Effects of Fitlight training on cognitive-motor performance in elite judo athletes

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In the social media we can watch frequently how some judo athletes use Fitlight training system or similar devices during their training sessions, but is that useful?

In this interesting research examined whether the FitlightTM training system used to cognitively enrich a massed judo training program, can improve executive functions (specifically, response inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility) and physical performance (i.e., isometric strength, resistance strength of the upper limbs and explosive-elastic strength of the lower limbs) in young adult athletes compared to a non-intervention group.

Some examples about Fitlight training or similar devices using during judo sessions in high performance athletes in India, Kosovo, China and Ukraine.

Effects of Fitlight training on cognitive-motor performance in élite judo athletesCampanella, M. et al.Heliyon, Volume 10, Issue 7.


Aims: The aims of this study were to verify if a 5-week cognitive-motor training (CMT) using FitlightsTM induced changes in young adult judo athletes compared to a non-intervention group. Specifically, it was verified if CMT influenced executive functions (EFs), physical fitness and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. Additionally, athletes’ competitive results were compared between groups.

Method: Twenty-seven athletes (14 males and 13 females; age = 19.5 ± 2.0 years) were assigned to the Fitlight (FG) and control (CG) groups which performed 5 weeks of CMT, respectively, including 25 min per day of Fitlight training or traditional judo practice. All participants per- formed cognitive (flanker task and forward/backward digit span) and fitness tests (counter movement jump, handgrip test, dynamic and isometric chin up). In addition, BDNF was collected by saliva sampling and competitive results after the intervention period were considered. Results: RM-ANOVA showed significant differences in FG for the accuracy of flanker (p = 0.028) and backward digit span (p < 0.001). Moreover, significant differences in FG were found for relative dynamic chin up (p = 0.027) and counter movement jump (p = 0.05). In addition, a significant difference in FG was found for competitive results after the intervention period (p < 0.01).

No significant differences were found for BDNF and other cognitive and fitness measures (p > 0.05).

Keywords: Executive functions; Combat sports; High-level training; BDNF

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Check out our previous article about reaction drills to build quickness in judo.