Changes in Body Composition in Division I Football Players Over a Competitive Season and Recovery in Off-Season

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This study investigated changes in body composition over 1 competitive football season in D-I collegiate football players (N = 53; by position, 21 linemen vs. 32 nonline; or by seniority, 30 upperclassmen vs. 23 underclassmen) and additional changes by the following spring season (N = 46; 20 linemen vs. 26 nonline; 27 upperclassmen vs. 19 underclassmen). Body composition by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was completed pre- and post-season and the following spring. For the team as a whole, player weight decreased 1.3 kg (1.2%) and lean mass decreased 1.4 kg (1.6%) over the season. Absolute fat mass showed no change; however, percent body fat showed a 0.5% increase. There was an interaction between player position and seniority for changes in lean mass (p < 0.01). In nonline positions upperclassmen lost more lean mass than underclassmen, whereas in line positions underclassmen lost more lean mass than upperclassmen. Spring measures indicate that weight did not increase during the off-season, but improvement in body composition was noted. Lean mass increased by 2.2 kg (2.6%), whereas absolute fat mass decreased by 1.4 kg (6.7%). Although weight and lean mass losses during the competitive season were recovered in the off-season, changes in collegiate football programs that include nutrition counseling, dietary recommendations, monitoring of weight, and skin-fold testing as an estimate of body fat change would be beneficial to players. Strength and conditioning coaches and staff need to consider strategies to incorporate these practices into their programs.

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The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research





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Wolters Kluer