Physiological profiles of elite judo athletes

Sports Med. 2011 Feb 1;41(2):147-66. doi: 10.2165/11538580-000000000-00000.


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 50-55 mL/kg/min for male and 40-45 mL/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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
  • Athletes*
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Martial Arts / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Young Adult