Physiological profiles and bone health status of Malay adolescent male boxing, Muay Thai and silat athletes

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This study aimed to determine the differences in physiological profiles and bone health status of Malay adolescent male state boxing, Muay Thai and silat athletes.


Forty participants with mean age 16.7 ± 1.5 years participated in this study. They were divided into four groups, i.e., sedentary control, boxing, Muay Thai and silat groups with 10 participants per group. Participants’ lung capacity, estimated maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), Wingate anaerobic capacity, isokinetic muscular peak torque (strength) and power, hand-grip strength, back and leg strength, explosive power, agility, static balance and flexibility were measured. Bone sonometer was used to measure tibial and radial bone speed of sound (SOS). The research approach employed was purposive method and the duration for completing data collection was 3 months.


The result of the present study showed that boxing athletes exhibited significantly (p < 0.05) greater arm isokinetic muscular strength and power than silat athletes, and greater arm isokinetic muscular power than Muay Thai athletes respectively. Boxing athletes also showed significantly (p < 0.05) higher estimated VO2max compared to silat athletes. Muay Thai athletes exhibited significantly (p < 0.05) greater radial bone SOS value compared to sedentary controls.


The Malay male adolescent boxing athletes had greater arm isokinetic muscular performance than their silat and Muay Thai counterparts. Boxing athletes also showed better aerobic fitness compared to silat athletes. In addition, Muay Thai athletes had better bone health status than sedentary individuals. This study provides new scientific information on physiological profiles and bone health status of Malay adolescent male state boxing, Muay Thai and silat athletes in the field of martial arts.

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The authors wish to thank the coaches of Kelantan boxing, Muay Thai and silat state teams, Malaysia, and the participants for their involvement in this study. Special gratitude to the staff from Exercise and Sports Science Laboratory, School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia for providing the technical support, and Ms. Nurul Ain Fathma for the assistance in this study.

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Correspondence to Foong Kiew Ooi.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures were approved by Research and Human Ethics Committee of Universiti Sains Malaysia (JEPeM Code: USM/JEPeM/17030174).

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Written informed consent has been obtained from all participants.

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Abidin, M.A.H., Ooi, F.K. & Chen, C.K. Physiological profiles and bone health status of Malay adolescent male boxing, Muay Thai and silat athletes. Sport Sci Health 14, 673–683 (2018) doi:10.1007/s11332-018-0492-8

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  • Physiological profile
  • Bone health
  • Martial arts