Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Effects of multi-component training on the physical fitness of young taekwondo athletes

Background and Problem. Taekwondo is an Olympic sport characterized by the extensive use of kicking techniques which require a significant amount of explosive force and agility [Valdes-Badilla et al. 2014; Perez-Gutierrez et al. 2015]. It is considered an intermittent-high intensity short duration discipline, in which the predominance of the aerobic and anaerobic systems is alternated [Campos et al. 2012; Bridge et al. 2009; Herrera et al. 2014; Matsushigue et al. 2009; Santos et al. 2011; Thompson, Vinueza 1991].
The aim of this study is thus to determine the effects of a 16-week multi-component training programme on the physical fitness of a group of young taekwondo athletes.
Material and Methods. A group of 22 well-trained athletes (8.8. ± 0.5 years old, body mass 34.6 ± 6.7 kg, height 1.35 ± 0.1 m, and BMI 18.8 ± 2.7) was trained throughout the 16 weeks The training volume was divided in a constant ratio of 60% specific taekwondo training and 40% multi- component training. The multi-component training was divided into strength (10%), endurance (10%), speed (20%), agility (30%) and flexibility (30%) training. The athletes’ performance in long jump, in the number of abdominal crunches completed in 30s and in speed-agility tests as well as their flexibility were measured before and after the 16-week training period.
Results. After the 16-week training period, an increase in long jump performance was observed in both the boys (p<0.01; ES=1.60) and the girls (p<0.05; ES=0.74). Likewise, improvements in the abdominal crunches in 30s test for both genders (boys, p<0.01; ES=1.50; girls, p<0.05; ES=0.89) were observed. Additionally, performance in the speed-agility test was improved in both the boys (p<0.01: ES=-1.37) and the girls (p<0.05; ES=-1.16). No significant differences were observed in the “sit and reach” test after the intervention.
Conclusions. In conclusion, a multi-component training programme, in the initial stages of the sport, can be an effective way of improving physical fitness and consequently the performance of young taekwondo athletes in competition.