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Aerobic and anaerobic threshold determined by specific test in judo is not correlated with general test

  • Paulo Azevedo
  • João Carlos Oliveira
  • Alessandro Zagatto
  • Paulo Eduardo Pereira
  • Sergio Eduardo Andrade Perez
Original Article

Abstract

The purposes of this study were to compare and correlate the aerobic threshold (THaer), and anaerobic threshold (THanaer) measured during a new single judo-specific incremental test and treadmill test for aerobic demand evaluation. Eight well-trained male competitive judo players (24.3 ± 7.9 years; height of 169.3 ± 6.7 cm; the fat mass of 12.7 ± 3.9%) performed a maximal incremental specific test for judo mimicking the Uchi-komi drills and on the treadmill in different days. There was a difference between specific and general THaer (P = 0.0006) as well as a weak correlation for THaer (r = 0.32; R2 = 0.1; P = 0.2) and THanaer (r = − 0.31; R2 = 0.1; P = 0.12). When correlation was applied to normalized data (percentage of peak load), we observed moderate correlation for THaer (r = 0.76; R2 = 0.58; P = 0.027), but the same result was not observed for THanaer. We conclude that there is a need for THaer and THanaer evaluation through a specific test for Judo.

Keywords

Anaerobic threshold Martial art Sport 

Introduction

Our group has studied ways to evaluate the aerobic capacity in fighting athletes through specific tests [1, 2, 3]. We have recently validated an incremental test to determine the ventilatory threshold in judo athletes [1]. Both anaerobic and aerobic system are important to succeed in Judo [4, 5, 6], aerobic capacity assessment is important to evaluate the adaptation facing systematic training process and intensity training prescription. It has been suggested that the best aerobic capacity determination depends on specificity and validity of the test used [7, 8, 9]. Here, we analyzed whether there is a correlation between the specific and the general test. A weak correlation is expected, leading to a need for specific evaluation.

The aerobic and anaerobic threshold determination has been held through the general protocol performed in judo athletes, mainly through the analysis of the blood lactate kinetics during the maximum incremental test [10, 11, 12]. However, these treadmill, athletic track or cycle ergometer tests for the aerobic and anaerobic threshold are not sensitive enough to discriminate high-level judo athletes from medians ones [13]. Also, general tests do not mimic the specificity of judo, like technique entrance Uchi-komi drills and hold on kimono sleeves (judogi) [12]. Therefore, we believe that specific evaluation is required and the general test cannot be used to predict ideal intensity to training and is not sensible to evaluate the athletes’ adaptation facing a training programmer.

Then, the aims of this study were: (1) to correlate aerobic and anaerobic threshold determined by specific test (Uchi-komi) with the one in treadmill (general) test; (2) to compare the relative intensities of thresholds between specific and general tests. We hypothesize that there is a weak correlation between tests and there are no differences between thresholds relative to peak load.

Methods

Participants

Eight well-trained male judo athletes (mean age of 24.2 ± 6.4 years old; height of 168.2 ± 7.0 cm; body mass of 65.4 ± 13.2 kg) participated voluntarily in this study. Four judo athletes competed in national-level tournaments, whereas the other four take part in state competitions. The mean time spent on training was 10.5 ± 0.4 h a week. All participants were textually and verbally informed about the possible intrinsic risks and benefits of the tests, signing free, informed consent. The study was approved by the research ethics committee of the Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil (Human Research Ethics Committee protocol number 257/2006).

Experimental design

All the subjects performed a specific incremental test mimicking the Uchi-komi using a cable crossover machine [1] and a running treadmill test. Both tests were performed until exhaustion. The tests were conducted at the same period of the day with a variation of 2 h and the interval between tests was 1 week.

Warm-up exercises consisting of specific judo movements were performed for 5 min before each test. To minimize the learning effect, the judo athletes attended 5 min Uchi-komi sessions using a cable crossover machine for four nonconsecutive days [14]. The pace of uchi-komi was controlled through loud signs emitted by a metrometer.

Experimental procedures

Treadmill general test

To determine the aerobic and anaerobic threshold, the subjects were submitted to an incremental test (treadmill (general) test) (Fig. 1) on a treadmill (Movement LX-150) at an inclination of 1% and initial velocity of 6 km h−1, followed by increments of 1 km h−1 with intervals of 3 min between stages [15, 16].
Fig. 1

Treadmill general test

Measurements of VO2, VCO2, and ventilation were carried out throughout each test using a telemetry system (K4b2, Cosmed, Rome, Italy). Expired gases were measured breath-by-breath and the results were averaged every 15 s. Before each test, the system was calibrated using ambient air and gas of known O2 and CO2 concentration according to the manufacturer’s instructions (K4 b2 instruction manual) and subjects remained standing during 5 min for data acquisition and normalization. The turbine flow-meter of the K4 b2 was calibrated using a 3 L syringe.

The aerobic threshold (THaer) was determined by three ventilatory parameters: (1) first loss in the ventilatory linearity; (2) increase in the ventilatory equivalent of O2 (VE/VO2); (3) increase in the fraction of expired O2 (%FeCO2) [17]. The anaerobic threshold (THanaer) was determined by three ventilatory parameters: (1) second loss in the ventilatory linearity; (2) increase in the ventilatory equivalent of CO2 (VE/VCO2); (3) decrease in the fraction of expired CO2 (%FeCO2) [17]. Two experienced scientists evaluated each graph, and in case of discrepancies, the mean of the identified points was used.

Specific incremental judo test

The test was developed so that Uchi-komi would be applied in association with ippon-seoi-nage technique using a cable crossover machine, with the kimono sleeves adapted to the use of crossover machine (Fig. 2). The validity and reliability of uchi-komi used for anaerobic threshold determination have been demonstrated previously [18]. Warm-up exercises consisted of 5 min with specific judo movements. To minimize the learning effect, the judo athletes attended 5 min Uchi-komi sessions using a cable crossover machine for four nonconsecutive days [14]. The pace of uchi-komi was controlled through loud signs emitted by a metrometer. Initial load was 1.9 kg, increasing 1.2 kg every 3 min [19]. The Uchi-komi movements had a frequency of one Uchi-komi every 3 s [12]. The test was finished when the subject stopped the movement voluntarily due to exhaustion, when the pre-determined frequency was not kept during three consecutive Uchi-komi or when Uchi-komi was performed out of the technical pattern.
Fig. 2

Specific incremental judo test

Statistical analysis

Data are presented as mean ± SD. The Shapiro–Wilk test was applied to assess the normality of data. The differences between the relative intensity of specific and general thresholds were analyzed with a paired t test and Pearson’s correlation coefficient. When data were non-parametric, the comparison was made by Wilcoxon test and correlation by Spearman. The significant level was set at P ≤ 0.05.

Results

The load corresponding to aerobic and anaerobic threshold in specific and general tests is shown in Table 1. The aerobic threshold was 7.1 ± 1.7 kg and 7.7 ± 1.2 km h−1 for specific and general tests, respectively. The anaerobic threshold was 10.3 ± 1.9 kg and 10 ± 1.2 km h−1 for specific and general tests, respectively. The maximum load was 2.5 ± 2.5 kg and 11.7 ± 1.0 km h−1 for specific and general tests, respectively. The maximum oxygen uptake for a specific test (32.6 ± 5.1 mL kg−1 min−1) was not significantly different (P = 0.08) compared to a general test (37.9 ± 8.5 mL kg−1 min−1).
Table 1

Load corresponding to aerobic and anaerobic threshold in specific and general tests

Subject

SpecificTHaer (kg)

SpecificTHanaer (kg)

GeneralTHaer (km h−1)

GeneralTHanaer (km h−1)

1

7.6

11.3

8

9

2

4.3

6.8

7

10

3

6.8

10

7

8

4

9.1

11.3

10

12

5

5.3

9.1

7

10

6

6.8

11.3

6

9

7

6.8

9.1

8

11

8

10

13.6

9

11

Mean

7.1

10.3

7.7

10

SD

1.7

1.9

1.2

1.2

SpecificTH aer specific aerobic threshold, SpecificTH anaer specific anaerobic threshold, GeneralTH aer general aerobic threshold, GeneralTH anaer general anaerobic threshold

The relative intensity load at specific aerobic threshold was significantly different compared to the general test (P = 0.0006) with 56.3 ± 5.7 and 65.8 ± 7.4% of maximum intensity for general and specific tests, respectively (Table 2). No difference was observed for anaerobic threshold (P = 0.2) with 82.6 ± 2.8 and 84.8 ± 4.3% of maximum intensity for general and specific tests, respectively.
Table 2

Relative intensity in percentage of maximum intensity for general and specific tests

Subject

SpecificTHaer (% max)

SpecificTHanaer (% max)

GeneralTHaer (% max)

GeneralTHanaer (% max)

1

72.7

81.8

55.7

82.8

2

58.3

83.3

56.6

89.5

3

70

80

55.3

81.3

4

76.9

92.3

66.7

82.8

5

58.3

83.3

46.9

80.5

6

54.5

81.8

50

83.1

7

66.7

91.7

60.2

80.5

8

69.2

84.6

58.8

80.3

Mean

65.8

84.8

56.3

82.6

SD

7.4

4.3

5.7

2.8

GeneralTH aer general aerobic threshold, GeneralTH anaer general anaerobic threshold, SpecificTH aer specific aerobic threshold, SpecificTH anaer specific anaerobic threshold

There was a weak correlation between specific and general aerobic threshold (r = 0.32; R2 = 0.1; P = 0.2), as well as for anaerobic threshold (r = − 0.31; R2 = 0.1; P = 0.12). When correlation was applied with normalized data (percentage of maximum intensity), we observed a strong correlation for THaer (r = 0.76; R2 = 0.58; P = 0.027), but the same was not observed for THanaer. (r = − 0.29; R2 = 0.08; P = 0.48).

Discussion

The main finding was that there was a weak correlation between the load corresponding to aerobic and anaerobic threshold in general and specific tests. The relative THaer and THanaer were similar to values reported in the literature for general tests, but the relative intensity load at specific aerobic threshold was significantly different compared to the general test. However, no difference was observed for relative intensity of anaerobic threshold with maximum intensity for general and specific tests. These results confirm our first hypothesis and show the need for specific tests to evaluate the physical capacity of judo athletes.

The aerobic and anaerobic threshold determined through the general test was not able to discriminate the judo athletes level [13, 20]. Therefore, the use of a specific test to assess the physical fitness of athletes is compulsory [9, 21]. However, there are few specific tests for judo [9, 12, 22]. One of them demonstrated the similarity for metabolic and heart rate response between running and Uchi-komi on lactate minimum determination [12]. But, it still has not been validated. A weak correlation has been observed when thresholds are assessed in specific and general tests [23, 24]. The difference in motor pattern between specific and general tests could explain the weak correlation observed. Therefore, the treadmill and cycle ergometer tests are not sensitive to specific adaptation arising from judo training.

The ventilatory response and gas exchange during the specific incremental test for judo were not known. However, the same pattern found in general test was expected, according to another study [12]. It was able to assess the aerobic and anaerobic threshold for all subjects. This innovative methodology will contribute to specific training and evaluation for judo [25, 26] as well as performance improvement [10].

The relative aerobic and anaerobic thresholds were similar to those reported for general tests [27, 28, 29]. The relative intensity of specific aerobic threshold was higher than the aerobic threshold determined on the treadmill (65.8 ± 7.4 vs 56.3 ± 5.7%; P = 0.0006). It shows that the adaptations are specific, so the athlete evaluation must be done in a specific way as well. The same result was not observed for the anaerobic threshold. The possible explanation is that these data were non-parametric, then the number of subjects was lower than necessary and the statistic Power was unable to show us the difference between specific and widespread tests.

It is suggested that a more offensive judo player style has the higher anaerobic capacity [25] than defensive judo player, which has the better aerobic capacity. Then, more defensive judo player could train in intensity between aerobic and anaerobic threshold because they have several fights during the day each of them with longer duration. On the other hand, offensive athletes could train in intensity above anaerobic threshold because they need faster anaerobic metabolism to ATP resynthesis during the combat.

One possible limitation is that the evaluation is performed in only one stroke and during the fights; many other techniques of both attack and defense are carried out. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the applicability of this evaluation protocol also in other techniques specifically directed to judo, including judoka preference techniques.

Conclusion

We concluded that there is a weak relationship between specific and general tests for aerobic and anaerobic thresholds, confirming our first hypothesis. Additionally, our second hypothesis was partially observed because the relative aerobic threshold intensity was different between tests. The ventilatory response pattern and gas exchange during a specific incremental test for judo were similar to those reported in general tests showing us the concurrent validity of a specific test for judo. Therefore, we must assess the thresholds through a specific test in judo instead of through general tests.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the participants in this investigation who made this work possible and the English revision made by Carmen Andrea Perez.

Author contributions

PA wrote and made the statistical approach; JCO, AZ and SEAP conceived, designed the experiments and collected the data; PEP reviewed and made the intellectual contribution.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Human Ethics Committee of the Federal University of São Carlos and with the Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paulo Azevedo
    • 1
    • 4
    • 6
  • João Carlos Oliveira
    • 2
    • 7
  • Alessandro Zagatto
    • 3
  • Paulo Eduardo Pereira
    • 4
    • 6
  • Sergio Eduardo Andrade Perez
    • 5
  1. 1.Human Movement Science DepartmentFederal University of São PauloSantosBrazil
  2. 2.Physical Education DepartmentHermínio Ometto UniversityArarasBrazil
  3. 3.Physical Education DepartmentUNESPBauruBrazil
  4. 4.Group of Studies and Research in Exercise PhysiologyFederal University of São PauloSantosBrazil
  5. 5.Physiological Science DepartmentFederal University of São CarlosSão CarlosBrazil
  6. 6.Human Movement Science and RehabilitationFederal University of São PauloSantosBrazil
  7. 7.College of Health SciencesUniversity Center Hermínio Ometto de ArarasArarasBrazil

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