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Anthropometrics: An introduction

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sports
Wordcount: 2045 words Published: 12th May 2017

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Biomechanics Lab Report

This lab report is based on the Anthropometrics practical session that took place in week three.


The aim of the session was to find out what our Anthropometrical measures were and how they would compared to some typical figures that were given out at the time.

The study of Anthropometrics deals with the measurement of the dimensions, mass, and mass distribution of the human body. It provides estimates of the lengths, masses, location of the centres of mass, and moments of inertia of the human body that are used in the study of human motion

There are 10 main parts of the body that will be measured during the study of Anthropometrics and they are the two forearms, the head, the two upper arms, the trunk, two thighs and two shanks. All these measurements will give us an indication whether we are fit and healthy or if we are underweight or overweight,


Anthropometrics was found by a French savant called Alphonse Bertillon who in 1883 gave the name Anthropometrics to a system that he designed which involved him taking certain measurements and when they were recorded he found out that every single individual could be distinguished from other people by these measurements. This is because he concluded that everyone has a different physique and surface area.

Materials and method

The equipment that was used during this practical session were things like

  • Goniometers
  • A plinth
  • Some Calipers
  • A Height Gauge
  • A set of Scales
  • A Tape measure
  • Nomogram
  • Grip Strength Gauge

Goniometers are designed for the measurement of limb angular movement. The sensors are attached across the joint employing double-sided medical adhesive tape and connected to instrumentation. The sensors are lightweight an unobtrusive allowing the data of human activity to be displayed or recorded while leaving the subject to move freely in the normal environment.

The first thing that we did was to calculate our body mass index and to do this we measured our height and weight by using a Height Gauge and a set of scales. Then we calculated our body mass index by multiplying the height by itself and then dividing the answer that we got by our weight and this gave us our body mass index. Then we measure the length of our legs by using a tape measure. Then we measure the greater Trochanter knee joint and the Lateral Malleous knee joint by using Calipers. We also used the Calipers to measure the width of our wrist, elbow, knee, ankle and armspan. Then we used a goniometer to measure the angle of our quadriceps. Then we used the calipers to measure our skin fold thickness. Then we used the grip strength gauge to see how strong we were. We used the plinth to measure the lower part of the body. For example we used it to measure our lower limbs. We did the measurements that are above except for the height, weight and body mass index first on our right side and then on our left side and this enabled us to find out the total measurements of the entire body. Finally we checked our surface area by using the nomogram.


Anthropometrical Measures


Height (m)


Weight (kg)

72.8 kg

BMI (kg/m2)

21.3 kg/m2



Leg Length, ASIS – Medial Malleolus (m)

101 m

101 m

Greater Trochanter-Knee Joint (m)

45 m

45 m

Knee Joint – Lateral Malleolus (m)

43 m

43 m

Wrist width (m)

5.7 m

5.9 m

Elbow width (m)

7.3 m

7.3 m

Knee width (m)

10 m

10.2 m

Ankle width (m)

7.6 m

7.4 m

Armspan (m)

185 m

185 m

‘Q’ angle



Chest/Waist/Hip Circumference m


90 m


79 m

Hip 86 m

Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)

0.91 whr

Ratio Armspan to body height

1 cm

Calf Circumference (m)

35 m

35 m

Thigh Circumference (m)

47 m

46 m

Grip Strength Ratio (L vs R)



Surface Area (Nomogram)

1.91 m2

Surface Area by calculation

1.93 m2

Skin fold thickness (rectus femoris)



Measure the ratio of ring finger length

to index finger length m

0.925 m

0.924 m


While analysing my results I found out that some of my results were normal and some of my results were below or above the average for that particular measurement. For example when I analysed my body mass index I found out that I was in the normal range for body mass index which was 20-25 kg/m

Typical ranges for body mass index


<20 kgm2

Healthy Range

20-25 kgm2

D Overweight

25-30 kgm2


>30 kgm2

While analysing my results I found out that my skin fold thickness is lower than the normal average. For example the average skin fold thickness for a fit man is 14-17 percent whereas if you have a body fat percentage over 25+ you are classed as obese. On the other hand women will have a slightly higher body fat percentage than men because they have got a slightly wider physique than men and this means that women will have a higher body fat percentage.

Skin fold thickness measurements are also used as an indication of obesity and it has been proven to be a more reliable method to find out how much fat we have in our bodies

Typical values for body fat percentage

Women % body fat

Men % body fat


21-24 %

14-17 %


32 + %

25 +%

While analysing my results I also found out that my q angle was lower than a normal q angle should be. For example a normal q angle should typically fall between 18°- 22°, with males usually at the lower end of the scale and females at the higher end of the scale.

An abnormal Q angle will typically be increased from normal. This automatically increases the vulnerability to tracking problems like lower back, pelvis, leg and foot problems. An abnormal Q angle becomes further complicated when accompanied by a functional or anatomical short leg. Many people especially runner’s favour a functional short leg rather than anatomical short leg. They prefer a functional short leg to an anatomical leg because the functional leg is used to straighten an abnormal q angle whereas an anatomical leg just keeps it in place. In this case a heel raise is often recommended but this will make the problem worse by keeping the leg in an abnormal position when it should be in a normal position. A normal Q angle will have the patella rotated slightly more towards the mid line than the tibial tubercle.

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Also while analysing my waist to hip result. I found out that I am at a low risk of being overweight and getting a serious health problem. For example a man needs to have a waist to hip ratio of 0.90 to be at low risk of getting a serious health condition but if a man has a waist to hip ratio of more than 1.0 than he is classed as being at a high risk of getting a serious health condition. In comparison to this a woman needs to have a waist to hip ratio of less that 0.80 to be at a low risk of getting a serious health condition and if they have a waist to hip ratio of more than 0.85 then they would be classed as being at a high risk of getting a serious health condition. The types of health conditions that you could get if you are at high risk are things like Coronary Heart Disease, Hypertension and Diabetes. On the other hand there are some serious health conditions with being underweight and they are Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Infertility, Anorexia / Bulimia, Aneami and Aimmune Deficiency. These conditions mainly affect women who have a body mass index of less than 18.5.kgm2

When my results was compared with the averages for the different measurements I found out that they were below the normal average for some of the measurements and this is because everybody is different in many ways. For example people have different physiques so the amount of body fat that is found in a person’s body varies and this means that everybody’s body mass index will be different.


While concluding my results I found that I am fit and healthy and that I am in no danger of getting a serious health condition. I have also found out that there are a number of different conditions that affects people who are overweight and underweight. I have also concluded that everybody’s Anthropometrical measures will be difference. This is due to the difference in physique, height, body mass and the surface area of the body. When I compared my results to some typical data I found out that I was around about the normal range for most of the measurements that were taken during the practical session.

Reference Page


Pheasant, T S, (1996), Bodyspace: Anthropometrics, Ergonomics, and the design of work, London, Taylor & Francis

Hall, J, S (1953) Basic Biomechanics, London, Human kinetics



www.biopac.com/s/sitesearch/runsearch.php?q=goniometer – 28k





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