Other Subject Area

Body composition


International Journal of Exercise Science 17(4): 129-139, 2024. High levels of fat-free mass (FFM) are favorable for athletes and are related to sport performance. However, fat-free mass index (FFMI), which includes adjustments for height, may offer a better way to characterize FFM beyond raw values. As FFMI is understudied relative to sport, the purpose of the current study was to assess position and age group differences in FFMI among collegiate American football players. National Collegiate Athletic Association DIII (n=111) football players underwent body composition assessment via bioelectrical impedance analysis. FFMI was calculated by dividing FFM by height squared. One-way analyses of variance with Bonferroni post-hoc tests were conducted to evaluate differences in FFMI by position and age groups (α<0.05). The overall mean FFMI was 23.50 ± 2.04 kg· m−2, with values ranging from 18.1–27.7 kg· m−2. FFMI was highest in linemen (24.8 ± 1.5 kg· m−2) and lowest in specialty players (20.6 ± 1.4 kg· m−2) (p<0.05). No differences in FFMI were apparent across age groups (p>0.05). Current findings demonstrate that an athlete’s upper limit for FFMI may exceed 25 kg· m−2, and differences exist across positions, likely due to position-specific demands. These measurements serve as a foundation for tailoring nutritional and exercise plans, forecasting athletic performance, and supplying coaches with standardized data about the potential for additional FFM accretion in collegiate American football players.