Emily V. Witte1, Henry N. Williford2, FACSM, Michael R. Esco3, FACSM & Matthew D. Leatherwood2. 1Emporia State University, Emporia, KS; 2Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery, AL; 3University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL; e-mail: ewitte@emporia.edu

It has been well established that the frequency and duration of impact loading, age, body weight, and body composition are independently correlated with bone mineral density (BMD) in female athletes. However, very little is known about the relationship of strength, in addition to other anthropometric measures, and BMD. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between muscular strength, muscular endurance, sport specific impact loading, age, body composition and body weight simultaneously in regards to BMD in collegiate female athletes. METHODS: Participants included apparently healthy collegiate female athletes from a variety of sports; tennis (n=7), basketball (n=8), soccer (n=7), cross country (n=2), cheer (n=2), and volleyball (n=4). Each subject reported twice during a seven day span to complete the assessments. During the first session, descriptive statistics such as height, weight, BMD and body composition were recorded. Additionally, objective assessments for muscular strength (hand-grip strength, one-repetition max bench press and squat strength), muscular endurance (push-ups and curl-ups) were performed. The second session included the evaluation of maximal oxygen consumption, obtained from a graded exercise test and open circuit spirometry. RESULTS: Using a Pearson correlation, bench press strength displayed the greatest relationship with BMD (r = 0.826). Significant relationships also existed between BMD and fat-free mass (r = 0.739), maximal squat strength (r = 0.666) and hand-grip strength (r = 0.597). A stepwise regression model revealed maximal bench press strength as the most significant variable for predicting total BMD in respect to the variables being measured. In addition, a negative relationship was displayed between BMD and partial curl-ups (r = -0.387) and maximal oxygen uptake (r = -0.360). CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that the relationship between BMD and muscular strength, particularly maximal bench press strength, may be greater than previously indicated.

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