Body Composition of NCAA Division I Collegiate Female Rowing Athletes

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Body Composition of NCAA Division I Collegiate Female Rowing Athletes

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2022-05

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BACKGROUND: With the rapid growth of NCAA female collegiate rowing, it is important to better understand the effects of training within this population. The primary objective was to explore body composition in female NCAA Division I collegiate rowers compared to matched controls. In a subset of rowers, we examined the effect of boat category and oar placement on body composition. Understanding body composition changes will better inform sport personnel regarding performance, and injury prevention/rehabilitation; especially given the asymmetrical motion of sweep rowing. METHODS: A retrospective analysis was done on 91 female collegiate rowers, and 173 female age matched controls from the University of Texas at Austin. Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to measure total and regional body composition, and visceral adipose tissue (VAT). At the time of scanning, demographic information was collected; additionally, boat race category, and boat side information was collected for rowing participants. Two sample t-testing was used to analyze differences between rowing athletes and controls. One-way repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVA), using pairwise post hoc testing with Bonferroni adjustments for multiple comparisons, was used to analyze differences across Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons. Univariate ANOVAs used to analyze differences between boat race categories. Paired t-testing used to analyze differences between oar side and non-oar side of the body. RESULTS: Rowing athletes were shown to have significantly greater height and total body weight compared to controls (p<0.001, both). In addition, rowers had significantly greater lean mass (LM) (p<0.001), fat mass (FM) (p=0.037), bone mineral content (BMC) (p<0.001), and bone mineral density (BMD) (p<0.001). Controls presented significantly greater total body fat percentage (p<0.001), and VAT (p=0.002). Seasonal changes in rowing athletes demonstrated significantly greater total LM (p=0.044) and regional arm LM (p<0.001) in the Spring season compared to the Fall season. No significant differences were found between the four boat race categories for both total and regional body composition. In addition, no significant differences in total or regional body composition were found between the oar side and non-oar side of rowing athletes. CONCLUSION: We observed differences in body composition between rowers and age-matched controls. There were changes in body composition over the competitive season with an increase in lean mass during the competitive Spring Season. Body composition in rowers was unaffected by boat race category or between body sides. This information will help rowing personnel better understand sport-specific body composition of female collegiate rowers for training, injury, and performance.

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University of Minnesota M.S. thesis.May 2022. Major: Kinesiology. Advisor: Donald Dengel. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 46 pages.

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Juckett, William. (2022). Body Composition of NCAA Division I Collegiate Female Rowing Athletes. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/241554.

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