Sports Medicine

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 147–166 | Cite as

Physiological Profiles of Elite Judo Athletes

  • Emerson FranchiniEmail author
  • Fabrício B. Del Vecchio
  • Karin A. Matsushigue
  • Guilherme G. Artioli
Review Article


To be successful in international competitions, judo athletes must achieve an excellent level of physical fitness and physical condition during training. This article reviews the physiological profiles of elite judo athletes from different sex, age and weight categories. Body fat is generally low for these athletes, except for the heavyweight competitors. In general, elite judo athletes presented higher upper body anaerobic power and capacity than non-elite athletes. Lower body dynamic strength seems to provide a distinction between elite and recreational judo players, but not high-level judo players competing for a spot on national teams. Even maximal isometric strength is not a discriminant variable among judo players. However, more studies focusing on isometric strength endurance are warranted. Although aerobic power and capacity are considered relevant to judo performance, the available data do not present differences among judo athletes from different competitive levels. Typical maximal oxygen uptake values are around 50–55mL/kg/min for male and 40–45mL/kg/min for female judo athletes. As for other variables, heavyweight competitors presented lower aerobic power values. The typical differences commonly observed between males and females in the general population are also seen in judo athletes when analysing anaerobic power and capacity, aerobic power, and maximal strength and power. However, further research is needed concerning the differences among the seven weight categories in which judo athletes compete.


Aerobic Fitness Weight Category Aerobic Power Weight Class Isometric Strength 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


  1. 1.
    Degoutte F, Jouanel P, Filaire E. Energy demands during a judo match and recovery. Br J Sports Med 2003; 37 (3): 245–9PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Castarlenas JL, Planas A. Estudio de la estrutura temporal del combate de judo. Apunts: Educ Fís Deportes 1997; 1 (47): 32–9Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Van Malderen K, Jacobs C, Ramon K, et al. Time and technique analysis of a judo fight: a comparison between males and females. In: Hoppeller H, et al., editors. Annals of the 11th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science. Cologne: Sportverlag Strauss, 2006: 101Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Franchini E, Bertuzzi RCM, Takito MY, et al. Effects of recovery type after a judo match on blood lactate and performance in specific and non-specific judo tasks. Eur J Appl Physiol 2009; 107 (4): 377–83PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Burke LM, Cox GR. Nutrition in combat sports. In: Kordi R, Maffulli N, Wroble RR, et al., editors. Combat sports medicine. London: Springer, 2009: 1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Franchini E, Nunes AV, Moraes JM, et al. Physical fitness and anthropometrical profile of the Brazilian male judo team. J Physiol Anthropol 2007; 26: 59–67PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Farmosi I. Body-composition, somatotype and some motor performance of judoists. J Sports Med 1980; 20 (l): 431–4Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kawamura T, Asami T, Takeuchi Y, et al. An analysis of somatotypes and postures of judoists: in the case of Japanese and French judoists. Bull Assoc Sci Study Judo 1984; 6: 107–16Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Silva S, Moraes J, Pinto M, et al. Perfil morfológico de atletas brasileiros participantes dos Jogos Pan-Americanos de Winnepeg. XXII Simpósio Internacional de Ciências do Esporte Atividade Física: da comunidade ao alto rendimento. São Paulo, 1999: 130Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Claessens A, Beunen G, Wellens R, et al. Somatotype and body structure of world top judoists. Sports Med Phys Fitness 1987; 27 (1): 105–13Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Franchini E, Takito MY, Matheus L, et al. Composição corporal, somatotipo e força isométrica em atletas da seleção brasileira universita ria de judo. A mbito Med Desp 1997; 3 (3): 21–9Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Franchini E, Matsushigue KA, Kiss MAPDM, et al. Estudo de caso das mudanças fisiológicas e de desempenho de judocas do sexo feminino em preparação para os Jogos Pan- Americanos. Rev Bras Cienc Mov 2001; 9 (2): 21–7Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mello MV, Fernandes Filho J. Perfil dermatoglífico, somatotípico e de composição corporal de judocas brasileiras de alto rendimento. Fitness Perf J 2005; 3 (3): 340–50Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Enilina TA. Poverhnoszt tela u. tjazseloatletov. Teorija Prakt Fiz Kult 1966; 29 (4): 51–3Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lohman TG. Skinfolds and body density and their relation to body fatness: a review. Hum Biol 1981; 53: 181–225PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Thomas SG, Cox MH, LeGal YM, et al. Physiological profiles of the Canadian National Judo Team. Can J Sport Sci 1989; 14 (3): 142–7PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jackson AS, Pollock ML. Generalized equations for predicting body composition of men. Br J Nutr 1978; 40: 497–504PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Callister R, Callister RJ, Fleck SJ, et al. Physiological and performance responses to overtraining in elite judo athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1990; 22 (6): 816–24PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Callister R, Callister RJ, Staron RS, et al. Physiological characteristics of elite Judo athletes. Int J Sports Med 1991; 12: 196–203PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Drinkwater DT, Ross WD. Anthropometric fractionation of body mass. In: Ostyn M, Beunen G, Simons J, editors. Kinanthropometry II. Baltimore (MD): University Park Press, 1980: 177–89Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Little NG. Physical performance attributes of junior and senior women, juvenile, junior and senior men judokas. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 1991; 31: 510–20PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Slaughter MH, Lohman TG, Boileau RA, et al. Skinfold equations for estimation of body fatness in children and youth. Hum Biol 1988; 60 (5): 709–23PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Sterkowicz S, Zuchowicz A, Kubica R. Levels of anaerobic and aerobic capacity indices and results for the special judo fitness test in judo competitors. J Human Kinetics 1999; 21 (2): 115–35Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Franchini E, Takito MY, Bertuzzi RCM. Morphological, physiological and technical variables in high-level college judoists. Arch Budo 1 (1): 1–7Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lohman TG, Roche AF, Martorell R. Anthropometric standardization referencemanual. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1988Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Koury JC, Oliveira CF, Portella ES, et al. Effect of the period of resting in elite judo athletes. Biol Trace Elem Res 2005; 107 (3): 201–11PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Sertic H, Segedi I, Molanovic D. Anthropological and fitness status of Croatian judoists. Arch Budo 2006; 2 (1): 24–7Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Piechaczek H. Oznaczenie calkwitego tluszczu ciala metodami densytometryczna I antropometryczna. Mat I Prace Antrop 1975; 89: 3–4Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Obuchowicz-Fidelus B, Marchocka M, Majle B, et al. Anthropometric, strength and power characteristics of female kayak and judo athletes. Biol Sport 1986; 3 (1): 5–17Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Jackson AS, Pollock ML, Ward A. Generalized equations for predicting body composition of women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1980; 12: 175–82PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Koury JC, Lopes GC, Oliveira Jr AV, et al. Plasma zinc, copper, leptin, and body composition are associated in elite female judo athletes. Biol Trace Elem Res 2007; 115 (1): 23–30PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Sbriccoli P, Bazzucchi I, Di Mario A, et al. Assessment of maximal cardiorespiratory performance and muscle power in the Italian Olympic judoka. J Strength Cond Res 2007; 21 (3): 738–44PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Komi PV. Strength and power in sport. Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd, 2003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Fagerlund R, Hakkinen H. Strength profile of Finnish judoists: measurement and evaluation. Biol Sport 1991; 8 (3): 143–9Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Matsumoto Y, Ogawa S, Asami T, et al. A follow-up study of the physical fitness of judoists (report I and II). Bull Assoc Sci Study Judo 1972; 4: 1–26Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Claessens ALM, Beunen G, Lefevre J, et al. Body structure, somatotype, and motor fitness of top-class Belgian judoists. In: Day JAP, editor. Perspectives in kinanthropometry. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1984: 155–63Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Franchini E, Takito MY, Kiss MAPDM, et al. Physical fitness and anthropometrical differences between elite and non-elite judo players. Biol Sport 2005; 22: 315–28Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Heyward VH. Advanced fitness assessment and exercise prescription. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1997Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Fry AC, Newton RU. A brief history of strength training and basic principles and concepts. In: Kraemer WJ, Häkkinen K, editors. Strength training for sport. Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd., 2002: 1–19Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Leplanquais F, Cotinaud M, Lacouture P. Propositions pour une musculation spé cifique: exemple du judo. Ciné — siologie 1994; 34 (160): 80–6Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Blais L, Trilles F, Lacouture P. Validation of a specific machine to the strength training of judokas. J Strength Cond Res 2007; 21 (2): 409–12PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Taylor AW, Brassard L. A physiological profile of the Canadian Judo Team. J Sports Med 1981; 21: 160–4Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Tumilty DM, Hahn AG, Telford RD. A physiological profile of well-trained male judo players. In: Watkins J, Reilly T, Burwitz L, editors. VIII Commonwealth and International Conference on Sport, Physical Education, Dance, Recreation and Health 1986. London: E & F.N, 1986: 3–10Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Ichinose Y, Kanehisa H, Ito M, et al. Morphological and functional differences in the elbow extensor muscle between highly trained male and female athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol 1998; 78 (2): 109–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Kort HD, Hendriks ERHA. A comparison of selected isokinetic trunk strength parameters of elite male judo competitors and cyclists. J Orthop Sports Physio Therapy 1992; 16 (2): 92–6Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Ishiko T, Tomiki K. Characteristics of physical fitness of middle and old age judoists. Bull Assoc Sci Study Judo 1972; 4: 27–34Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Iida E, Nakajima T, Wakayama H, et al. Rating scales of fundamental physical fitness for college judoists: composition and application. In: National Judo Conference: International Research Symposium 1998 Sep 23; Colorado Springs (CO): USA Judo Inc., 1998: 12Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Franchini E, Del Vecchio FB, Romano R, et al. Performance responses to a periodized judo program. Annals of the 4th World Judo Research Symposium. Cairo: International Judo Federation, 2005: 24–5Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Krstulovic S, Zuvela F, Katic R. Biomotor systems in elite junior judoists. Coll Anthropol 2006; 30 (4): 315–21Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Glaister M. Multiple sprint work: physiological responses, mechanisms of fatigue and influence of aerobic fitness. Sports Med 2005; 35 (9): 757–77PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Green S, Dawson B. Measurement of anaerobic capacities in humans: definitions, limitations and unsolved problems. Sports Med 1993; 15 (5): 312–27PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Inbar O, Bar-Or O, Skinner J. The Wingate anaerobic test. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1996Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Bar-Or O. The Wingate anaerobic test: an update on methodology, reliability and validity. Sports Med 1987; 4: 381–94PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Koutedakis Y, Sharp NCC. A modified Wingate test for measuring anaerobic work of the upper body in junior rowers. Br J Sports Med 1986; 20 (4): 153–6PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Mickiewitz G, Starczenska J, Borkowski L. Judo, ovvero sforzo breve di grande intensita`. Athlon 1991; 4: 42–6Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Sharp NCC, Koutedakis Y. Anaerobic power and capacity measurements of the upper body in elite judo players, gymnasts and rowers. Australian J Sci Med Sport 1987; 19 (3): 9–13Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Maud P, Shultz BB. Norms for the Wingate anaerobic test with comparison to another similar test. Res Q Exerc Sport 1989; 60 (2): 144–51PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Terbizan DJ, Seljevold PJ. Physiological profile of age-group wrestlers. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 1996; 36 (3): 178–85PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Falk B, Bar-Or O. Longitudinal changes in peak aerobic and anaerobic mechanical power of circumpubertal boys. Pediatric Exerc Sci 1993; 5: 318–31Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Nindl BC, Mahar MT, Harman EA, et al. Lower and upper body anaerobic performance in male and female adolescent athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1995; 27 (1): 235–41PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Inbar O, Bar-Or O. Anaerobic characteristics inmale children and adolescents. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1986; 18 (3): 264–9PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Blimkie CJ, Roache P, Hay JT, et al. Anaerobic power of arms in teenage boys and girls: relationship to lean tissue. Eur J App Physiol Occup Physiol 1988; 57: 667–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Gariod L, Favre-Juvin A, Novel V, et al. Evaluation du profit energetique des judokas par spectroscopie RMN du P31. Sci Sports 1995; 10 (4): 201–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Wojczuk J, Wojcieszak I, Zdanowicz R. Anaerobic work capacity in athletes. Biol Sport 1984; 1 (2): 119–30Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Borkowsky J, Faff J, Starczewska-Czapowska J. Evaluation of the aerobic and anaerobic fitness in judoists from the Polish national team. Biol Sport 2001; 18: 107–11Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Franchini E, Teixeira S, Vecchio FB, et al. Potência aeróbia e anaeróbia para membros superiores e inferiores em judocas. III Congreso de la Asociación Espan ola de Ciencias del Deporte, 2004 [compact disk]. Valencia: Gra ficas Mari Montan ana, S.L., 2004Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Horswill CA, Miller JE, Scott JR, et al. Anaerobic and aerobic power in arms and legs of elite senior wrestlers. Int J Sports Med 1992; 13 (8): 558–61PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Frings-Dresen M, Eterradossi J, Favre-Juvin A. Puissances maximales aérobie, anaérobie alactique et force musculaire isométrique des skieurs alpins, skiurs de fond et judokas. Med Sport 1987; 61 (2): 98–102Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Carratala V, Pablos C, Carqués L, et al. Valoracion de la fuerza explosiva, ela stico-explosiva de los judokas infantiles y cadetes del equipo nacional espan ol [online]. Available from URL: [Accessed 2004 Nov 5]
  70. 70.
    Pujadas A, Collazo Garay BC, Rodriguez Leal EA. Aptitud anaerobia en deportistas de combate del sexo femenino. Rev Int Meda Cienc Actividad Fís Dep 2005; 19: 283–94Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Tomlin DL, Wenger HA. The relationships between aerobic fitness, power maintenance and oxygen consumption during intense intermittent exercise. J Sci Med Sport 2002; 5 (3): 194–203PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Castarlenas JL, Solé J. El entrenamiento de la resistencia en los deportes de lucha com agarre: una propuesta integradora. Apunts: Educ Fís Deportes 1997; 1 (47): 81–6Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Franchini E, Takito MY, Nakamura FY, et al. Influência da aptidão aeróbia sobre o desempenho em uma tarefa anaeróbia la ctica intermitente. Motriz 1999; 5 (1): 58–66Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Muramatsu S, Horiyasu T, Sato Si, et al. The relationship between aerobic capacity and peak power during intermittent anaerobic exercise of judo athletes. Bull Assoc Sci Study Judo 1994; 8: 151–60Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Gorostiaga EM. Coste energético del combate de judo. Apunts: Educ Fís Deportes 1988; 25: 135–9Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Ebine K, Yoneda I, Hase H, et al. Physiological characteristics of exercise and findings of laboratory tests in Japanese elite judo athletes. Med Sport 1991; 65 (2): 73–9Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Ikai M, Haga S, Kaneko M. The characteristics of physical fitness of judoists from the viewpoint of respiratory and cardiovascular functions. Bull Assoc Sci Study Judo 1972; 4: 43–52Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Sugiyama M. Energy expenditure of throwing techniques in judo. IJF Judo Conference; 1999 Sep 1; Birmingham. Birmingham: International Judo Federation, 1999: 14Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Oh JK, Han SC, Shin YO, et al. Genotypes of ACE and ApoE, cardiorespiratory fitness and blood lipid profile in elite judo players. In: Koskoulou M, Geladas N, Klissouras V, editors. Book of abstracts of the 7th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science 2002. Athens: European College of Sport Science, 2002: 366Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Majean H, Gaillat ML. é tude de lacide lactique sanguin chez le judoka en fonction des méthodes dentrainement. Med Sport 1986; 60 (4): 194–203Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Suay F, Salvador A, Gonzalez-Bono E, et al. Effects of competition and its outcome on serum testosterone, cortisol and prolactin. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1999; 24 (5): 551–66PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Salvador A, Suay F, Gonzalez-Bono E, et al. Anticipatory cortisol, testosterone and psychological responses to judo competition in young men. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2003; 28 (3): 364–75PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    Degoutte F, Jouanel P, Filaire E. Mise em évidence de la sollicitation du cycle des purines nucléotides lors dun combat de judo. Sci Sports 2004; 19: 28–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. 84.
    Cottin F, Durbin F, Papelier Y. é tude comparative de lanalyse spectrale de la fréquence cardiaque au cours de lexercice sur ergocycle et de lentrainement en judo. Sci Sports 2001; 16 (6): 295–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. 85.
    Bonitch J, Ramirez J, Femia P, et al. Validating the relation between heart rate and perceived exertion in a judo competition. Med dello Sport 2005; 58: 23–8Google Scholar
  86. 86.
    Vidalin H, Dubreuil C, Coudert J. Judokas ceinture noire. Suivi physiologique: é tudes biomé trique et bioénergé tiquésuvi de lentrainement Med Sport 1988; 62 (4): 184–9Google Scholar
  87. 87.
    Ahmaidi S, Portero P, Calmet M, et al. Oxygen uptake and cardiorespiratory responses during selected fighting techniques in judo and kendo. Sports Med Train Rehab 1999; 9 (2): 129–39Google Scholar
  88. 88.
    Franchini E, Yuri Takito M, Nakamura FY, et al. Effects of recovery type after a judo combat on blood lactate removal and on performance in an intermittent anaerobic task. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2003; 43 (4): 424–31PubMedGoogle Scholar
  89. 89.
    Wilmore DL, Costill JH. Physiology of sport and exercise. 2nd edition. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1999Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emerson Franchini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fabrício B. Del Vecchio
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karin A. Matsushigue
    • 1
  • Guilherme G. Artioli
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Martial Arts and Combat Sports Research Group, School of Physical Education and SportUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Superior School of Physical EducationFederal University of PelotasPelotasBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratory of Applied Nutrition and Metabolism, School of Physical Education and SportUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

Personalised recommendations