Body Composition of Professional Soccer Players

2 weeks ago I did body composition tests on our players using an Ultrasound device. It’s more accurate and reliable than caliper. Our field player mean for the team was 8.03% bodyfat. Goal keepers were slightly higher. This compares favorably with mean values reported on EPL players in this study. The study used a DXA scan to measure which is slightly more accurate and likely to give a slightly higher value than ultrasound. One of the interesting findings of the study cited is the following:

The non-Caucasian players demonstrated significantly lower percent body fat (9.2 +/- 2.0%) than the Caucasian players (10.7 +/- 1.8%). It was concluded that body composition is important for elite soccer players, but that homogeneity between players at top professional clubs results in little variation between individuals.

I’ve set our target body fat percentage at <9% which should be attainable for all athletes. Excess body fat potentially increases the likelihood of injury and is added weight that does not contribute to performance (which means it hurts performance!).

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Mike Young

Director of Performance at Athletic Lab
Mike is the Head Fitness Coach for the North Carolina Courage and North Carolina FC. He is also the owner and Director of Performance at Athletic Lab sports performance training center. He previously served as the fitness coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Carolina Railhawks. He has a PhD in Biomechanics, an MS in Coaching Science, and a BSS in Exercise Physiology and has coached Olympic and professional athletes in Skeleton, Track & Field, MLS and NASL Soccer, PGA Golf, NFL Football, MLB Baseball and Olympic Weightlifting. He has lectured around the world and authored 2 books and dozens of research and coaching articles.