The aim of the current study was to investigate the hormonal, physiological, and physical responses of simulated kickboxing competition and evaluate if there was a difference between winners and losers. Twenty athletes of regional and national level participated in the study (mean ± SD age 21.3 ± 2.7 y, height 170.0 ± 5.0 cm). Hormone (cortisol, testosterone, growth hormone), blood lactate [La], and glucose concentrations, as well as upper-body Wingate test and countermovement-jump (CMJ) performances, were measured before and after combats. Heart rate (HR) was measured throughout rounds 1, 2, and 3 and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was taken after each round. All combats were recorded and analyzed to determine the length of different activity phases (high-intensity, low-intensity, and referee pause) and the frequency of techniques. Hormones, glucose, [La], HR, and RPE increased (all P < .001) precombat to postcombat, while a decrease was observed for CMJ, Wingate test performance, body mass (all P < .001), and time of high-intensity activities (P = .005). There was no difference between winners and losers for hormonal, physiological, and physical variables (P > .05). However, winners executed more jab cross, total punches, roundhouse kicks, total kicks, and total attacking techniques (all P < .042) than losers. Kickboxing is an intermittent physically demanding sport that induces changes in the stress-related hormones soliciting the anaerobic lactic system. Training should be oriented to enhance kickboxers’ anaerobic lactic fitness and their ability to strike at a sufficient rate. Further investigation is needed to identify possible differences in tactical and mental abilities that offer some insight into what makes winners winners.
Ouergui, Houcine, Marzouki, and Gmada are with the High Inst of Sports and Physical Education, University of Jendouba, Kef, Tunisia. Davis is with Combat Sports Performance, Braintree, UK. Zaouali is with the Dept of Physiology and Functional Exploration, Farhat Hached University Hospital, Sousse, Tunisia. Franchini is with the School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. Bouhlel is with the Laboratory of Physiology, University of Sousse, Sousse, Tunisia.