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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 139-143

Effect of a 6-week agility training program on performance indices of Indian taekwondo players


Department of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India

Date of Web Publication4-Oct-2017

Correspondence Address:
Amrinder Singh
Faculty of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab
India
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DOI: 10.4103/sjsm.sjsm_19_17

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  Abstract 

Background: Taekwondo is a martial art sport requiring high level of agility, lower limb strength as it helps improve performance in activities. The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of a 6-week agility training program on agility, anaerobic power, reaction time, balance, and flexibility of Indian taekwondo players.
Subjects and Methods: Thirty elite national level taekwondo players (mean age 19.86 ± 1.81 years; mean height 1.70 ± 7 m; mean mass 60.36 ± 13.74 kg) volunteered and were randomly assigned into two groups, Group 1 (G1; n = 15) agility training group and Group 2 (G2; n = 15) control group. Both agility training group and control group were assessed for agility by illinois agility test; anaerobic power, lower limb reaction time, and balance assessed by kinematics measurement system; and flexibility assessed by sit and reach test. Control group had followed their routine training schedule, and agility training group had performed agility training for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks of training, postmeasures were taken.
Results: Significant changes (P < 0.05) in G1 group (agility training group) were observed in all the variables tested. No significant changes/decline in performance was found in G2 group (control group).
Conclusion: This program significantly improved the performance indices and may be implemented as a regular part of the training schedule.

Keywords: Agility training, anaerobic power, balance, flexibility, reaction time, taekwondo


How to cite this article:
Singh A, Sathe A, Sandhu JS. Effect of a 6-week agility training program on performance indices of Indian taekwondo players. Saudi J Sports Med 2017;17:139-43

How to cite this URL:
Singh A, Sathe A, Sandhu JS. Effect of a 6-week agility training program on performance indices of Indian taekwondo players. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Oct 23];17:139-43. Available from: http://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2017/17/3/139/215916




  Introduction Top


The word “Taekwondo” is derived from the Korean word: “Tae” means “to kick” or “Smash with the feet,” “Kwon” implies “punching” or “destroying with the hand or fist,” and “Do” means “way” or “method.”[1]

Taekwondo thus is the technique of unarmed combat for self-defense that involves the skillful application of techniques including punching; jumping kicks, blocks, dodges; and parrying actions with hands and feet. Taekwondo is a combat sport emphasizing on kicking techniques and dynamic footwork. Taekwondo is a martial art that in “today” form of self-defense has evolved by combining many different styles of martial arts that existed in Korea.

Taekwondo and other martial art games have a direct link to agility, rhythm, reaction time, and balance because it requires defense against attack from all directions using both sides of their body.

Agility has classically been defined simply not only the ability to change direction rapidly [2] but also the ability to change direction rapidly and accurately.[3] A new definition of agility is proposed by Sheppard and Young, 2006[4] as “a rapid whole-body movement with change of velocity or direction in response to a stimulus” which has relationships with trainable physical qualities such as strength, power, and technique, as well as cognitive components such as visual scanning techniques, visual scanning speed, and anticipation.

Agility testing is generally confined to tests of physical components such as change of direction, speed, or cognitive components such as anticipation and pattern recognition. Agility training is thought to be a re-enforcement of motor programming through neuromuscular conditioning and neural adaptation of muscle spindle, Golgi-tendon organs, and joint proprioceptors.[5],[6],[7] Performance is often dependent on the athlete's jumping ability during offensive and defensive skills.[8]

The multidimensional movement demands of field and court games dictate a revaluation of the traditional approach to the development of agility. This demands a systematic multifactored approach that results in significant improvement in game speed. Full development of coordinative abilities provides a range of motor skills that can be adapted to deal with sport specific movement demands.[9]

Therefore, the purpose of the study was to determine the effect of a 6-week agility training program on agility, anaerobic power, reaction time, balance, and flexibility of Indian taekwondo players.


  Subjects and Methods Top


Thirty elite national level taekwondo players (mean age 19.86 ± 1.81 years; mean height 1.70 ± 07 m; mean mass 60.36 ± 13.74 kg) volunteered and were randomly assigned into two groups, Group 1 (G1; n = 15) agility training group and Group 2 (G2; n = 15) control group. All testing and training procedures, benefits, and potential risks of the study were explained to the participants before signing the informed consent form and starting the test. “This study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee of Faculty of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. Each participant voluntarily provided written informed consent before participating.” The inclusion criteria included the following: participants agreed with the purpose of this study, participants had no existing musculoskeletal problems such as lower limb fracture and sprain/strain, participants had no recent injury to lower limb, and participants had no existing medical problems.

The participants of the study were randomly divided into two groups: Group 1 (G1; n = 15) agility training group and Group 2 (G2; n = 15) control group. All participants agreed not to change or increase their current exercise habits during the course of the study. The agility training group participated in a 6-week exercise program performing a variety of agility exercises designed [Table 1],[10] while the control group followed their routine training schedule. The agility training group performed a 5-min warm-up protocol consisting of general stretching, high knees, heel-ups, and carioca drill before each session. Participants were tested before and after the 6-week training period; agility was assessed by illinois agility test; anaerobic power, lower limb reaction time, and balance were assessed by kinematics measurement system; and flexibility was assessed by sit and reach test. All dependent variables were entered into Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) version 17.
Table 1: 6-week agility training protocol

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  Discussion Top


The present study indicated that 6 weeks of agility training was able to increase agility, anaerobic power, reaction time, balance, and flexibility in taekwondo players.

[Table 2] shows comparison of agility (seconds) pre- and post-training in experimental and control group. [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6] show comparison of anaerobic power pre- and post-training in experimental and control group. [Table 7] and [Table 8] show comparison of reaction time pre- and post-training in experimental and control group. [Table 9] shows comparison of balance pre- and post-training in experimental and control group. [Table 10] shows comparison of flexibility pre and post training in experimental and control group
Table 2: Summary of illinois agility test

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Table 3: Summary of box test (total repetitions)

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Table 4: Summary of box test (total work done)

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Table 5: Summary of box test (average power output)

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Table 6: Summary of box test (peak power output)

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Table 7: Summary of reaction time ( first average step time)

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Table 8: Summary of reaction time ( first best step time)

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Table 9: Summary of balance (number of contacts)

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Table 10: Summary of flexibility

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In previous studies, Sakinepoor et al., 2013[11] concluded that improvement in agility is beneficial for athletes who require quick movements while performing their sport and Potteiger et al., 1999[7] speculated that improvements were a result of enhanced motor unit recruitment patterns. They used vertical, lateral, and horizontal plyometric jumps and showed improvements in agility which was in accordance with the results of the present study in which improvement were found in agility.

Significant changes were seen in reaction time which was in accordance with study done by Büyükipekci and Taşkin, 2011,[12] who emphasized how important agility is on moving of the whole-body rapidly and correctly when reacting to a stimulant and how important reaction time is when female volleyball players make instant decisions in attack and defense. This study also mentions that agility features of a player are developed if the player's reactions are good which is a possible reason for the findings in our study as well.

Chromiak et al., 2004[13] showed that the relative anaerobic power of physically active adults increases significantly following 10 weeks of periodized strength training program consisting of 4 days of training a week, and Vadivelan and Sudhakar, 2015[14] in their study showed significant improvement in vertical jump height, peak anaerobic power output, and agility. Woo Mei Teng, 2008 studied and stated that the amount of muscle mass, especially the thigh muscle cross-sectional area, has a direct consequence on the absolute anaerobic power output that can be generated. In addition, the amount of Type II muscle fibers also considered as a factor influencing maximal peak anaerobic power achieved by individual. These factors could have contributed the initial differences between control and intervention groups in peak and mean power which is a possible reason for the findings in our study as well and was in accordance with the results of the present study in relation to the anaerobic power and agility.

In the present study, there were significant changes seen in the balance (number of contacts) which was in accordance with the previous studies done by Fishbeck et al., 2013,[15] who stated that agility training at higher intensity intervals significantly improves functional abilities and agility in men and women in addition to balance, and Fong et al., 2012,[16] who studied and stated that taekwondo practitioners and those in other similar combat sports turn to have superior sensory information processing ability than the nonpractitioners resulting in better trunk/limb coordination and more accurate use of postural strategies. It may be concluded that balance exercises performed simultaneously with reaction tasks represent an effective means for improvement of neuromuscular performance in elite athletes as studied and stated by Erika Zemkova, 2010 which can be a possible reason for the findings in our study.

Analysis of various sport-specific skills which were included in the study was in accordance as the previous works have also stated as by Monoem, 2015[17] in their study observed about athletes training much for reaction speed to a visual stimulus, as motor reaction in taekwondo revealed that this component is a decisive neuromotor parameter in winning a competition. Chung and Ng, 2012[18] concluded in their study that professional taekwondo practitioners have better neuromotor ability in both large and small muscles with faster reactions to sport-specific stimuli, suggesting a generalized training effect across muscles which is a possible reason for the findings in our study as well.

In a previous study of agility training, agility training seems to produce most desirable effect in muscles reaction time;[19] to enhance explosive muscle power and dynamic athletic performance, complex agility training can be used.[20]

Therefore, in our study, participants who underwent agility training were able to improve their physical variables significantly. We found a positive relationship between agility training and improvements of the variables. This improvement in agility is beneficial for athletes who require quick movements while performing their sport such as taekwondo. Regular participation in an agility training program can improve measures of various variables associated with the sport.


  Conclusion Top


The results from our study are very encouraging and demonstrate that the benefits agility training can have on performance. Not only can players use agility to break the monotony of training, but they can also improve their specific skills while working to become more agile. In addition, our results support that improvements in agility can occur in as little as 6 weeks of agility training which can be useful during the last preparatory phase before in-season competition for taekwondo players. Based on these findings, the Indian taekwondo athletes can show significant improvement in on agility, anaerobic power, reaction time, balance, and flexibility after 6 weeks of agility training.

Acknowledgment

We are thankful to the participants. The permission was taken from the Ethical Committee of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India.

Financial support and sponsorship

The set-up was organized by the Department of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy, Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar, Punjab, India.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

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2.
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Buyukipekci S, Taskin H. The effect of changes in reaction time, agility and anaerobic performance during the all season in female volleyball players. Selcuk Univ J Phys Educ Sports Sci 2011;13:20-5.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Fishbeck M, Janot J, Heil C, Alsheskie E, Daleiden A, Erickson E, et al. The effects of plyometric and agility training on balance and functional measures in middle aged and older adults. J Fit Res 2013;2:30-40.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
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Fong SS, Ng SS, Chung LM. Health through martial arts training: Physical fitness and reaction time in adolescent Taekwondo practitioners. Health 2013;5:1-5.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8], [Table 9], [Table 10]



 

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Abstract
Introduction
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Discussion
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