Int J Sports Med 1991; 12(3): 319-323
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1024689
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Metabolic and Cardiorespiratory Responses to the Performance of Wing Chun and T'ai Chi Chuan Exercise

D. Schneider, R. Leung
  • Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Health, Sport, and Leisure Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
14 March 2008 (online)


The primary purpose of this study was to examine the metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses to the continuous performance of Wing Chun and T'ai Chi Chuan exercise. No significant differences in V̇O2max or HRmax obtained during treadmill exercise were found between the practitioners of the two styles. Average values for oxygen uptake (V̇O2) were 23.3 ± 7.5 ml·kg-1·min-1 (6.6 METS) and 16.0 ± 3.9 ml·kg-1· min-1 (4.6 METS) for Wing Chun and T'ai Chi Chuan exercise, respectively. Mean heart rates obtained during exercise were 137 ± 25 beats·min-1 for Wing Chun and 116 ± 22 beats·min-1 for T'ai Chi Chuan exercise. These exercise values corresponded to 52.4% of V̇O2max and 70.5% of HRmax for Wing Chun and only 36.4% of V̇O2max and 59.8% of HRmax for T'ai Chi Chuan exercise. Thus, only the continuous performance of Wing Chun exercise elicited V̇O2 and HR responses that would be expected to bring about a cardiorespiratory training effect in subjects with a relatively low initial V̇O2max. The ventilatory equivalent for oxygen (V̇E/ V̇O2) obtained during T'ai Chi Chuan exercise (21.7) was significantly lower than for Wing Chun exercise (24.2), suggesting that T'ai Chi practitioners utilize efficient breathing patterns during exercise. Both Wing Chun and T'ai Chi Chuan styles may have a small static component that produces a slightly elevated heart rate relative to metabolic load when compared to traditional aerobic activities. However, the effect was not severe and these forms of exercise should not be considered dangerous for individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease.