Time-Motion and Biological Responses in Simulated Mixed Martial Arts Sparring Matches
Coswig, VS, Ramos, SdP, and Del Vecchio, FB. Time-motion and biological responses in simulated mixed martial arts sparring matches. J Strength Cond Res 30(8): 2156–2163, 2016—Simulated matches are a relevant component of training for mixed martial arts (MMA) athletes. This study aimed to characterize time-motion responses and investigate physiological stress and neuromuscular changes related to MMA sparring matches. Thirteen athletes with an average age of 25 ± 5 years, body mass of 81.3 ± 9.5 kg, height of 176.2 ± 5.5 cm, and time of practice in MMA of 39 ± 25 months participated in the study. The fighters executed three 5-minute rounds with 1-minute intervals. Blood and salivary samples were collected and physical tests and psychometric questionnaires administered at 3 time points: before (PRE), immediately after (POST), and 48 hours after the combat (48 h). Statistical analysis applied analysis of variance for repeated measurements. In biochemical analysis, significant changes (p ≤ 0.05) were identified between PRE and POST (glucose: 80.3 ± 12.7 to 156.5 ± 19.1 mg·ml−1; lactate: 4 ± 1.7 to 15.6 ± 4.8 mmol·dl−1), POST and 48 hours (glucose: 156.5 ± 19.1 to 87.6 ± 15.5 mg·ml−1; lactate: 15.6 ± 4.8 to 2.9 ± 3.5 mmol·dl−1; urea: 44.1 ± 8.9 to 36.3 ± 7.8 mg·ml−1), and PRE and 48 hours (creatine kinase [CK]: 255.8 ± 137.4 to 395.9 ± 188.7 U/L). In addition, time-motion analyses showed a total high:low intensity of 1:2 and an effort:pause ratio of 1:3. In conclusion, simulated MMA sparring matches feature moderate to high intensity and a low degree of musculoskeletal damage, which can be seen by absence of physical performance and decrease in CK. Results of the study indicate that sparring training could be introduced into competitive microcycles to improve technical and tactical aspects of MMA matches, due to the high motor specificity and low muscle damage.
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