Energetics of Table Tennis and Table Tennis–Specific Exercise Testing

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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To test the hypotheses that the metabolic profile of table tennis is dominantly aerobic, anaerobic energy is related to the accumulated duration and intensity of rallies, and activity and metabolic profile are interrelated with the individual fitness profile determined via table tennis–specific tests.


Eleven male experienced table tennis players (22 ± 3 y, 77.6 ± 18.9 kg, 177.1 ± 8.1 cm) underwent 2 simulated table tennis matches to analyze aerobic (WOXID) energy, anaerobic glycolytic (WBLC) energy, and phosphocreatine breakdown (WPCr); a table tennis–specific graded exercise test to measure ventilatory threshold and peak oxygen uptake; and an exhaustive supramaximal table tennis effort to determine maximal accumulated deficit of oxygen.


WOXID, WBLC, and WPCr corresponded to 96.5% ± 1.7%, 1.0% ± 0.7%, and 2.5% ± 1.4%, respectively. WOXID was interrelated with rally duration (r = .81) and number of shots per rally (r = .77), whereas match intensity was correlated with WPCr (r = .62) and maximal accumulated oxygen deficit (r = .58).


The metabolic profile of table tennis is predominantly aerobic and interrelated with the individual fitness profile determined via table tennis–specific tests. Table tennis–specific ventilatory threshold determines the average oxygen uptake and overall WOXID, whereas table tennis–specific maximal accumulated oxygen deficit indicates the ability to use and sustain slightly higher blood lactate concentration and WBLC during the match.

Zagatto is with the Dept of Physical Education, UNESP—Univ Estadual Paulista, Bauru, Brazil. de Mello Leite is with the Postgraduate Program in Health and Development in the Midwest Region, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, Brazil. Papoti is with the School of Physical Education and Sports of Ribeirao Preto, São Paulo University, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. Beneke is with the Inst of Sport Science and Motology, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany.

Address author correspondence to Alessandro Zagatto at azagatto@yahoo.com.br.