Int J Sports Med 1991; 12(2): 196-203
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1024667
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Physiological Characteristics of Elite Judo Athletes

R. Callister2 , R. J. Callister2 , R. S. Staron2 , S. J. Fleck1 , P. Tesch3 , G. A. Dudley4
  • 1Sports Science Division, U. S. Olympic Committee, Colorado Springs, CO 80909 (site of investigation)
  • 2Department of Zoological and Biomedical Sciences, and College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701
  • 3Department of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, S-10401, Sweden
  • 4The Bionetics Corporation, Kennedy Space Center FL 32899
Supported by a grant from the U. S. Olympic Committee.
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
14 March 2008 (online)


In order to provide some understanding of the physiological capacities underlying successful judo performance, representative values for a variety of physiological variables were determined in nationally ranked male (n = 18) and female (n = 9) judo athletes. Body composition, aerobic capacity, isokinetic elbow and knee flexor and extensor strength, and muscle fiber size and composition of the vastus lateralis were examined. Comparisons across weight divisions indicate that the values of many characteristics varied as a function of size. As weight division increased, relative V̇O2 decreased (r= - 0.53 and -0.63 for males and females, respectively), % body fat increased (r = 0.64, 0.72), and the cross sectional areas of Type I (r = 0.55, 0.77) and Type IIA (r = 0.47, = 0.76) muscle fibers increased. Among females in particular, athletes in the higher weight divisions were stronger relative to LBM than those in the lower division. These results indicate that the physiological profiles of lower and upper weight division elite judo players differ markedly. It is suggested that the factors responsible for success may be specific to each weight division and may represent a compromise between making weight and maximizing physiological capacities and performance.