Allometric scaling of isometric biceps strength in adult females and the effect of body mass index



R. F. Zoeller; E. D. Ryan; H. Gordish-Dressman; T. B. Price; R. L. Seip; T. J. Angelopoulos; N. M. Moyna; P. M. Gordon; P. D. Thompson;E. P. Hoffman


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The purposes of this study were to (1) derive and test allometric scaling models of biceps isometric strength using body mass (BM) and muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) as the scaling variables, (2) assess the influence of body mass index (BMI) by separating the cohort by BMI (normal < 25 kg/m(2) vs. overweight/obese < N25 kg/m(2)) and repeating step 1, and (3) assess the effect of BMI on isometric strength allometrically adjusted for differences in CSA by comparing scaled strength between normal weight versus overweight/obese women. The participants were 183 women (18-39 years old) who reported no strength training in the prior year. Isometric strength and CSA of the biceps were assessed on the non-dominant arm. The CSA allometric model met all statistical criteria and produced a scaling exponent of 0.44. The BM model did not meet these criteria until the entire cohort was separated by BMI. The scaling exponents for normal weight and overweight/obese women were 1.48 and 0.35, respectively. These data suggest that BMI exerted an influence on the relationship between BM and allometrically scaled isometric strength and may be explained by previous studies demonstrating greater contribution of fat mass (FM) versus fat-free mass (FFM) to BMI in overweight/obese women. As such, allometric scaling models of isometric strength, especially in populations that are heterogeneous with regard to body composition, must be carefully tested and examined across the range of BMI. Isometric strength relative to CSA was not significantly different between groups. However, allometrically scaled strength, using CSA as the criterion variable, was significantly greater in overweight/obese women compared to those of normal weight. These data suggest that isometric strength in women is not completely determined by CSA and other factors such as intramuscular fat and muscle fiber type may be confounding or contributing factors.

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European Journal of Applied Physiology





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