Sports Special Issue Research article
STUDY OF PHYSIOLOGICAL PROFILE OF INDIAN BOXERS
Laboratory, Sports Authority of India, J. N. S., New Delhi, India
2Department of Physiology, Janaki Medical College, Janakpur, Nepal
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2006) 5 (CSSI), 90
Google Scholar for Citing Articles
|The present study was conducted to study the morphological, physiological
and biochemical characteristics of Indian National boxers as well
as to assess the cardiovascular adaptation to graded exercise and
actual boxing round. Two different studies were conducted. In the
first study [N = 60, (junior boxers below-19 yrs, n = 30), (senior
boxers-20-25 yrs, n = 30)] different morphological, physiological
and biochemical parameters were measured. In the second study (N =
21, Light Weight category- <54 kg, n = 7; Medium weight category
<64 kg, n = 7 and Medium heavy weight category <75 kg, n = 7)
cardiovascular responses were studied during graded exercise protocol
and actual boxing bouts. Results showed a significantly higher (p
< 0.05) stature, body mass, LBM, body fat and strength of back
and grip in senior boxers compared to juniors. Moreover, the senior
boxers possessed mesomorphic body conformation where as the juniors'
possessed ectomorphic body conformation. Significantly lower (p <
0.05) aerobic capacity and anaerobic power were noted in junior boxers
compared to seniors. Further, significantly higher (p < 0.05) maximal
heart rates and recovery heart rates were observed in the seniors
as compared to the juniors. Significantly higher maximum heart rates
were noted during actual boxing compared to graded exercise. Blood
lactate concentration was found to increase with the increase of workload
during both graded exercise and actual boxing round. The senior boxers
showed a significantly elevated (p < 0.05) levels of hemoblobin,
blood urea, uric acid and peak lactate as compared to junior boxers.
In the senior boxers significantly lower levels of total cholesterol,
triglyceride and LDLC were observed as compared to junior boxers.
No significant change has been noted in HDLC between the groups. The
age and level of training in boxing has significant effect on Aerobic,
anaerobic component. The study of physiological responses during graded
exercise testing may be helpful to observe the cardiovascular adaptation
WORDS: Body composition, heart rate, VO2max, anaerobic
power, lactate, lipid profiles.
| Boxing is an intermittent sport characterized by short duration,
high intensity bursts of activity. It requires significant anaerobic
fitness, and operates within a well-developed aerobic system. Boxing
is estimated to be 70-80% anaerobic and 20-30% aerobic (Ghosh et al.,
Boxing's work and rest ratio is approximately 3:1. The rule of the
amateur boxing has been changed from 3 × 3 round to 2 ×
5 round in 1990 world championship competition, and then 4 x 2 rounds
with one minute of rest pause in between each bout. The nature of
boxing requires athletes to sustain power at a high percentage of
maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) (often above lactate threshold,
producing high levels of blood lactate leading to premature fatigue).
The primary aim of conditioning for boxing is to delay the onset of
fatigue by increasing tolerance of lactic acid build-up, increasing
the ATP and CP, to improve efficiency of oxygen use, and to improve
recovery between intense bursts of activity (Guidetti et al., 2002)
Few studies have been reported in the literature about the cardiovascular
and metabolic demands of boxing (Khanna et al., 1992,
Ghosh et al., 1995).
Previous studies on Indian boxers concentrated mainly on body composition,
muscle strength, aerobic capacity, and anaerobic power of Indian Boxers
(Ghosh et al., 1995;
Khanna et al., 1992,
Singh et al., 2003).
Few investigations into the biochemical parameters of Indian boxers
(Garg et al., 1985)
have been conducted. Therefore, the present work focused on the morphological,
physiological and biochemical characteristics of Indian National boxers
as well as to assess the cardiovascular adaptation to graded exercise
and actual boxing round.
the present study, a total of 60 male (age range 15-25 yr) boxers
of Indian National Camp participated in the study. Participants
were divided into 2 groups (i) junior boxers-below 19 yrs (JB, n
= 30), (ii) senior boxers-20 yrs and above (SB, n = 30). Different
morphological, physiological and biochemical parameters were measured
in each group.
of morphological parameters
Body mass was measured with the accurately calibrated electronic
scale (Seca Alpha 770, UK) to the nearest 0.1 kg and stature with
a stadiometer (Seca 220, UK) recorded to the nearest 0.1 cm. Body
density was estimated from the sum of the four skin-fold sites (Durnin
and Womersley, 1947),
and percentage body fat was calculated by using equation of (Siri,
Somatotype body configuration was done computed following Heath
and Carter's method. Grip and back strength were measured by dynamometers
(India Medico Instruments, India) (Jonson and Nelson, 1996).
of physiological parameters
Treadmill (Jaeger LE 500; Jaeger, Germany) tests were performed
at 0% gradient to determine the cardiovascular status of the players
during sub maximal and maximal exercise. Heart rate responses during
rest, exercise and recovery were noted every 5 sec. using a heart
rate monitor (Polar, Finland). The maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max)
was measured following standard methodology (Astrand and Rodahl,
The participant was asked to run on the treadmill at a speed of
6 km·h-1 for 2 min. thereafter, the workload was
increased by 2 km·h-1 for every 2 min until volitional
exhaustion. Expired gases were sampled breath-by-breath and measured
from a mixing chamber using computerized respiratory gas analyzer
(Oxycon Champion, Germany).
Anaerobic power was measured using a cycle ergometer (Jaeger LE
900; Jaeger, Germany) (Inbar et al., 1996).
After a 10 min warm up the participant was asked to pedal as fast
as possible without resistance. Within 3 sec a fixed resistance
of 0.075 kg per kg body mass was applied to the flywheel and the
participant continues to peddle "all out" for 30 sec.
A computerized counter continuously records flywheel revolutions
in 5 sec intervals. Anaerobic power was measured using the software
supplied by Jaeger, Germany.
Participants were informed about the possible hazards of the study.
Each test was scheduled at a similar time of day (± 1 hr)
in order to minimize the effect of diurnal fluctuation. Participants
were advised not to engage in strenuous activities two days before
an exercise test and not to exercise on the day of the test. Individuals
were requested to maintain their normal diet. All the tests were
under taken following the guidelines of American College of Cardiology
of biochemical parameters
A 5 ml of venous blood was drawn from an antecubital vein after
a 12 hour fast and 24 hour after the last bout of exercise. Hemoglobin
(Hb), urea and uric acid were measured following standard methodology
Total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG) and high-density lipoprotein
cholesterol (HDLC) were determined by enzymatic method using Boehringer
Mannhein kit (Mukharjee, 1997).
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC) was calculated from a
standard equation (Friedewald et al., 1972).
Arterialized samples were obtained from fingertip and under ideal
conditions; this provides good approximation of arterial lactate
concentration. Blood samples were analyzed immediately by a lactate
analyzer (YSI Sport 1500, USA) using the YSI lactate kit. Special
care was taken to prevent contamination from sweat and to enhance
a second study, 21 male (age range 15-19 yr) boxers of Indian Junior
National Camp participated. Participants were divided into 3 weight
categories (i) Light weight (48-54 kg, n = 7 included Boxers of light
fly, fly and bantam weight), (ii) medium weight (55-64 kg, n = 7;
feather,light and light welter weight), (iii) medium heavy (65-75
kg n = 7 Welter and middle weight category) respectively. The anthropometric
and physiological responses to graded exercise were estimated following
The exercise test was divided into three test protocols. First and
second protocols were carried out in the laboratory, where as the
third protocol was performed during the practice session.
protocol: The participant was asked to run on the treadmill
(Jaeger 500, Germany) at a speed of 6 km·h-1 at 0% gradient
for 2 min thereafter, the workload was increased by 2 km·h-1
for every 2 min. until volitional exhaustion. Heart rate responses
during rest, exercise and recovery were noted every 5 sec using
a heart rate monitor (Polar, Finland). Blood sample was taken 2
min after the cessation of exercise to evaluate the peak lactate
protocol: This comprised a warm up for 2 min at 8 km·h-1
speed followed by a graded exercise protocol was performed on the
treadmill (Jaeger 500, Germany) to determine the heart rate responses
to graded exercise so as to find out the sub-maximal responses of
cardiovascular system. The test protocols were subdivided into 3
grades: (i) grade I- at 12 km·h-1 speed and 2% inclination;
(ii) grade II- at 14 km·h-1 speed and 4% inclination; grade
III- at 16 km·h-1 speed and 6% inclination respectively.
In every grade, 2 min of exercise was performed following 1 min
rest, hence similar to actual competition. Heart rate was measured
after warm up, at the end of 2 min graded exercise and during 1
min rest pause. Blood samples were taken during the rest period
to determine the blood lactate concentration.
protocol: Heart rate and blood lactate responses of the boxers
during actual bouts were measured during selection competitive trials.
Each bout was performed for 2 minutes with a rest pause of 1 minute
in between. Heart rate was measured at the end of 2 minutes bout
and during 1 minute rest pause. Blood sample was collected immediately
after each bout and blood lactate concentration was measured.
Data were presented as mean and standard deviation (±SD).
Two-tail t-test was used to determine the significant differences
of means in each parameter between the junior and senior boxing
groups. ANOVA followed by multiple two-tail t-tests with Bonferroni
modification was employed to find out the significant difference
between the weights categories. Differences were considered significant
when p < 0.05. (Das and Das, 1998).
Accordingly, a statistical software package (SPSS-10) was used.
of the present study showed a significantly higher stature, body
mass, LBM and body fat in the senior boxers as compared to junior
boxers. Significantly higher endomorphy and mesomorphy values were
noted in senior players as compared to juniors. Moreover, a significantly
higher ectomorphy body conformation was noted in junior boxers as
compared to senior boxers. In addition, significantly (p < 0.001)
higher strength of back and grips were noted in senior players compared
to juniors (Table 1). The anaerobic
power and aerobic capacity showed significantly higher values in
senior boxers as compared to junior boxers. Further, significantly
heart rates were noted during maximal exercise and recovery in senior
boxers compared to junior boxers (Table
Significantly higher values were noted in hemoglobin, serum urea
and uric acid in senior boxers as compared to junior boxers. However,
the junior players showed significantly higher values in total cholesterol,
triglyceride and LDLC as compared to senior players. No significant
difference was noted in HDLC between the groups. On the other hand,
senior boxers showed a significantly higher peak lactate value than
junior boxers (Table 3).
significant increase (p < 0.05) of body mass was noted among
the groups. Significantly higher (p < 0.05) LBM, grip (right
hand) and back strength were noted in medium Weight Category and
medium heavy as compared to Light Weight Category (Table
4). No significant differences were noted in age, stature, body
fat, flexibility and grip strength of left hand within the groups.
No significant difference was found in resting heart rate, maximal
heart rate and recovery heart rates amongst the groups. Further,
significantly higher (p < 0.05) resting lactate was noted in
medium weight Category when compared with light Weight Category.
Peak lactate was found to be significantly higher (p < 0.05)
in medium heavy weight category as compared to light and medium
weight category boxers (Table 5).
When comparing graded exercise with actual boxing rounds, significantly
higher (p < 0.05) heart rates were observed in first and second
round and during recovery in all the rounds in Light Weight Category
Boxers. Similar observations were noted in medium Weight Category
boxers. However, in medium heavy Weight Category boxers no significant
difference was noted in exercise heart rate and heart rate during
actual boxing round. On the other hand significantly higher (p <
0.05) heart rates were observed during recovery, when comparing
graded exercise with actual boxing round in medium heavy Weight
Category Boxers. Moreover, significantly higher heart rate was noted
during first graded of exercise in medium heavy Weight Category
when compared with Light Weight Category and medium Weight Category
(Table 6). Significantly higher
(p < 0.05) blood lactate was noted in medium heavy Weight Category
boxers during graded exercise as well as during actual boxing round
when compared to Light Weight Category and medium Weight Category
boxers (Table 7).
the ancient times, it has been believed that a suitable physique
is important to achieve success in particular sports (Powers and
Judging the performance of the human body by its size, shape and
form has been a topic of great concern. In the present day of tough
competition, when scientific principles are applied for training
of athletes, the size, the shape and the form of the body coupled
with its efficiency in performance have been given more importance
especially from the point of view of identifying, selecting and
developing the talent in sports (Khanna et al., 1992;
Reilly et al., 1990).
Recent researches in this field of sports sciences have clearly
established that various physical activities demand different body
size and proportions that is why top level sports men of different
sportive events have been found to possess different physique and
morphologic characteristics (Singh et al., 2003).
Stature and body mass have significant impact on elite boxers. Senior
boxers possess higher stature, body mass, lean body mass and body
fat compared to junior boxers. Further, the senior players showed
a mesomorphic body conformation. However, the junior players showed
body conformation towards ectomorphy. The estimation of body composition
permits the quantification of gross size of an individual into two
major structural components namely fat mass and lean body mass (Durnin
and Womersley, 1947;
This accurate appraisal provides an important baseline to develop
an effective training program.
The body composition especially in an athlete is a better guide
for determining the desirable weight rather than using the standard
height-weight-age table of normal population due to the presence
of high proportions of muscular content their total body composition
(Beunen and Malina, 1988;
Reilly et al., 1990).
In addition, body fat plays an important role for the assessment
of physical fitness of the players. Further, significantly higher
strength of back and grip were noted in senior players compared
to juniors. As boxing is a combat sports, many activities are forceful
and explosive (e. g. punches, movements, changing pace etc.). The
power output during
such activities is related to the strength of the muscles involved
in the movements. Thus, it might also diminish the risk of injury
(Reilly et al., 1990).
Moreover, grip and back strength also have significant impact on
the performance. The higher levels of back and grip strength in
the senior players may be due to their higher body mass and high
level strength training compared to the junior boxers. Similarly
in the second study, the higher level of back and grip strength
in medium weight Category and medium heavy weight Category boxers
as compared to light weight category boxers may be due to higher
The anaerobic power in Indian boxers showed significantly higher
values in senior boxers as compared to junior boxers. In addition,
senior boxers showed significantly higher peak lactate level compared
to the junior players. However, no significant difference was noted
in the resting lactate level among the groups. However, significant
difference in blood lactate was noted in medium Weight Category
and C when compared to Light Weight Category separately during graded
exercise and during actual boxing rounds. High lactic acid concentration
in the blood reflects the anaerobic metabolism and the degree of
training intensity. When the intensity of the activity increases,
production of lactic acid in the muscle becomes high, resulting
in high lactic acid accumulation in blood leading to fatigue. The
higher level of anaerobic power in the senior players may be due
to exposure to high level of anaerobic training than the junior
players. By training the lactic acid system, the athlete delays
the onset of fatigue by increasing tolerance to lactic acid build-up.
While the lactic acid system is most important in to boxing, training
the ATP-CP system also has benefits, such as increasing the body's
stores of phospho-creatine and delaying the pre-mature use of the
lactic system. Training this system requires shorter interval periods
(Powers and Howley, 2000).
Training programme places great emphasis on the anaerobic pathways.
The Indian boxers included a form of interval running with less
work/rest ratio involved, intervals matching the duration of a round
(2 or 3 min), with a 1 min rest period. Intervals of this nature
train the anaerobic lactic acid system, while also providing aerobic
benefits. Boxing training program included situational exercises,
lasting 30-60 sec for 6-8 sets, while sparring.
Not only the anerobic capacity but also the aerobic demand of present
2 × 4 rounds of boxing has also increased (Ghosh et al., 1995).
The average VO2max of present elite boxers was observed
to be 54.6
and 61.7 ml·kg-1·min-1 in Indian
junior and senior boxers respectively. Similar study on elite Indian
boxers showed VO2max value of 54.5 ml·kg-1·min-1
(Ghosh et al., 1995).
Moreover, some other study observed VO2max of 55.8 ml·kg-1·min-1
in Greek national boxers, 56.6 ml·kg-1·min-1
in Hungarian boxers and 64.7 ml·kg-1·min-1
in French boxers (Ghosh et al., 1995).
Heart rate increases with an increase in work intensity and shows
linear relationship with work rate (Astrand and Rodhal, 1970).
It becomes the only factor to increase cardiac out put after stroke
volume reaches its maximum level at about 40% of maximal work. Since
heart rate can increase from 50-190 beats per min (300-400 %) in
well-trained sports persons, with an increasing stroke volume of
about 50-75%, heat rate plays a key role in increased cardiac out
put during exercise (Astrand and Rodhal, 1970;
Manna et al., 2002;
Powers and Howley, 1997).
Heart rates were measured during sub-maximal exercise, maximal exercise
as well as during recovery to evaluate the cardiovascular fitness
of the athletes (Karvitz et al., 2003;
Manna et al., 2002).
In the present study significantly higher heart rates were found
during maximal exercise and recovery in senior boxers compared to
juniors. In the second study significantly higher heart rate values
were recorded during actual boxing rounds when comparing heart rates
recorded during graded exercise on treadmill, this may be due to
emotional attachment,stress and different muscle involvement during
the game. Similar observation was noted in the study conducted by
Bellinger et al., 1997.
Hemoglobin is mainly used for the transport of oxygen from blood
vessels to exercising muscles, and transport of carbon dioxide from
working muscles to blood vessels. Moreover, hemoglobin represents
the iron status of the body (Beard and Tobin, 2000).
The present study showed higher level of hemoglobin in the senior
boxers compared to juniors Several studies showed that running might
result in an appearance of free hemoglobin in plasma in augmented
quantities. This phenomenon has been considered as a sign of typical
sports anemia (Beard and Tobin, 2000;
Casoni et al., 1985).
It has been noted that training improved the hemoglobin concentration
(Casoni et al., 1985).
The main end product of protein metabolism is urea. A prolonged
exercise has been shown to cause increased urea and uric acid concentration
in the blood, liver, skeletal muscle, urine and sweat (Carraro et
Therefore, monitoring of exercise stress through different biochemical
parameters including serum urea and uric acid are common practice
(Fry, et al., 1991;
Urhausen and Kindermann, 2002).
It may be suggested that increased levels of urea and uric acid
may be due to increased intensity of training and or, excessive
intake of proteins and reduced excretion of urinary urea and uric
acid. Thus a high level of urea and uric acid may lead to positive
nitrogen balance, which may interfere in kidney function.
Regular participation in physical activity is associated with lower
plasma level of triglycerides (Berg et al., 1994;
Durstine and Haskell, 1994;
Khanna et al., 2005).
Level of fitness influences the lipid profile as physically fit
and active individuals tend to have lower levels of lipids than
less active individuals (Berg et al., 1994;
Durstine and Haskell, 1994;
Khanna et al., 2005).
Another study showed that the serum levels of HDLC and the ratio
of HDLC to total cholesterol were increased in those players having
more aerobic exercise in their training program (Cardoso Saldana
et al., 1995).
Whereas, those players exposed to more anaerobic training showed
low concentration of HDLC to total cholesterol and LDLC to total
cholesterol (Friedwald et al., 1972).
In the present study significantly higher values of total cholesterol,
triglyceride and LDLC were noted in junior boxers when compared
to senior players. No significant difference was noted in HDLC between
the groups. This shows that the senior players exposed to more aerobic
training then the junior players. Therefore, it has been suggested
that aerobic training can regulate serum lipids and lipoprotein
levels and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (Berg et al.,
the age and level of training in Boxing has significant effect on
Aerobic, anaerobic component. A very high intensive and long duration
interval training to develop the needs to be incorporated in the
training schedule to develop both the aerobic and anaerobic components
of the boxers to meet the demand of the game. At the same time biochemical
parameters including hemoglobin, urea, uric acid and lipid profiles
also should be taken into consideration for training of boxers.
The study of physiological responses during graded exercise testing
may be helpful to observe the cardiovascular adaptation in boxers.
The responses of heart rate and lactate studied during the actual
bout can give a better insight about the adaptation of the boxers
as compared to studying of responses in the laboratory conditions.
on Indian boxers
physiological and biochemical monitoring
analysis during actual boxing and laboratory testin
Gulshan Lal KHANNA
Scientific Officer Co-ordinator, Sports Science in Sports Authority
Degrees: BSc, MSc,PhD
Research interests: Growth and development in Trained
children. Physiological adaptations in High performance sports.
Fluid and electrolytes. Antioxidants and exercise
Professor in the Department of Physiology in Janaki Medical
Degrees: BSc, MSc
Research interests: Exercise physiology and ergonomics