Can ischemic preconditioning help on acute recovery in elite judo athletes?

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Purpose: The ischemic preconditioning (IPC) method has been shown to aid the recovery processes; however, no studies have been done to assess its acute recovery use in judo. This study aimed to examine IPC of lower limbs effects on recovery after a judo-specific performance in highly trained male judokas and its applicability during a competition day.

Methods: A single-blind, placebo-randomized crossover study was carried out on a sample of 13 elite male judo athletes. They undertook measurements of body composition, judo-specific task (Special Judo Fitness Test), jump performance, handgrip strength, lactate, blood pressure, perceived exertion, and delayed-onset muscle soreness. IPC was applied on the legs and inflated 50 mm Hg above the systolic blood pressure for 5 minutes and repeated 3 times for each leg, with 5 minutes of reperfusion. Two-way analysis of variance with repeated measurements was used to determine changes between interventions and measurement times. Paired-sample t test and 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to determine the difference among measurement times. Statistical significance was set at P < .05.

Results: The IPC intervention resulted in (1) decreased heart rate at 30 and 60 minutes during recovery (P = .002; P = .001), (2) better countermovement jump performance at 60 minutes (P = .05), (3) lower perceived-muscle-soreness scores (P = .006), and (4) maintained handgrip strength compared with placebo.

Conclusions: The present study revealed that IPC applied to judo athletes following judo-specific exercise resulted in better cardiovascular and neuromuscular recovery and could be a useful tool to enhance recovery during judo competition breaks between preliminaries and final block.

Keywords: SJFT; combat sports; lower limbs; occlusion preconditioning.

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