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Ballistic movement performance in karate athletes

ZEHR, E. PAUL; SALE, DIGBY G.; DOWLING, JAMES J.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 1997 - Volume 29 - Issue 10 - pp 1366-1373
Applied Sciences: Biodynamics

Nine male karate athletes and 13 untrained men did maximal voluntary isometric (MVC) and ballistic elbow extension actions, the latter unloaded(L0) and against a load equal to 10% MVC (L10). The karate group achieved greater (P < 0.05) isometric (32%) and ballistic action peak torque with L0 (30%) and L10 (40%). With L10 the ratio of ballistic action to isometric action, peak torque was 13% greater in the karate group, indicating a load specific training adaptation. With L0 the corresponding ratio did not differ significantly between groups. Ballistic action peak rate of torque development (51%, 51%) and peak acceleration (15%, 9%) with L0 and L10, respectively, were greater in the karate group. In contrast, peak velocity and movement time did not differ significantly between groups. Electromyographic recordings of agonist triceps and antagonist biceps were made during the isometric and ballistic actions. Since ballistic actions (L10) were initiated from a preloaded condition, the occurrence and duration of premovement agonist depression were monitored. In ballistic actions there were no group differences in agonist activation, the ratio of ballistic to isometric action agonist activation, or antagonist coactivation. Premovement agonist depression occurred infrequently in both groups, with no group differences. It is concluded that karate athletes have enhanced elbow extension ballistic performance, but it could not be related to amplified agonist activation, altered antagonist activation, or more frequent occurrence of agonist premovement depression.

Division of Neuroscience, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA; and Department of Kinesiology McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA

Submitted for publication November 1996.

Accepted for publication July 1997.

The study was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

John Moroz and Douglas Oleksuik provided technical assistance

Address for correspondence: D. G. Sale, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA L8S 4K1. E-mail:saled@mcmaster.ca.

©1997The American College of Sports Medicine