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Does Physical Fitness Predict Future Karate Success? A Study in Young Female Karatekas

Óscar Martínez de Quel, Ignacio Ara, Mikel Izquierdo, and Carlos Ayán

Objective: To assess the discriminative ability of several fitness dimensions and anthropometric attributes for forecasting competitive success in female karate athletes. Methods: Fitness and anthropometric data from 98 female junior karatekas obtained during the training camps of the Spanish National Karate Federation between 1999 and 2012 were used. Binary logistic-regression models were built to ascertain whether the set of fitness and anthropometric variables could predict future sporting-performance levels. For this purpose, participants were classified as elite (medalist in World or European Championships in the senior category) or subelite (at least a medalist in Spanish National Championships in cadet or junior but not included in the elite group), according to the results achieved up to 2019. Results: Participants who were subsequently classified as elite karatekas showed significant differences in agility, upper- and lower-body muscle power, and general fitness in comparison with those who were classified as subelite in the senior category. A total of 57 junior female karatekas who were subsequently classified as elite (7) or subelite (50) were included in the binary logistic-regression analysis. Resultant models showed significant capacity to predict karate performance. Conclusions: Assessing physical fitness in junior categories can be a useful resource to determine future karate success. Coaches in this sport should pay special attention to the levels of muscle power and agility shown by their athletes, as both fitness dimensions could be indicators of future sportive success.

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Predicting Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Female Soccer Players: The Basque Female Football Cohort Study

Ibai Garcia-Tabar, Aitor Iturricastillo, Julen Castellano, Eduardo L. Cadore, Mikel Izquierdo, and Igor Setuain

Purpose : To develop gender-specific operational equations for prediction of cardiorespiratory fitness in female footballers. Method : Forty-eight semiprofessional female footballers performed an intermittent progressive maximal running test for determination of fixed blood lactate concentration (FBLC) thresholds. Relationships between FBLC thresholds and the physiological responses to submaximal running were examined. Developed equations (n = 48) were compared with equations previously obtained in another investigation performed in males (n = 100). Results : Submaximal velocity associated with 90% maximal heart rate was related to FBLC thresholds (r = .76 to .79; P < .001). Predictive power (R 2 = .82 to .94) of a single blood lactate concentration (BLC) sample measured at 10 or 11.5 km·h−1 was very high. A single BLC sample taken after a 5-minute running bout at 8.5 km·h−1 was related to FBLC thresholds (r = −.71; P < .001). No difference (P = .15) in the regression lines predicting FBLC thresholds from velocity associated with 90% maximal heart rate was observed between the female and male cohorts. However, regressions estimating FBLC thresholds by a single BLC sample were different (P = .002). Conclusions : Velocity associated with 90% maximal heart rate was robustly related to FBLC thresholds and might serve for mass field testing independently of sex. BLC equations accurately predicted FBLC thresholds. However, these equations are gender-specific. This is the first study reporting operational equations to estimate the FBLC thresholds in female footballers. The use of these equations reduces the burden associated with cardiorespiratory testing. Further cross-validation studies are warranted to validate the proposed equations and establish them for mass field testing.

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Effects of Concentric and Eccentric Strength Training on Fatigue Induced by Concentric and Eccentric Exercises

Eduardo Lusa Cadore, Miriam González-Izal, Rafael Grazioli, Igor Setuain, Ronei Silveira Pinto, and Mikel Izquierdo

Purpose: To compare the concentric and eccentric training effects on fatigue induced by eccentric and concentric protocols. Methods: A total of 22 men and women (22 [3.6] y) were assigned to concentric (GCON, n = 11) or eccentric training (GECC, n = 11). The concentric (CON) and eccentric (ECC) protocols were composed of 4 sets of 20 knee-extension/flexion repetitions. Force losses were analyzed by comparing 10 repetitions’ mean torques during the protocols and by verifying the maximal voluntary contraction and rate of torque development before and after the protocols. Muscle damage was assessed using echo intensity of the vastus lateralis 48 h after the protocols. Training consisted of 6 wk of isokinetic exercise at 60°/s (concentric or eccentric) twice weekly. Results: Before training, both protocols resulted in dynamic and isometric force losses in GCON and GECC (P < .01), but the magnitude was greater after the CON protocol than after the ECC protocol (P < .001). After training, both GCON and GECC showed similar force decreases during the CON and ECC protocols (P < .01), and these changes were not different from the pretraining decreases. Regarding maximal voluntary contraction after training, GECC showed lower force decreases than GCON after ECC exercise (−13.7% vs −22.3%, respectively, P < .05), whereas GCON showed lower maximal voluntary contraction decreases after CON exercise compared with pretraining (−29.2%, P < .05). Losses in rate of torque development were similar after the protocols before and after the training regimens. No changes in echo intensity were observed after the protocols before and after training. Conclusion: Both interventions resulted in similar force decreases during fatigue protocols compared with those associated with pretraining.