Somatotype analysis of elite Taekwondo athletes compared to non-athletes for sports health sciences


The purpose of this study was to show somatotype and physical characteristic differences between elite taekwondo (TKD) athletes and non-athletes. Differences between weight divisions for Gyorugi and Poomsae athletes were also examined. In this study, we first observed 51 elite TKD athletes and 30 non-athletes. The participants were measured with the modified somatotype method of Heath-Carter, resulting in three kinds of somatotypes (endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph) and a balanced type (central type). The non-athletes consisted of eight endomorphic, eight mesomorphic, seven ectomorphic, and seven central types. The TKD athletes consisted of 26 ectomorphic, 14 mesomorphic, six central type, and four endomorphs. Subdividing the Gyorugi athletes somatotypes resulted in seven mesomorphectomorph, five balanced ectomorph, four mesomorphic ectomorph, four endomorphic ectomorph, three central types, two endomorphic mesomorph, two ectomorphic mesomorph, two balanced endomorph, one mesomorphic endomorph, and one mesomorphendomorph, And poomse athletes resulted in four balanced ectomorph, four balanced mesomorph, three central type, three mesomorph-endomorph, two endomorphic ectomorph, one mesomorph-ectomorph, one mesomorphic ectomorph, one endomorphic mesomorph, and one balanced endomorph, respectively. TKD athletes had tall, higher ectomorphic component values than the non-athletes. However, the athletes’ endomorphic and mesomorphic components were lower than in the non-athletes. Furthermore, Gyorugi athletes are taller and more frequently ectomorphic than Poomsae athletes. A lower weight division in Gyorugi athletes was positively correlated with a higher ectomorphic component, but negatively correlated with the endomorphic and mesomorphic components. The −80 kg class had the highest mesomorphic component value and the lowest endomorphic component value. Our study provides, in part, physical characteristics of TKD athletes to establish a reference for the study of sports health sciences.

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Correspondence to Junghwan Kim.

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These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Noh, JW., Kim, JH. & Kim, J. Somatotype analysis of elite Taekwondo athletes compared to non-athletes for sports health sciences. Toxicol. Environ. Health Sci. 5, 189–196 (2013).

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  • Somatotype analysis
  • Taekwondo athletes
  • Sports health sciences