Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Practices of Judo Athletes and S&C Coaches

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The benefits of strength and conditioning (S&C) for improving judo performance and reducing injuries have been widely studied. However, the S&C practices used and perspectives held by those delivering S&C have yet to be elucidated. Therefore, this study investigated the S&C practices and perspectives of judokas and S&C coaches working within judo. Forty-two judokas and 9 S&C coaches completed an online survey comprising 6 sections: (a) written informed consent; (b) background information; (c) education, qualifications, and prescription; (d) views on S&C; (e) exercise selection; and (f) issues and improvements. Frequency analysis was used to report responses to fixed-response questions and thematic analysis for open-ended questions. Results indicated that S&C coaches were primarily responsible for delivering S&C programs (60%), and S&C information was predominantly sourced from S&C coaches (43%). Strength and conditioning was deemed very important for randori (78-88%), overall judo performance (67-79%), and judo fitness (62-78%). Similarly, S&C was considered very important for the development of speed and power (76-89%), strength (71-89%), and injury reduction (69-78%). Novel findings were also observed, such as integrating judo-specific training within S&C practice, which may be partly explained by more S&C coaches holding judo belts (67%) than S&C qualifications (11%). This study supports practitioners delivering S&C in judo by offering a base of information to critique or align with their existing S&C practices and perspectives. Furthermore, our results may help identify potential gaps between methods used, proposed guidelines, and actual practice, facilitating the development of research and education resources tailored to the current climate.

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Strength and conditioning session with chinese athlete Ma Zhengzhao, silver medalist at WC 2022.