Special Judo Fitness Test

Spread the knowledge!


To assess the specific level of fitness in judo, Sterkowicz (1995) created a Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT). The test was designed to evaluate the specific abilities of judo athletes. SJFT partially respects the time structure of a real judo contest and uses the throwing technique over the shoulder (Ippon-Seoi-Nage) 


The Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT) was developed by Sterkowicz (1995) and described by Franchini et al. Since then, it has been used in different investigations on judo. The SJFT consists of a test in which the judoka must project (throw) his opponents as fast as possible and is divided into three periods: 15, 30 and 30 s, with 10-s intervals among them. During each period, the executor throws two partners (6 meters apart from one another) as many times as possible, using the ippon-seoi- nage technique. The athlete’s heart rate (HR) is recorded immediately after the test and 1 min later. From the number of computed throws, together with HR values, an index is calculated on the basis of the fol- lowing equation:

Index SJFT= (Final HR (bpm) – HR (bpm) 1 min afer test)/number of throws

Isik et al. (2017) introduced in his research the term of relative SJFT index to determine the difference between the weight categories. They concluded that this index will provide more accurate results for performance evaluation. Relative SJFT index value was calculated using the following equation:

Relative SJFT Index = SJFT Index/Body Weight (kg)

PROCEDURES- how to conduct the test

It is important to note that whenever fitness testing is performed, it must be done so in a consistent environment (i.e. facility), so that it is protected from varying weather types, and with a dependable surface that is not affected by wet or slippery conditions. If the environment is not consistent, the reliability of repeated tests at later dates can be substantially hindered and result in worthless data.

Required Equipment

Before the start of the test, it is important to ensure you have the following items:

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Stopwatch
  • Performance recording sheet
  • Lactate (optional)
  • Video (optional)


Franchini et al. (2009) presented a classificatory table for this test. This classificatory table can help coaches using the SJFT to classify their athletes’ level and to monitor their physical fitness progress.

Classificatory norms for total number of throws, heart rate (after and 1-min after) and index in the Special Judo Fitness Test (n=141). Original article.

Agostinho et al. (2018) compare the performances of male and female cadet and junior judo athletes and to develop classificatory ta- bles to these judo-specific tests for international-level from these ages. Data collected during training camps of male and female cadet and junior judo teams from three nations (Brazil, Serbia, and Spain) were analyzed, and authors created a detailed sex and age specific classification for judo-specific fitness. The use of these tests and classifications can be relevant for goal setting in terms of physical development either aiming at peaking for a specific competition or during different phases of the rehabilitation process. The responses to different types of periodization can also be monitored through the application of these tests.

Special judo fitness test classificatory table for high-level female cadet (left) and junior (right)
Special judo fitness test classificatory table for high-level male cadet (left) and junior (right)

Drid et al. (2012) showed the SJFT results in different researches in both male and female judo athletes.

SJFT results in male judokas. Drid et al. (2012)
SJFT results in female judokas. Drid et al. (2012)


Štefanovský et al. (2021) analyzed the available literature, and they found differences and considerable variability in the Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT) reliability methods. For this reason, they determined the reliability and measurement error of all parameters by SJFT. According to the results of this study, by testing the special level of judo fitness, as well as its changes, authors recommend using the HR and SJFT index as good reliable parameter.


In a pilot study carried out by Rodriguez et al. (2016) they compared the application of Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT) with the Tokui Waza in situations absence of fatigue and fatigue. They found similar results in both tests without fatigue and in situations with fatigue they found better results in heart rate, lactate concentration and number of throws in the test performed with the Tokui Waza.

Kons et al. (2021) studied the validity of an adapted Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT) for judo athletes with visual impairment. In their research, twenty judo athletes with visual impairments performed both the adapted SJFT with tactile and sonorous stimuli (experimental conditions) and the typically administered SJFT (standard condition). they found that both SJFT adaptations showed excellent reliability and medium sensitivity on test-retest, but, only the SJFT with the sonorous stimulus seemed valid for assessing judo athletes with varying degrees of visual impairment, and only the sonorous stimulus SJFT discriminated elite from sub-elite athletes.

Blach et al. (2021) have just published a study where develop a new test in which uke is replaced by a dummy, concluding that the dummy throwing test can be a recommended alternative to use throwing due to the elimination of the risk of injuries to practicing athletes.


Karimi (2016) studied the validity of SJFT in male wrestlers, founding that this test is a valid and reliable field test to evaluate anaerobic fitness in judo may be usable to evaluate anaerobic fitness in wrestling.

Other studies reported by Drid et al. (2012), showed that the Special Judo Fitness Test is a recognized tool used also in judo-related disciplines, such as sambo and jujitsu.


Recently Eken et al. (2022) have concluded that SJFT performance showed diurnal variation and judo performances of the judokas can be affected more positively in the evening hours especially after RAMP protocols. However, Ouergui et al. (2022) found that SFJT performance were not time-of-day dependent.

Ceylan et al. (2022) found out which performance tests best define the Special Judo Fitness Test classification in elite judo athletes, concluding that the SJFT index classificatory norms are associated with anaerobic power, and higher anaerobic power increased the possibility of athletes’ classification as ≥regular.


In this chart we can see the heart rate during the SFJT and during the recovery. After counting the number of throws done by the judo athlete during the 15/30/30 seconds periods, and checking the heart rate when he finish the test and 1 minute later, we have all the data to calculate the index and obtain his score.

Based on classificatory table, it is possible to classify physical fitness our judo athletes and monitor their training progress which can help both coaches and athletes. In this case our athlete showed a “good” result, according his SJFT index.

We also can check the lactate concentration during the SJFT and also compared the performance during several test in the same session. In this case we tested three SJFT separated by 10 minutes.


Franchini et al. (2011) concluded that the Special Judo Fitness Test can be consider:

  • reliable test with a low measurement error
  • sensible to training
  • able to discriminate athletes of different levels
  • correlated to performance in well controlled laboratory tests
  • correlated to attacks during a judo match
  • correlated to the morphological profile of the athlete


Błach, W, Ambroży, T., Obmiński, Z. et al. A Novel Approach to Safe Special Fitness Testing in Judo Players, 27 July 2021.

Ceylan, B.; Šimenko, J.; Balcı, Ş.S. Which Performance Tests Best Define the Special Judo Fitness Test Classification in Elite Judo Athletes? J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 20227, 101.

Drid, P., Trivić, T., Tabakov, S. Special judo fitness test-a review. Serbian Journal of Sports Sciences, 2012, 6(4), 117-125.

Eken, Ö., Clemente, F.M. & Nobari, H. Judo specific fitness test performance variation from morning to evening: specific warm-ups impacts performance and its diurnal amplitude in female judokas. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil 14, 92 (2022).

Franchini E, Boscolo Del Vecchio F, Sterkowicz S. A Special Judo Fitness Test Classificatory Table. ARCH BUDO. 2009;5.

Franchini, Emerson & Del Vecchio, Fabricio & Sterkowicz, Stanisław. Special judo fitness test: Development and results. 2011, 41-59.

Ibrahim Ouergui, Slaheddine Delleli, Hamdi Chtourou, Okba Selmi, Anissa Bouassida, Ezdine Bouhlel & Emerson Franchini (2022) Diurnal Variation of Specific Tests’ Performance and Related Psychological Aspects in Young Judo Athletes, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Işık, Özkan, Doğan, İlkay, Cicioğlu, H. İbrahim, & Yıldırım, İrfan. (2017). A new approach to Special Judo Fitness Test index: Relative index. Journal of Human Sciences14(4), 4219–4225. 

Karimi, M. Validity of Special Judo Fitness Test in Iranian Male Wrestlers, International Journal of Wrestling Science, 2016, 6:1, 34-38.

Kons RL, Franchini E, Bragança JR, Detanico D. Psychometric Suitability of Adaptations to the Special Judo Fitness Test for Athletes With Visual Impairment. Perceptual and Motor Skills. July 2021. 

Rodríguez, C.; Hernández-García, R.; Robles, C.; Torres-Luque, G. Validation of Special Judo Fitness Test with technical Tokui Waza: Pilot study. Sport TK: revista euroamericana de ciencias del deporte, Vol. 5, Nº. 2, 2016, págs. 9-14.

Štefanovský, Miloš, Poliak, Matej, Augustovičová, Dušana, Kraček, Stanislav and Hadža, Radovan. “Test and Re-Test Reliability of the Special Judo Fitness Test” Acta Facultatis Educationis Physicae Universitatis Comenianae, vol.61, no.1, 2021, pp.97-106.

Sterkowicz, S., & Franchini, E. (2001). Specific fitness of elite and novice judoists. Journal of Human Kinetics, 6, 81-98.

One thought on “Special Judo Fitness Test

  • Maggie

    Thank you very much. Do we have similar test for wrestlers?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *