bone mineral content was significantly increased (+0.71%; 30.70 ± 38.00g; p<0.05). Between the mid-season and post-season phase, body mass and bone mineral content showed no significant change (p>0.05), however significant changes were observed in lean mass (-1.54%; 1.19 ± 1.43kg), fat mass (+4.09%; 0.57 ± 1.10kg) and body fat percentage (+4.98%; 0.78 ± 1.09%; p<0.05). The significant changes in body composition seen over the latter stages of the competitive season may have implications for performance capabilities at this important stage of competition. An increase in fat mass and decrease in lean mass may have a negative effect on the power/body mass ratio, and therefore may be a cause for concern for playing, coaching and medical staff.



Karen Hind3

John O’Hara3

1 Teesside University, Teesside, UK.

2 Middlesbrough Football Club, UK.

3 Carnegie Research Institute, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK