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    No correlation between judo-specific fitness test and Wingate anaerobic power test

    Cichorei Kano

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    No correlation between judo-specific fitness test and Wingate anaerobic power test

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:14 am

    I have been an outspoken critic of what is called the "Judo-specific fitness test", an exercise developed in Poland as a supposed relevant testing exercise for one's judo fitness.

    An article which is currently in press but of which the Abstract is already available in Archives of Budo, now shows that there is no significant correlation between the results obtained by judoka having their anaerobic fitness evaluated in a classical Wingate tast and in this Judo-specific fitness test.

    This is also logical, if one comes to think about it. The Judo-specific fitness test makes use of ippon-seoi-nage as a technical movement. When you measure frequency or other components in 10 judoka after performing ippon-seoi-nage, you can't conclude that you have solid data on their fitness, because a large part of your outcome is taken up not by fitness but by differences in technical skill in performing ippon-seoi-nage. The differences in energetic requirements for a single throw are significantly different between people. A seoi-nage specialist can likely perform seoi-nage dozens of times with relatively little effort, yet someone who struggles with the throw will have to put in a lot more energy. In other words, if for example, you change the exercise and instead use a different throw, the outcome may be very different and the person who appeared less fit in the seoi-nage-based exercise may now be the fitter one in an ô-soto-gari exercise.

    Most people in judo have no idea how energetically inefficient judo throws really are. Well-skilled judo champions usually reach an energetic efficiency that is only 25-30% in their throws. That means that mean mortals typically have an even much lower energetic efficiency. Differences in energetic efficiency obviously also exist in a classical Wingate test. A professional cyclist reaches a much higher efficiency than a random sporter when put on a bike. This especially true when getting fatigued. Less experienced people tend to make more unnecessary sideways movements when starting to get in trouble and in this way easily lose 30-40% of energetic efficiency. But still, if this is the same stationary bike, the exercise is pretty much set, so is the trajectory of the pedals, etc. In seoi-nage the difference between two people performing this same throw is much larger than the difference in cycling between two people put on an indentical bike. This is very important, because the authors in their conclusion point out that the Wingate test most likely does not have enough specificity to make an adequate evaluation of the anaerobic capacity of judoka, which in itself is someone odd in the light of the Judo-specific fitness test possibly having some relevance as far as ippon-seoi-nage is concerned, but very little in real-life judo especially for judoka who are not skilled in or who simply do not perform seoi-nage.

    There are dozens of other serious problems with regard to the Judo Fitness Test. For one two judo contests typically differ much more from each other as two bike races. In a bike race, apart from environmental conditions (rain, wind, temperature), terrain is about the only variable, if we assume that we are steadily cycling to get as fast as possible from A to B (in reality, yes, there may be sudden accelerations, etc). But in a judo contest, the rhythm is totally different depending on the opponent, and his specialities, gripping and way of working. For that reason the number possibilities are infinite, and has nothing to do with X number of repetitions of a throw in an uchi-komi-like exercise. There is only one way to obtain relevant judo fitness information and that is to equip a judoka with mobile oxygen/CO2 analyzing equipment during actual judo his style, which is what we showed back in 1997. You then have realistic judo in terms of displacement, choice of throws, efficiency of various throws etc. Is it perfect ?  No, far from, because the fitness shown in judo randori 1, may have been sufficient for that bout but not for another bout or take a whole different trajectory with maximal oxygen consumption or lactate accumulation much quickly, as this is going to be partly determined not just by your own frequency of attacks, but by what kind of strategy your opponent is forcing you into.

    The full reference of the study is:

    Szmuchrowski L.A., et al.: Correlation between the performance in the Special Judo Fitness Test and the Wingate Anaerobic Test. Arch Budo 9, 3: 173-177, 2013.

    Only, the abstract so far is avaible:

    Background and Study Aim: To characterise the energy demands of judo, researchers have verified the relevant contribution of anaerobic energy supply to athletes during fights. To evaluate anaerobic capacity, the Wingate Anaerobic Test (WAnT) was developed, which is based on the use of the lower and upper limbs. Sterkowicz created the Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT), which consists of a repeated execution of the “ippon-seoi-nage”. A comparison between the results of these tests allows a verification of the validity of the utilisation of WAnT as a predictor of specific performances in judo. The aim of this study was to correlate the results between WAnT and SJFT for the lower and upper limbs.
    Material and Methods: Nineteen professional Brazilian judo athletes (mean age 19.16 ± 2.06 yrs, mean body mass 88.24 ± 26.50 kg and mean height 1.76 ± 0.10 m) participated in the study. The athletes underwent both the SJFT and the WAnT for upper and lower limbs.
    Results: A significant correlation between the SJFT and WAnT results was not observed for the upper and lower limbs. There was a statistically significant correlation between the number of throws in the third set of SJFT (30”B) and the average power in WAnT for the upper limbs; however, the correlation was weak.
    Conclusions: Because of the lack of a significant correlation between the indicators of the SJFT, the WAnT most likely does not have enough specificity to make an adequate evaluation of the anaerobic capacity of judokas.


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    Re: No correlation between judo-specific fitness test and Wingate anaerobic power test

    Post by Michael-H on Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:42 am

    You are right of course in that an unspecific rather silly test measures nothing in particular. And Szmuchrowsky and co-authors show that it isn't an anaerobic test, which is what I would expect. It goes on for long enough and the intensity is low enough that there is probably a significant aerobic component. As well as the technical component you mention.

    As for measuring energy expenditure as oxygen consumption and CO2 production during randori as a measure of fitness I would be very sceptical. It would seem much more reliabe to use well validated tests of the different energy systems, strength, and anaerobic threshold etc to monitor fitness. You could then easily compare this to some intensity measure during fights (heart rate for ex.) to identify the most important reason for fatigue in the individual athlete. But that's just me.

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