Sarah Lanham, Savannah McLain, Mario Keko, Bridget Melton. Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA.

BACKGROUND: Two common field measures for estimating strength are isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) and hand grip strength (HGS). However, exclusive reliance on absolute values may neglect the importance of force production ability in reference to an individual’s body weight. Relative strength (RS) may offer an additional perspective on strength performance for individuals and groups. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between total body mass and absolute strength measures, as well as identify the correlation between total body mass and adiposity in career structural firefighters. METHODS: For this study, 53 male career structural firefighters (aged 34.1 ± 8.8 years) from rural Southeast Georgia volunteered to perform a body composition test (i.e., DXA) and two performance tests (i.e. HGS and IMTP). Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to determine body fat percentage (BF%) and total body mass (TBM). A handgrip dynamometer was used to determine HGS and a lower body dynamometer was used to determine isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP). HGS RS, and IMTP RS were calculated by dividing the respective values by the participant’s TBM. Spearman’s Rho and Pearson’s correlations were calculated to determine associations between BF and both IMTP and HGS. Relationships between BF% to HGS RS and IMTP RS were based on r-values. RESULTS: The results indicate a moderate strong, positive correlation between BF% and TBM (r = 0.61; rs= 0.66; p < 0.001). IMTP RS and BF% yielded a moderate strong, negative correlation (r = -0.64; rs = -0.64; p < 0.001), while a moderate, negative correlation was observed between HGS RS and BF% (r = -0.56; rs = -0.52; p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Based on these findings, adiposity appears to be positively associated with total body mass and negatively associated with both relative strength measures in this population. These findings warrant further research as to provide estimation models for RS to account for individual differences in physiological and anthropometric factors.

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