Physiological characteristics of elite judo athletes

Int J Sports Med. 1991 Apr;12(2):196-203. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1024667.


In order to provide some understanding of the physiological capacities underlying successful judo performance, representative values for a variety of physiological variables were determined in nationally ranked male (n = 18) and female (n = 9) judo athletes. Body composition, aerobic capacity, isokinetic elbow and knee flexor and extensor strength, and muscle fiber size and composition of the vastus lateralis were examined. Comparisons across weight divisions indicate that the values of many characteristics varied as a function of size. As weight division increased, relative VO2 decreased (r = -0.53 and -0.63 for males and females, respectively), % body fat increased (r = 0.64, 0.72), and the cross sectional areas of Type I (r = 0.55, 0.77) and Type IIA (r = 0.47, = 0.76) muscle fibers increased. Among females in particular, athletes in the higher weight divisions were stronger relative to LBM than those in the lower division. These results indicate that the physiological profiles of lower and upper weight division elite judo players differ markedly. It is suggested that the factors responsible for success may be specific to each weight division and may represent a compromise between making weight and maximizing physiological capacities and performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adult
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Weight
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Martial Arts*
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscles / anatomy & histology
  • Sex Factors