Background: The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of mental training on muscular force generation, hormonal alterations, and physiological adaptations in male trained kickboxers.
Methods: Fifty-three male trained kickboxers (24.2±4.4 years, 1.75±0.08 m and 70.4±10.2 kg) were randomly assigned to a physical-training group (PG; N.=20), physical and mental training group (PMG: N.=18, mental-training package [MTP] plus physical training] or control group (CG: N.=15). Physical fitness tests: countermovement jump (CMJ), medicine ball throw (MBT), bench press, and half-squat tests; hormones: resting cortisol (C) blood sample, plasma testosterone (T) concentration, and T/C ratio; and physiological variables: resting heart rate (HR), and blood pressure (BP) were assessed before training commenced (baseline) and at week 6 and 12 of training.
Results: PMG and PG improved performance in CMJ height (16.2%, 8.4%), MBT (27.9%, 14.2%), bench press (26.5%, 15.7%), half-squat (27.2%, 16.3%), T concentration (35.2%, 22.4%), and T/C ratio (60%, 0%, for PMG only), respectively. In contrast, the C concentration decreased for the PMG (16.3%) and increased for the PG (22%) after 12 weeks. The PMG and PG had significant decrease from pre- to post-training for the resting HR (9.1%, 3%, respectively) and BP (8.5%, 5.3%, respectively). Furthermore, there was a significant increase in MBT (9.3%) after 6 weeks in PMG. Outlined improvements (PMG and PG) were favorable compared to CG (P<0.05) in all instances.
Conclusions: The greater muscular force generation in PMG than PG seem to be explained by the reduction of hormonal and physiological stress after 12 weeks.