Categories Uncategorized

I.12 Anthropology of sports,


  • Kinanthropometry comprises of three Greek words kinein (to move), anthropos (man) and metrein (to measure) referring to the dynamic relationship and quantitative interface between human structure and function.
  • The study of sports in anthropology constitutes a specialized sub discipline – Kinanthropometry
  • This branch evaluates physical structure of individuals in relation to gross motor functions. It includes the study of such aspects like maturation, nutrition and body composition
  • Kinanthropometry is defined as the study of human size, shape, proportion, composition, maturation, and gross function, in order to understand growth, exercise, performance, and nutrition
  • The term “Kinanthropometry” was coined by Bill Ross – 1972
  • It was first considered in Olympic Scientific Congress at Quebec in 1976, prior to Montreal Olympics in the same year
  • The driving force behind most initiatives for development of Kinanthropometry has been UNESCO when it founded an International Working Group on Kinanthropometry at Brasilia, Brazil. This group has been working under International Council of Sports Science and Physical Education, a division of UNESCO.
  • Though sports have evolved as a part of human culture, the biological aspects of man like body size, body proportions, physique, nutrition – continuously influence the performance in sports
  • Most of these features are controlled by both heredity and environment
  • Apart from this, human psychological factors like training, motivation and nature also influence the performance
  • All this proves that it requires an interdisciplinary approach combining human biological, cultural and psychological aspects to understand the environment of sports
  • Kinanthropometry is the interface between human anatomy and movement. It is the application of a series of measurements made on the body and from these we can use the data that we gather directly or perform calculations using the data to produce various indices and body composition predictions and to measure and describe physique.


  • In its application it involves a series of human body measurements and the data thus gathered directly or calculated are used to produce various indices to describe physique.
  • It is a scientific discipline that is concerned with the measurement of individuals in a variety of morphological perspectives, its application to movement and those factors which influence movement, including: components of body build, body measurements, proportions, composition, shape and maturation; motor abilities and cardiorespiratory capacities; physical activity including recreational activity as well as highly specialized sports performance.
  • The predominant focus is upon obtaining detailed measurements upon the body composition of a given person.
  • Kinanthropometry is analogous to mechanistic approach to human motion i.e.
    anthropometry. However, the studies in kinanthropometry are confined to width,
    length and girth measurements instead of alterations that arise in the human
    physique out of physical training.

Factors in Sports

  • The factors that influence the performance in sports are controlled by heredity and environment
  • Genetics, however, has a greater role to play in the formation of phenotypes like size, physique, body composition, metabolic powers, strength, speed and skill, cardiovascular adaptations etc.
  • Environment can shape a genotype into a fit type by way of training and motivation
  • Kinanthropometry aims at selecting the fit genotypes which help individuals attain their fullest potentialities
  • Apart from muscle strength, a sport will also depend upon coordinated body movements
  • Anthropometrical studies of individuals can help select players who can have better potentialities in a particular sport than others
  • Training and other extragenic influences can only change one’s phenotype within the limits set by the genotype
  • It is thus imperative to lay more emphasis on the genetically determined morpho-physiological status of an individual

Application and contribution

  • The contribution of kinanthropometry lies in solving problems related to growth,
    nutrition, exercise and performance. It is concerned with the application of
    measurement to assess human size, shape, proportion, composition, maturation
    and function.
  • It puts an athlete into objective focus and gives a clear evaluation of the individual structural status or provides for quantification of differential growth and training influences.
  • Understanding growth of individuals and their structural evolution, selection of talent and monitoring of training to bring out best of performances.
  • Kinanthropometry provides the indispensable structural basis for the consideration of athletic performance.
  • The investigations through kinanthropometry are of fundamental significance in creating the pre-requisite as well as trainable characteristics of sportspersons and athletes.
  • It is concerned with the study of body composition, somatotype and proportionality play a pivotal role for athletic training and selection of talented persons.
  • It provides a foundation for planning and monitoring athletic training.
  • It is a crucial discipline for problem-solving in matters related to growth, exercise, performance and nutrition.
  • The criterion developed using research in kinanthropometry can be used as standards for physical recruitment in the armed forces as well as streamlining and improving the fundamental measurement scale for manufacturing uniforms and designing of furniture.
  • The uniform manufacturers can make use of the information provided by kinanthropometry and somatotyping of the body configurations to fine-tune their patterns and sizing system.
  • The application of kinanthropometry also involves phenotype as well as the morphological change of the discipline personnel before and after physical training.
  • A training program can be designed to match the specific energy source needed for an athlete specific event or contest

Leave a Reply