2018, Volume 14
Physiological and perceptual responses for specific taolu exercises (empty-hand versus heavy bag performance)
Juan M. Cortell-Tormo1, Miguel García-Jaén1, Julia Gómez-Ramos1, Roberto Cejuela1, Iván Chulvi-Medrano1
1General and Specific Didactics, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain
Author for correspondence: Juan M. Cortell-Tormo; General and Specific Didactics, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background and Study Aim: Taolu or kung-fu forms are established sequences of offensive and defensive techniques representing fights against fictitious opponents that require motor control, rhythm, and movement differentiation capacities. In mostly styles, forms can be performed empty-hand or using a heavy bag or wooden-dummy. However, differences on acute physiological and perceptual responses when taolu are performed in both ways have not been studied so far and remain unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was knowledge about acute heart rate (HR) and blood lactate [La–] responses, and perceived exertion on the performance of empty-hand versus heavy bag taolu in amateur practitioners.
Material and Methods: Twelve male kung-fu practitioners participated in this study. HR, [La–] and RPE were measured before, during and after different study conditions. Tests were performed in a randomized order on heavy bag or empty-hand, in two sessions. HR was measured through a cardio-tachometer, [La–] using a Lactate Analyser and RPE through the Borg’s Scale. Statistical analysis was made using a two-way ANOVA with repeated measures.
Results: No significant differences were found between two analysed conditions in HRWmean, p = 0.659; HRWmax, p = 0.574; %HRWmean, p = 0.605; %HRmax, p = 0.742. Also, no significant differences were found in [La–] responses, both [La]post (p=0.658) and [La]3’ (p = 0.436), between the two analysed forms. Regarding RPE, no significant differences (p = 0.068) were found between study conditions. The performance of taolu hitting a heavy bag does not represent a higher cardio-metabolic stress, nor higher subjective perceived strain for kung-fu athletes, compared to the performance of empty-hand taolu.
Conclusions: The practical applications of these findings are the different possibilities of training that presents the performance of taolu, with or without using heavy bag indistinctly, since the results when performing empty-hand and bag taolu are similar, in terms of physiological and perceptual effects. Thus, martial arts’ athletes who cannot hit the heavy bag, either because of an injury or because it is not easily available, can perform only empty-hand forms, obtaining the same physiological benefits.
Key words: rating perceived exertion, kung-fu, heart rate, blood lactate concentration, acute effects