Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the time course of maximal isometric finger flexor force and blood acid-base balance during repeated simulated matches in world-class judokas.
Methods: Seven 21- to 28-year-old world-class female judokas (including Olympic and World Championship medalists) repeated four 4-minute judo combats interspersed by 15 minutes of passive recovery. Maximal voluntary isometric finger flexor contraction (MVIC) force was measured in both hands after warm-up and immediately after each combat using a handgrip dynamometer. MVIC force was classified as MVIC hikite force (pulling hand) and MVIC tsurite force (lifting hand).
Results: Blood lactate concentration, pH, bicarbonate concentration, partial pressure of oxygen, and oxygen saturation were measured between 3 and 5 minutes after each match. At completion of the fourth combat, mean MVIC hikite and tsurite force decreased by 18% and 12%, respectively (g = 0.23 and 0.29, respectively; P < .05), demonstrating that force production was substantial throughout repeated matches. Blood lactate concentration increased ∼5-fold from 2.69 (1.37) mmol·L-1 after warm-up to 13.10 (2.61) mmol·L-1 after the last match (g = 4.13, P = .018). Concurrently, blood pH decreased slightly from 7.44 (0.03) to 7.26 (0.05) (g = 2.34, P = .018), that is, by only 0.18 units. The decreased blood pH was significantly correlated with a decrease in bicarbonate concentration (R2 = .94, P < .001). Finally, partial pressure of oxygen and oxygen saturation remained unchanged during the judo contest.
Conclusions: Female world-class judokas were able to maintain a high level of grip strength in both hands and efficiently regulate blood acid-base balance during repeated simulated high-intensity matches.
Keywords: elite athletes; high performance; judo; muscular fatigue.
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