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J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Aug;19(3):485-9.

Body size and composition of National Football League players.

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Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA.


The purpose of this study was to present a profile of body size and composition of National Football League (NFL) players prior to the start of the regular season. Fifty-three members of the Indianapolis Colts professional football team were measured for height, body mass, and percentage body fat using the BOD POD air-displacement plethysmography system during summer camp of the 2003 football season. These data were categorized by position for comparison with previous studies of NFL football players. The relationships observed were as follows (= represents nonsignificant; > represents p < or = 0.05): Height: Offensive Line = Defensive Line = Quarterbacks/Kickers/Punters = Tight Ends > Linebackers > Running Backs = Wide Receivers = Defensive Backs. Body Mass: Offensive Line = Defensive Line > Tight Ends = Linebackers > Running Backs = Quarterbacks/ Kickers/Punters > Wide Receivers = Defensive Backs. Percentage Body Fat: Offensive Line > Defensive Line > Quarterbacks/ Kickers/Punters = Linebackers = Tight Ends > Running Backs = Wide Receivers = Defensive Backs. Comparisons to teams in the 1970s indicate that body mass has increased only for offensive and defensive linemen; however, height and body fat among player positions have not dramatically changed. Furthermore, the body mass index is not an accurate measure or representation of body fat or obesity in NFL players. These data provide a basic template for size profiles and differences among various positions and allow comparisons with other studies for changes in the NFL over the past 3 decades.

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