Context: Combat sports are composed of high-intensity actions (eg, attacks, defensive actions, and counterattacks in both grappling and striking situations depending on the specific sport) interspersed with low-intensity actions (eg, displacement without contact, stepping) or pauses (eg, referee stoppages), characterizing an intermittent activity. Therefore, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is at the essence of combat-sport-specific training and is used as complementary training, as well. HIIT prescription can be improved by using intensity parameters derived from combat-sport-specific tests. Specifically, the assessment of physiological indexes (intensity associated with the maximal blood lactate steady state, maximal oxygen consumption, and maximal sprint) or of time–motion variables (high-intensity actions, low-intensity actions, and effort:pause ratio) is a key element for a better HIIT prescription because these parameters provide an individualization of the training loads imposed on these athletes. Purpose: To present a proposal for HIIT prescription for combat-sport athletes, exemplifying with different HIIT protocols (HIIT short intervals, HIIT long intervals, repeated-sprint training, and sprint interval training) using combat-sport-specific actions and the parameters for the individualization of these protocols. Conclusions: The use of combat-sport-specific tests is likely to improve HIIT prescription, allowing coaches and strength and conditioning professionals to elaborate HIIT short intervals, HIIT long intervals, repeated-sprint training, and sprint interval training protocols using combat-sport actions, providing more specificity and individualization for the training sessions.
Seihati A. Shiroma, Ursula F. Julio and Emerson Franchini
Purpose: To evaluate criterion validity, reliability, and usefulness of a test to measure maximal aerobic power using judo-specific movements (uchi-komi test [UKtest]). Methods: A total of 12 judokas performed 5 graded exercise tests (GETs) in 4 sessions. In sessions 1 and 2, upper-body (UBtest), lower-body (LBtest), and familiarization UKtest were performed. GETs were randomly performed and separated by at least 48 h. In sessions 3 and 4, test and retest UKtest were performed (7 d apart). For all GETs, peak oxygen consumption (
Fabio Y. Nakamura, Lucas A. Pereira, César C. Cal Abad, Emerson Franchini and Irineu Loturco
To quantify the training loads reported by karate athletes of the Brazilian national team in the week immediately before their participation in the 2015 Pan American Games.
Eleven elite karate athletes (7 men and 4 women, 24.42 ± 3.75 y, 1.70 ± 0.09 m, 69.6 ± 13.2 kg) from the Brazilian national team took part in this study. Session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE) was quantified in all training sessions. Moreover, resting heart-rate variability (HRV), as analyzed through the natural log of the root-mean-square difference of successive normal RR intervals (lnRMSSD), and countermovement-jump (CMJ) performance before and after 8 training sessions were assessed throughout the week. The differences based on magnitudes were calculated comparing pre- and posttraining session, as well as measures performed every morning during the week.
The weekly s-RPE was 2608.5 ± 431.2 a.u. The lnRMSSD was very likely higher on Monday than on the following days of the week, remaining stable during this period. CMJ height did not change during the week. Almost certain differences were observed in lnRMSSD pre- and posttraining session, while CMJ height did not change.
The national karate-team athletes did not present signs of fatigue accumulation, as indicated by relatively steady HRV and unchanged CMJ during the week, as planned by the coaches for precompetition technical and tactical refinement.
Montassar Tabben, Jeremy Coquart, Helmi Chaabène, Emerson Franchini, Karim Chamari and Claire Tourny
This study determined the validity and reliability of a new specific field test that was based on the scientific data from the latest research.
Seventeen international-level karatekas participated in the study: 14 men (age 24.1 ± 4.6 y, body mass 65.7 ± 10.8 kg) and 3 women (age 19 ± 3.6 y, body mass 54.1 ± 0.9 kg). All performed the new karate-specific test (KST) 2 times (test and retest sessions were carried out on separated occasions 1 wk apart). Thirteen men also performed a laboratory test to assess maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max).
Test–retest results showed the KST to be reliable. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), peak heart rate (HRpeak), blood lactate concentration, rating of perceived exertion, and time to exhaustion (TE) did not display a difference between the test and the retest. The SEM and ICC for relative and absolute VO2peak and TE were <5% and >.90, respectively. Significant correlations were found between VO2peak (mL · kg−1 · min−1) and TE measured from the KST (r = .71, 95%CI 0.35–0.88, P < .0001). There was also no significant difference between VO2peak measured from the KST and VO2max recorded from the cycle-ergometer laboratory test (55.1 ± 4.8 vs 53.2 ± 6.6 mL · kg−1 · min−1, respectively; t = –1.85, df = 12, P = .08, dz = 0.51 [small]). The Bland and Altman analyses reported a mean difference (bias) ± the 95% limits of agreement of 1.9 ± 7.35 mL · kg−1 · min−1.
This study showed that the new KST test, with effort patterns replicating real karate combat sessions, can be considered a valid and reliable karate-specific field test for assessing karatekas’ endurance fitness.
Helmi Chaabène, Emerson Franchini, Bianca Miarka, Mohamed Amin Selmi, Bessem Mkaouer and Karim Chamari
The aim of this study was to measure and compare physiological and time–motion variables during karate fighting and to assess eventual differences between winners and defeated elite karatekas in an ecologically valid environment.
Fourteen elite male karatekas who regularly participated in national and international events took part in a national-level competition.
There were no significant differences between winners and defeated karatekas regarding all the studied variables. Karatekas used more upper-limb (76.19%) than lower-limb techniques (23.80%). The kisami-zuki represented the most frequent technique, with 29.1% of all used techniques. The duration of each fighting activity ranged from <1 s to 5 s, with 83.8% ± 12.0% of the actions lasting less than 2 s. Karatekas executed 17 ± 7 high-intensity actions per fight, which corresponded to ~6 high-intensity actions per min. Action-to-rest ratio was about 1:1.5, and high-intensityaction- to-rest ratio was ~1:10. The mean blood lactate response at 3 min postcombat (Lapost) elicited during karate fighting was 11.18 ± 2.21 mmol/L (difference between Lapre and Lapost = 10.01 ± 1.81 mmol/L). Mean heart rate (HR) was 177 ± 14 beats/min (91% ± 5% of HRpeak). Karatekas spent 65% of the time exercising at HR >90% of the individual HRpeak.
Karatekas predominantly use upper-limb karate techniques. Karate’s nature is intermittent, with fighting activities representing ~6% of total combat’s duration and ~84% of actions lasting less than 2 s, with ~21-s mean time interval in between. Kumite combat sessions induced high La and near-maximal cardiovascular strain. Other key success factors should be investigated to properly discriminate winners and defeated athletes.
Saša Krstulović, Andrea De Giorgio, Óscar DelCastillo Andrés, Emerson Franchini and Goran Kuvačić
The main aim of this investigation was to determine the effect of high contextual interference (HCI) and low contextual interference (LCI) on motor learning of falling techniques. Thirty-five kinesiology students (21 males and 14 females; mean ± SD, age = 19.4 ± 0.69 years) were randomly assigned to the HCI or LCI practice group. The participants’ task was to learn two judo falling techniques on both sides over 3 weeks. The two-way analysis of variance found no difference between LCI and HCI in the performance at the pretest, posttest, retention, and transfer. Both groups improved posttest and retention performance. Finally, differences were found for both groups between the falling performance in the posttest and the application test (except for the right yoko ukemi fall in the HCI). Lower application test scores led to the conclusion that the 3-week treatment was insufficient to reach the application level of the falling techniques.
Ibrahim Ouergui, Philip Davis, Nizar Houcine, Hamza Marzouki, Monia Zaouali, Emerson Franchini, Nabil Gmada and Ezzedine Bouhlel
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.
Paulo H.C. Mesquita, Emerson Franchini, Marco A. Romano-Silva, Guilherme M. Lage and Maicon R. Albuquerque
Purpose: To investigate the effects of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) on the aerobic performance, heart rate (HR), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) of highly trained taekwondo athletes. Methods: Twelve (8 men and 4 women) international/national-level athletes received a-tDCS or sham treatment over the M1 location in a randomized, single-blind crossover design. The stimulation was delivered at 1.5 mA for 15 min using an extracephalic bihemispheric montage. Athletes performed the progressive-specific taekwondo test 10 min after stimulation. HR was monitored continuously during the test, and RPE was registered at the end of each stage and at test cessation. Results: There were no significant differences between sham and a-tDCS in time to exhaustion (14.6 and 14.9, respectively, P = .53, effect size = 0.15) and peak kicking frequency (52 and 53.6, respectively, P = .53, effect size = 0.15) or in HR (P > .05) and RPE responses (P > .05). Conclusions: Extracephalic bihemispheric a-tDCS over M1 did not influence the aerobic performance of taekwondo athletes or their psychophysiological responses, so athletes and staff should be cautious when using it in a direct-to-consumer manner.
Jose Morales, Emerson Franchini, Xavier Garcia-Massó, Mónica Solana-Tramunt, Bernat Buscà and Luis-Millán González
To adapt the work endurance recovery (WER) method based on randori maximal time to exhaustion (RMTE) for combat situations in judo.
Eleven international-standard judo athletes (7 men and 4 women; mean age 20.73 ± 2.49 y, height 1.72 ± 0.11 m, body mass 67.36 ± 10.67 kg) were recruited to take part in the study. All participants performed a maximal incremental test (MIT), a Wingate test (WIN), a Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT), and 2 RMTE tests. They then took part in a session at an international training camp in Barcelona, Spain, in which 4 methods of load quantification were implemented: the WER method, the Stagno method, the Lucia method, and the session rating of perceived exertion (RPEsession).
RMTE demonstrated a very high test–retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient = .91), and correlations of the performance tests ranged from moderate to high: RMTE and MIT (r = .66), RMTE and WIN variables (r = .38–.53), RMTE and SJFT variables (r = .74–.77). The correlation between the WER method, which considers time to exhaustion, and the other systems for quantifying training load was high: WER and RPEsession (r = .87), WER and Stagno (r = .77), WER and Lucia (r = .73). A comparative repeated-measures analysis of variance of the normalized values of the quantification did not yield statistically significant differences.
The WER method using RMTE is highly adaptable to quantify randori judo sessions and enables one to plan a priori individualized training loads.
Emerson Franchini, Stanislaw Sterkowicz, Urszula Szmatlan-Gabrys, Tomasz Gabrys and Michal Garnys
This study investigated the energy system contributions of judo athletes to the Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT).
Fourteen male judo athletes performed the SJFT, which comprised three periods of judo activity (A = 15 s, B and C = 30 s) interspersed with 10 s rest intervals. During this test, one athlete threw two others positioned 6 m from each other using the ippon-seoi-nage technique. The fractions of the aerobic, anaerobic alactic and anaerobic lactic systems were calculated based on oxygen uptake, the fast component of excess postexercise oxygen uptake, and changes in net blood lactate, respectively. The contribution of the three energy systems was compared using a repeated measures analysis of variance and Bonferroni’s multiple comparisons test. Compound symmetry, or sphericity, was determined by Mauchly’s test. A level of significance of 5% (P < .05) was adopted in all analyses.
The alactic energy system presented a higher (F = 20.9; P < .001; power observed = 1.0) contribution (86.8 ± 23.6 kJ; 42.3 ± 5.9%) during the test when compared with both aerobic (57.1 ± 11.3 kJ; 28.2 ± 2.9%) and lactic (58.9 ± 12.1 kJ; 29.5 ± 6.2%) energy systems (P < .001 for both comparisons).
The higher alactic contribution seems to be a consequence of the high-intensity efforts performed during the test, and its intermittent nature. Thus, when using the SJFT, coaches are evaluating mainly their athletes’ anaerobic alactic system, which can be considered to be the most predominant system contributing to the actions (techniques) performed in the match.