Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2021) 20, 310 - 316   DOI:

Research article
Maximal and Submaximal Cardiorespiratory Responses to a Novel Graded Karate Test
Matheus Hausen1, Raul Freire1, Andréa B. Machado1, Glauber R. Pereira1, Grégoire P. Millet2, Alex Itaborahy1, 
Author Information
1 Olympic Laboratory, Brazil Olympic Committee, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2 Institute of Sport Sciences, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

Alex Itaborahy
✉ PhD Olympic Laboratory, Brazil Olympic Committee, Av. Embaixador Abelardo Bueno s/n Maria Lenk Aquatic Center – Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Publish Date
Received: 01-10-2020
Accepted: 03-03-2021
Published (online): 15-03-2021
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The present study aimed to propose and assess the physiological responses of a novel graded karate test. Ten male national-level karate athletes (age 26 ± 5 yrs; body mass 69.5 ± 11.6 kg; height 1.70 ± 0.09 m) performed two exercise tests (separated by 2-7 days): 1) a running-based cardiopulmonary exercise test; 2) a graded karate test. The cardiopulmonary exercise test was comprised of an individualized ramp protocol for treadmill running, and the graded karate test was comprised of a sequence of ‘kisami-gyaku-zuki” punching at a fixed frequency of a stationary target that becomes progressively distant. Cardiorespiratory responses, blood lactate concentration, and perceived exertion were measured. A verification phase was also performed in both tests to confirm the maximal physiological outcomes. The graded karate test evoked similar maximal responses to the running protocol: V̇O2 (57.4 ± 5.1 vs 58.3 ± 3.5 mL·kg-1·min-1; p = 0.53), heart rate (192 ± 6 vs 193 ± 10]beats.min-1; p = 0.62) and blood lactate (14.6 ± 3.4 vs 13.1 ± 3.0 mmol·L-1; p = 0.14) with a shorter duration (351 ± 71 vs 640 ± 9 s; p < 0.001). Additionally, the graded karate test evoked higher V̇O2 (72.6 ± 6.5 vs 64.4 ± 4.3 %V̇O2MAX; p = 0.005) and heart rate (89.4 ± 4.6 vs 77.3 ± 7.2 %HRMAX p < 0.001) at the ventilatory threshold and a higher heart rate (97.0 ± 2.4 vs 92.9 ± 2.2 %HRMAX; p = 0.02) at the respiratory compensation point. Incremental and verification phases evoked similar responses in V̇O2 and minute-ventilation during both tests. This novel displacement-based sport-specific test evoked similar maximal and higher submaximal responses, indicating a superior pathway to assess karate athletes.

Key words: Oxygen uptake, ventilatory thresholds, heart rate, blood lactate, martial arts

           Key Points
  • The displacement-based graded karate test (GKT) yielded similar maximal and higher submaximal physiological responses than the ‘gold-standard’ CPET.
  • The graded karate test (GKT) provides a more ecologically valid approach to assess the cardiorespiratory conditioning of karate athletes.
  • Manipulating the target distance presents itself as a novel strategy that allows for the development of cardiorespiratory fitness combined with the specific ability to sustain propelling power.
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