Kung fu training improves physical fitness measures in overweight/obese adolescents: the "martial fitness" study

J Obes. 2010:2010:672751. doi: 10.1155/2010/672751. Epub 2010 Jun 7.


Aim. To examine the efficacy of a six-month Kung Fu (KF) program on physical fitness in overweight/obese adolescents. Methods. Subjects were randomly assigned to the KF or sham exercise (Tai Chi, TC) control group. Physical measurements in cardiovascular fitness and muscle fitness occurred at baseline and after 6 months of training thrice weekly. Results. Twenty subjects were recruited. One subject was lost to follow-up, although overall compliance to the training sessions was 46.7 +/- 27.8%. At follow-up, the cohort improved in absolute upper (P = .002) and lower (P = .04) body strength, and upper body muscle endurance (P = .02), without group differences. KF training resulted in significantly greater improvements in submaximal cardiovascular fitness (P = .03), lower body muscle endurance (P = .28; significant 95% CI: 0.37-2.49), and upper body muscle velocity (P = .03) relative to TC training. Conclusions. This short-term KF program improved submaximal cardiovascular fitness, lower body muscle endurance, and muscle velocity, in overweight/obese adolescents with very low baseline fitness.