Energetics of karate (kata and kumite techniques) in top-level athletes

Christian Doria, Arsenio Veicsteinas, Eloisa Limonta, Martina A. Maggioni, Pierluigi Aschieri, Fabrizio Eusebi, Giorgio Fanò, Tiziana Pietrangelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Breath-by-breath O2 uptake (V̇O2, L min-1) and blood lactate concentration were measured before, during exercise, and recovery in six kata and six kumite karate Word Champions performing a simulated competition. V̇O2max, maximal anaerobic alactic, and lactic power were also assessed. The total energy cost (VO2TOT, mL kg-1 above resting) of each simulated competition was calculated and subdivided into aerobic, lactic, and alactic fractions. Results showed that (a) no differences between kata and kumite groups in V̇O2max, height of vertical jump, and Wingate test were found; (b) VO2TOT were 87.8 ± 6.6 and 82.3 ± 12.3 mL kg-1 in kata male and female with a performance time of 138 ± 4 and 158 ± 14 s, respectively; 189.0 ± 14.6 mL kg-1 in kumite male and 155.8 ± 38.4 mL kg-1 in kumite female with a predetermined performance time of 240 ± 0 and 180 ± 0 s, respectively; (c) the metabolic power was significantly higher in kumite than in kata athletes (p ≤ 0.05 in both gender); (d) aerobic and anaerobic alactic sources, in percentage of the total, were significantly different between gender and disciplines (p <0.05), while the lactic source was similar; (e) HR ranged between 174 and 187 b min-1 during simulated competition. In conclusion, kumite appears to require a much higher metabolic power than kata, being the energy source with the aerobic contribution predominant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-610
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Blood lactate
  • Energy cost
  • Energy sources
  • Karate
  • Kata
  • Kumite
  • Maximal aerobic and anaerobic power
  • Oxygen consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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