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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2012 June;171(3):323-30


language: English

Effect of practicing karate on the anthropometrical indices and physical fitness in northeastern Brazilian male adolescents

Thiago Carneiro De Castro F. 1, Lima C. E. S. 1, Robson Bezerra De Sousa A. 1, Rodrigues Da Silva J. W. R. 1, Sales Freire F. D. 1, Aguiar Dos Santos A. 2, Tolentino Bento Da Silva M. 1, 2

1 Physical Education, Faculty INTA/Sobral-CE, Brazil; 2 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceara, Fortaleza, Brazil


Aim. Many children and adolescents are increasingly searching for martial arts such as judo, jujitsu, taekwondo and karate over the recent years, various motives being a source of attraction. However, scientific literature on how these activities are capable of improving physical fitness in adolescents remains scarce. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of anthropometrical and physical fitness in adolescents practicing karate.
Methods. The study consisted of twenty-eight adolescents with a mean age of 14.5 years, divided into two groups of 16 sedentary teens and 12 karate-practicing ones. We evaluated anthropometric parameters of weight, height, BMI, and skin-folds of the pectoris region, subscapular, abdominal and thigh as well. To study the physical qualities attributed to cardiorespiratory fitness, we utilized the Cooper-test (12min) to evaluate the RML (testing the head and crunch supporting force), the explosive strength parameters (vertical and horizontal jump), the maximum force of upper limbs using the handgrip strength-test and agility by the use of the ‘shuttle-run’ test.
Results. In relation to the observed anthropometric parameters (weight, BMI and the sum of the skin-folds), karate-practicing adolescents had significantly lower values (P<0.05) when compared to sedentary adolescents. On the other hand, we observed significant increments (P<0.001) in distance and VO2max values of active adolescents when compared to sedentary counterparts. In relation to muscular endurance tested by bending and supporting of abdominal muscles, karate-practicing adolescents showed significantly higher values (P<0.001) as compared to sedentary individuals. Contrastingly, we observed no significant changes in handgrip strength, vertical jump and horizontal or agility between the two groups.
Conclusion. We conclude that the regular practice of karate in adolescents is capable of promoting improvements in parameters related to nutritional status and cardiorespiratory fitness in addition to beneficial adaptations related to muscular endurance.

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