Saudi Journal of Sports Medicine

: 2022  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 89--93

Kinanthropometric measurements: A better understanding from an athlete's perspective

Shana Quraishi1, Aksh Chahal1, Vandana Esht2, Mohammed Qasheesh2, Ramzi Alajam2, Rashid Ali Beg2, Mohammed M Alshehri2, Mohammad Abu Shaphe2,  
1 Maharishi Markandeshwar Institute of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Maharishi Markandeshwar Deemed to be University, Mullana, Haryana, India
2 Department of Physical Therapy, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Jazan University, Jizan, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Mohammad Abu Shaphe
Department of Physical Therapy, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Jazan University, Jizan
Saudi Arabia


Kinanthropometry is a newly emerging research specialization. It is a study which emphasizes on the proportion, structure, size, human maturation, and gross motor function to understand the benefits of human development, exercise, performance, and nutrition for medicine, education, and government in the service of humanity with respect to individual rights. Since athletic success depends heavily on proportionality for a given sport, the function of kinanthropometry is significant as it allows us to consider about the physical dimension by comparing two aspects and then determine the relative importance of the body dimensions. A better and in-depth understanding of kinanthropometric measures will help in enlisting the importance of various structures of the body along with their characteristic features to suggest athletes in specific sports with a functional advantage. A better understanding will help both the athlete and the coach to work in a more defined and specific direction.

How to cite this article:
Quraishi S, Chahal A, Esht V, Qasheesh M, Alajam R, Beg RA, Alshehri MM, Shaphe MA. Kinanthropometric measurements: A better understanding from an athlete's perspective.Saudi J Sports Med 2022;22:89-93

How to cite this URL:
Quraishi S, Chahal A, Esht V, Qasheesh M, Alajam R, Beg RA, Alshehri MM, Shaphe MA. Kinanthropometric measurements: A better understanding from an athlete's perspective. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jun 5 ];22:89-93
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Anthropometric measurements are series of quantitative assessment of muscle, bone, and adipose tissue utilized to determine the composition of the human body. The center components of anthropometry are stature, weight, height, body mass index (BMI), body circumference (waist, hip, and limbs), and skinfold thickness.[1] These estimations are vital, since they speak for demonstrative criteria of weight which altogether enhance the hazard for conditions such as cardiovascular illness, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus.[2] In addition, anthropometric estimations are used as physical fitness baseline criterion and to assess fitness domains. The three Greek terms “kinen” reflecting movement, 'anthropos' with respect to man, and “meterin” signifying quantifications represent the flamboyant interface existing between functioning and structure within human body. The emphasis is laid on extracting thorough assessment of individual's body dynamics to be used in diverse fields.[3]

Kinanthropometry is known to be a specialization that is newly emerging. It is the scientific and detailed study dealing with variables such as shape, structure, size, ratio, gross motor, and maturation in human to understand the consequences of human development, exercise, performance, and nutrition for medicine, education, and government in the service of humanity with respect to individual rights. The application of kinanthropometry holds vital position in field of sports.[4] It is judged to be the science specialization concerned with the measurement of the composition of the body structures, precisely defined as the linkage between the anatomical structures and kinesthetic variations of human body. It encompasses an arrangement and estimations studied in detail after collecting the measured variances generated by several physique summary indices. Variations in the body distribution measurements most commonly occur, taking into account the peoples lifestyle, diets, levels of the activity, and ethnicity within the populations. Assessment by kinanthropometry values establishes a crucial notion regarding the development, capability, and measurement of human kinetics. The commitment of kinanthropometry lies in tackling issues related to development, nourishment, performance, and exercise. Kinanthropometric examinations lay a profound impact on creating trainable features within the crucial interest of sportsperson.[5] Under normal circumstances, factors like arm and leg length and physical make-up remain stable, allowing people to have certain defining characteristics of a particular sport that would help them throughout the Game. It has been reported that achieving these features can help in improving competitive performance in such sports players. The data presented can be utilized for defining a benchmark, effective in the evaluation of performance status.

Since athletic success depends heavily on proportionality for a given sport, anthropometry plays a significant role as it allows us to compare two characteristics of athlete's physical dimension and then assess the relative value of the respective body dimensions. A better and in-depth understanding of anthropometric measures will allow enlisting the importance of specific body features and recommending athletes in specific sports with a functional advantage. Stature, sitting height-to-stature ratio, upper limb length-to-stature ratio, brachial index (ration of forearm length to upper arm length), and body fat percentage estimated using the sum of skin fold, waist hip circumference, and the waist–height ratio are the widely used measurements for anthropometric profile for athletes giving excellent performance.[6]

 Understanding the Physiological Dimensions

Body stature plays a critical part in sporting event. It can be clearly understood by looking at the magnitude of the connection between height and physiological execution in events which involves running. Taking into consideration race events that go from lesser distances to the marathon, or at either end of the range, the bulk of them include athletes who are not particularly tall. What could be the cause of this? Shorter distances have an acceleration segment which is much longer with a slightly lower mean speed, which helps athletes who are short in height with short legs, whereas muscle mass in excess can act as an obstacle in long distance run which requires significant amount of energy to be depleted for the purpose of its transportation and yet generating low power.[7] As a result, the athletes must present with smaller lean along with a lower BMI. Stature that is short appears to be transcendently positive for changing direction as well as in acceleration. Moment of inertia is decreased, allowing angular momentum to increase during angular motion. Therefore, athletes with short stature tend to spin faster, accomplishing more turn in comparison to athletes who are tall, making them ideal for events such as gymnastics, diving, and skate ball. It is understood that the overall force generated by the body is corresponding to the cross-sectional area of each muscle. Since the muscles and bones of athletes with short stature are more grounded in extent to body weight, they are farther agile and more have fewer chances to get injury by activities involving more speed with difficult landings, such as rock climbing and ski jumping. In sports, tall stature is of the equal significance as well. Sports such as volleyball, basketball and rowing are tending to be more conducive to tall athletes. Tall players must leap low in comparison to the percentage of their height, making it easier for them to hit the ball above net height.[8]

 Ratio of Sitting Height to Stature

Sitting height-to-stature ratio gives an indication of the proportional length of the legs to stature. Within proportion, extremes are suitable for the competitors that need work from upper half of the body in sports, as in weight lifting. Volleyball, basketball, and other sports that demand the feature of jumping require trunks that are relatively short. Rowers that are successful presents with limbs that are proportionally long and sitting height that are short allow longer stroke lengths to provide a mechanical advantage during competition. In addition, decreased sitting height decreases the front surface area, a source of momentary resistance. The ratio of upper limb to stature is adversely related to the ratio of stature to the sitting height. It implies that people with relatively lengthy trunks would have arms that are remarkably short. Longer arms are advantageous since they have longer stroke lengths that are mechanically useful for swimming and rowing, providing the sportsperson to accelerate an object at a higher level. During the release of long arms, the object's velocity is exploited offering the largest distance for the amount of muscle mass. Athletes who require single long shots, such as pole vaulters, discus throwers, and javelin throwers, benefit from this type of interaction. According to various studies, having a larger shoulder width and arm length may be advantageous during throwing activities. In swimming strokes, the shoulder joint generates the majority of the propulsive force.[9]

 Brachial Index

The length of the lower arm in relation to the upper is called the brachial index. A higher brachial index is beneficial in general for the sporting activities that need a longer forearm propulsive effort. Because the forearm is a longer lever, a high brachial index permits longer stroke lengths, resulting in enhanced hand velocity at the end of the stroke. It plays an important role in throwing sports such as discus and javelin, where the athlete must have the thrown object moving at top speed as soon as it leaves the athlete's hand. A lower brachial index indicates higher strength and stability; yet, an athlete with a low brachial index looks to have short force arms, which is advantageous in sports such as shot put, which demands a monstrously firm thrust. This is due to the fact that the muscular mass in the arm is more concentrated.[10]

 Body Mass and Fatness

In several sporting activities, the mass of the body as well as the fatness is also of important consideration. When it comes to rowing, unquestionably, the motion that requires forwarding of body is the reason for the power production. In addition to the acceleration of the device before throwing, one of the factors contributing to the success of throwing is body weight.[11] However, as body fat levels rise, working power declines because the extra fat acts as dead weight. Excess fat can contribute to the rise in mass of the body and can limit speeding up. Because the heat generated by raised muscle metabolism should be shed by evaporation, convection, as well as by radiation, the ratio of the surface of body is more important in terms of heat dissipation efficiency.[12] When the ratio is larger, as it is in leaner counterparts, heat loss is more efficient. The amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of a given mass of adipose tissue is much low in comparison to that of the fat free mass due to the difference in water content. As a result, with the presence of fat, the present loaded heat raises the temperature higher than its leaner equivalents. Nevertheless, in swimming, body fat facilitates swimmers with greater bouncy, which in turn improves performance by reducing hydrodynamic drag. Because the fat layer acts as a medium for heat transfer and maintains body heat in the water despite high heat output during competition.[6]

It can be well understood that the weight of the body does not represent the complete picture when it comes to a sportsperson's fitness. Lean and subcutaneous tissue plays an important influence in physical performance. These two factors are best known to influence physical output, implying that a person's participation in strenuous physical activity increases or decreases the quantity of lean and subcutaneous tissue. For most of the time, it is noted that players have less subcutaneous and more lean mass. Due to the nature of the action on the field, it has also been discovered that these two factors might vary even in between the players participating in the same. In hockey a lean core plays a key role in executing the half forward position. It is believed that a stronger torso motivates players to hit the ball, stronger calves enable quicker movements, and running is also necessary. Players carry less weight, so a reduced subcutaneous helps in running.[13]

 Physique And Perfromance in Sports

With all round improvement within the science of sports, new fields with super specializations are emerging being tested on different platforms and geographical location assessing their reliabilities and validity. The component of particular premise of selection is being added in the selection process for athletes at different levels. In order to excel in a competitive sport, players must have certain body characteristics that are most appropriate for their particular sport. For this reason, the physical characteristics of kinanthropometry are considered to be of vital significance for human development to achieve a high level of success in a particular sport. It is of prime importance to evaluate the shape and size of an individual to understand how distant he/she can succeed in getting to be the best competitors.[14]

Track and field

Sprinters are ordinarily light-boned with generally long bones and full chested physique. Jumpers, hurdlers, and vaulters are expected to be moderately thin in skeletal construct and are taller with longer legs and shorter trunks.[15] Those with greater arm span/height and greater upper arm length/forearm length are the standard throwers (including shot-putters). Relatively larger leg length/trunk length and relatively large foreleg length/thigh length are required for jumpers, hurdlers, and vaulters. Throwers are heavier and taller at various competition levels, with long muscular arms and broader shoulders. Greater body weight is advantageous in shot-put, discus, and hammer throwing as an equal and opposite reactive force is exerted on the thrower, when throwing the target forward and upward, which results in driving him/her backward and downward.[16] The impact of Newton's third law is less on a heavy body weight thrower. Making the flight of the instrument longer before landing, the higher height is of more benefit to them. Sprinters are short in height and exceptionally strong, in comparison with middle distance runners and their shortness is primarily due to the short trunk.[17]


Based on biomechanics, gymnasts are of shorter and lighter stature, and a mesomorph body composition is highly recommended. The downside of a taller gymnast is that he/she has a lower strength: body weight ratio than a shorter gymnast. This is since the shorter and lighter individuals have the better ability to contact their body weight. This implies strength per pound tends to be higher for people with short stature. The taller gymnast has a higher center of gravity off the floor than the shorter one.[18] Therefore, to achieve the same result as those of shorter gymnasts on the same abilities, taller gymnasts must show a greater amount of accuracy in timing. In contrast with tall athletes, the short stature of gymnasts results in a smaller moment of inertia around an axis in the transverse plane through the mass core. As a matter of fact, in free flight, a shorter individual is better able to execute “spinning” action.[19]

Weight lifting

In the event of weight lifting, shorter arms and legs enable the bar to remain relatively close to axis of the body, reducing the torque on the body. In addition to the acceleration of the device before throwing, one of the factors contributing to the success of throwing is weight. Being short-statured is advantageous in terms that body weight is carried to a lesser height. The proportionately border shoulders, large trunk, and lean tissue growth help provide them with greater strength.[20]


Wrestlers with long upper extremities, long and broader trunk, and shorter lower limbs provide mechanical advantage in stopping and reciprocating the reaction in response to an action being impacted by the counter player. In addition to the many wrestling technique holds, longer upper extremities are beneficial to them for easier reach and help provide better arm grips to capture the wider trunk and shorter extremities bring down the center of gravity and thereby help increase a wrestler's stability. Moreover, the longer and larger trunk adds to the strength of this body area, which seems important, especially when one wrestler is in the hold of another during the fight.[21]


In the modern world, kinanthropometry is used in the identification of sports talent, research on human development, medical tests, performance improvement in sports, etc. Measurements taken provide data regarding the maximal performance for national and international competitions. Also, advances in the application of motion measurement information provide a quantitative interface between human structure and motion. By highlighting potential talent at specific sporting events, it has been highly acclaimed and garnered enormous attention and popularity. In certain sports, different body types have specific advantages and the right knowledge, helps both coaches and athletes train in specific directions and achieve winning goals with significant and decisive results. The core theme of kinanthropometry is human measurement in a variety of morphological views and their application to movement in its different forms and factors influencing movement. Regular assessments with reference to exercise measurements inform both coaches and athletes of their physical condition and helps in maintenance of required physical fitness. Flexibility and mobility of different joints of the human body needs to be assessed after every sports event. The success of sports is highly dependent on the mobility and versatility of the entire body. Kinanthropometry works as a handy tool to determine the physical status of athletes.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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