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Interval training and martial artists

Impressive anaerobic adaptations in elite karate athletes due to few intensive intermittent sessions added to regular karate training.

Ravier G, Dugué B, Grappe F, Rouillon JD. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2008 Aug 5.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of adding a high-intensity intermittent session twice a week during a 7-week karate training (KT) on markers of aerobic and anaerobic metabolisms in elite class karate athletes.

Methods: Two groups were studied: a KT group (n=8, age 20.1+/-0.9 years, 70.0+/-8.8 kg) that followed traditional KT, and a group that followed combined traditional karate and a high-intensity intermittent training (HIT group, n=9, age 24.4+/-3.1 years, 67.0+/-7.8 kg). The subjects undertook a supramaximal exercise and a maximal oxygen uptake test before and after the training. Blood lactate, pH and plasma ammonia were determined at rest, immediately at the end of the supramaximal exercise and during the recovery period at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 15 min.

Results: After the training period, no changes occurred in the KT group. However, in the HIT group, the time to exhaustion, MAOD and in the maximal oxygen uptake test were significantly improved by 23.6%, 10.3% and 4.6%, respectively. A clear-cut discrepancy was observed in the time course of lactate and pH in the supramaximal test after the training in the HIT group. We observed a significantly higher peak for lactate and a lower extreme value for pH with a shorter delay of appearance. At the end of the test, the lactate concentration increased significantly (+53.7%) and pH declined significantly, when compared with the values obtained after the same test before the training period. Ammonia was not influenced.

Conclusions: The addition of high-intensity intermittent sessions twice per week during the period of KT induced beneficial physiological adaptations in athletes, allowing improvement in the duration of intense physical exercise before a state of fatigue is reached.

Some thoughts:

Really nothing-new here that we don’t already know or that I haven’t already talked about in past entries. I thought that it would be nice to throw this up in the blog since there are so many people these days that train in MMA or other types of “combat sports”. They always seem to be coming onto the forum and asking how they should train, what they should be doing, or IF they should be training at all! Obviously, doing the whole long slow endurance thing that boxers used to do is now a thing of the past. It would be a waste of time to throw on the old running suit and head out for a 5 or 6 mile run 3x’s a week, as we now know that this type of training can deter from out anaerobic endurance and power (not good if we want to avoid getting kicked in the head!). Besides, interval work has been shown to concomitantly increase both anaerobic and aerobic abilities at the same time. Even with as little frequency as twice a week, as used in this study, the beneficial properties were evident.

Hope this gives you some ideas when you head to the gym after your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu session!