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Anthropometric and physiological characteristics of junior elite volleyball players
  1. M J Duncan1,
  2. L Woodfield1,
  3. Y al-Nakeeb1
  1. 1Newman College of Higher Education, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 M J Duncan
 Newman College of Higher Education, PE and Sports Studies, Bartley Green, Birmingham B32 3NT, UK; m.j.duncan{at}


Objectives: To investigate the anthropometric and physiological characteristics of junior elite volleyball players.

Method: Twenty five national level volleyball players (mean (SD) age 17.5 (0.5) years) were assessed on a number of physiological and anthropometric variables. Somatotype was assessed using the Heath-Carter method, body composition (% body fat, % muscle mass) was assessed using surface anthropometry, leg strength was assessed using a leg and back dynamometer, low back and hamstring flexibility was assessed using the sit and reach test, and the vertical jump was used as a measure of lower body power. Maximal oxygen uptake was predicted using the 20 m multistage fitness test.

Results: Setters were more ectomorphic (p<0.05) and less mesomorphic (p<0.01) than centres. Mean (SD) of somatotype (endomorphy, mesomorphy, ectomorphy) for setters and centres was 2.6 (0.9), 1.9 (1.1), 5.3 (1.2) and 2.2 (0.8), 3.9 (1.1), 3.6 (0.7) respectively. Hitters had significantly greater low back and hamstring flexibility than opposites. Mean (SD) for sit and reach was 19.3 (8.3) cm for opposites and 37 (10.7) cm for hitters. There were no other significant differences in physiological and anthropometric variables across playing positions (all p>0.05).

Conclusion: Setters tend to be endomorphic ectomorphs, hitters and opposites tend to be balanced ectomorphs, whereas centres tend to be ectomorphic mesomorphs. These results indicate the need for sports scientists and conditioning professionals to take the body type of volleyball players into account when designing individualised position specific training programmes.

  • somatotype
  • physiological profile
  • volleyball

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  • Competing interests: none declared