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  • Br J Sp Med 1993; 27(4)

    Morphological and physiological studies on Indiannational kabaddi players

    S. K. Dey, G. L. Khanna* and M. BatratHuman Performance Laboratory, Sports Authority of India, N. S. Eastern Centre, *Sports Authority of India,N.S. Southern Centre, Bangalore, tSports Authority of India, J.N. Stadium, New Delhi, India

    Twenty-five national kabaddi players (Asiad gold medal-lists 1990), mean age 27.91 years, who attended a nationalcamp at the Sports Authority of India, Bangalore beforethe Beijing Asian Games in 1990, were investigated fortheir physical characteristics, body fat, lean body mass(LBM) and somatotype. The physiological characteristicsassessed included back strength, maximum oxygen uptakecapacity and anaerobic capacity (oxygen debt) and relatedcardiorespiratory parameters (oxygen pulse, breathingequivalent, maximum pulmonary ventilation, maximumheart rate). Body fat was calculated from skinfoldthicknesses taken at four different sites, using Harpendenskinfold calipers. An exercise test (graded protocol) wasperformed on a bicycle ergometer (ER-900) using acomputerized EOS Sprint (Jaeger, West Germany). Themean(s.d.) percentage body fat (17.56(3.48)) of kabaddiplayers was found to be higher than normal sedentarypeople. Their physique was found to be endomorphicmesomorph (3.8-5.2-1.7). Mean(s.d.) back strength, max-imum oxygen uptake capacity (Vo2m.) and oxygen debtwere found to be 162.6(18.08) kg, 42.6(4.91) ml kg-1 min-and 5.02(1.29) litre respectively. Physical characteristics,percentage body fat, somatotype, maximum oxygenuptake capacity and anaerobic capacity (oxygen debt) andother cardiorespiratory parameters were compared withother national counterparts. Present data are comparablewith data for judo, wrestling and weightlifting. Since nosuch study has been conducted on international counter-parts, these data could not be compared. These data mayact as a guideline in the selection of future kabaddi playersand to attain the physiological status comparable to thepresent gold medallists.

    Keywords: Kabaddi, body fat and somatotype, VO2max

    Kabaddi is a traditional outdoor game played withminor variations in all regions of India - in fact, inmost parts of Asia. It is an ancient backyard andhomegrown game.Kabaddi requires tremendous physical stamina,

    agility, individual proficiency, neuromuscular coordi-natiQn, lung capacity, quick reflexes, intelligence andpresence of mind on the part of both attackers anddefenders.

    Address for correspondence: Dr S. K Dey, Human PerformanceLaboratory, Sports Authority of India, N.S. Eastern Centre, SaltLake City, Calcutta 700091, India

    1993 Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd0306-3674/93/040237-06

    It needs a small playing area, 14 players (seven oneach side) take part and no equipment is required.The dimensions of the playing field are 12.5 x 10m(for adults) divided by a mid-line into two equalhalves (each 6.25 x 10 m) (Figure 1). Each half is theterritory of a team (one for the raiders and the otherfor the defenders). The game is supervised by areferee, two umpires and a scorer. The side winningthe toss has the option of sending their raiders first,or choosing a particular side. The raider takes themaximum possible inspiration and then moves to theother side of the field, uttering a continuous chant'Kabaddi' without any further inspiration, to try totouch one of the defending players. The defenderstry to hold the raider within their area and the raidertries to force his way back to his own side withoutdiscontinuing the chant. If the raider is able to comeback to his area after touching a defender a point iscredited to his group and the person touched is putout of the game. On the other hand, the defendinggroup gets a point if they can hold the raider, who




    Sitting block


    >- Baulk line.00

    Mid-line or march line

    Q_ Baulk line




    -1.0 1 8.00 11.01Sitting block

    Figure 1. Kabaddi court for men, measurements in metres

    Br J Sp Med 1993; 27(4) 237

  • Studies on Indian national kabaddi players: S. K. Dey et al.

    then has to drop out. If a player is put out from oneside, a player who had earlier been eliminated fromthe opposite group then rejoins his own side. Aperson from each group alternately raids the oppositeside. This process continues until a team succeeds inputting out the entire opposing team. The successfulside is then credited with two additional points(Lona). Also if any player goes out of the boundaryline during the course of play, or if any part of hisbody touches the ground outside the boundary, hewill be out (except during a struggle). The sidescoring maximum points at the end of play isdeclared the winner. The time of play is 40 min withan interval of 5 min.

    Since kabaddi is an intermittent type of sport, itrequires both aerobic, anaerobic endurance with awell built physique. No physiological study onkabaddi players is available on national or interna-tional players except for some pulmonary functiontests that have been done on Indian inter-universityplayers1. The present investigation of Indian nationalkabaddi players was undertaken (1) to study morpho-logical and physiological parameters; (2) to studyadaptive changes in these players compared withother sports disciplines; (3) to use these data todetermine the 'norms' for comparison.

    Subjects and methodsThe present study was carried out on 25 nationalkabaddi players who won the gold medal in the 1990Asiad at Beijing. They were attending a camp at theSports Authority of India, Bangalore before the Asiangames and the study was conducted 2 weeks beforethe performance trial. The physical characteristics ofthe subjects including age (years), height (cm),weight (kg), body fat (%) and lean body mass (LBM)were measured.

    Body fat and somatotype

    Skinfold thicknesses were measured by Harpendenskinfold calipers at the sites of biceps, triceps,subscapular, suprailiac and calf. Somatotype (H-C)was calculated using the equation of Heath andCarter2 and body fat percentage and lean body masswere calculated by the formula of Siri3. Body densitywas calculated using the equations of Durnin andRahaman4. Back strength was measured with thehelp of a back dynamometer.

    Maximum aerobic capacityThe maximum aerobic capacity was assessed during acontinuous incremental workload on a Jaeger bicycleergometer (ER-900). The exercise protocol of Sport-1designed by Jaeger and Company (Wurzburg, Ger-many) in EOS-Sprint was applied. This protocolconsists of three phases.

    Reference phaseDuring this phase 2 min of exercise was givenwithout any workload at 60r.p.m.

    Test phaseIn this phase, the workload was increased by 50 wattevery 2 min until complete exhaustion. The oxygenconsumption (Vo2) at the maximum effort andshowing no further rise with the increase of workloadwas taken as maximum aerobic capacity (VO2ma,).The physiological parameters, heart rate (HR),breathing frequency (BF), respiratory quotient (RQ),fraction of carbon dioxide (Fco2), fraction of oxygen(Fo2), pulmonary ventilation (VE) were monitored bythe computerized EOS-Sprint System every 30 s. Thesubjects were verbally encouraged throughout thetest to continue cycling until maximum exhaustion.The details of the procedures were explained to thesubject before the onset of the exercise test.

    Recovery phaseIn the recovery phase the physiological parameterswere monitored until the oxygen consumptionreturned to the normal resting level. Oxygen debtwas calculated by the standard method described byFox et al.5.The whole experiment was performed at a room

    temperature varying from 230 to 250C with therelative humidity varying between 50 and 60%.

    Statistical analysisMean, standard deviation, standard 'norms' simpleand multiple correlation coefficients and regressionequations of various morphological and physiologicalparameters were computed.

    ResultsMeans and standard deviations of physical character-istics, somatotype and cardiorespiratory variables arepresented in Table 1. Table 2 represents the medianvalue with the range of values measured in different

    Table 1. Physical characteristics, somatotype andcardiorespiratory variables of Indian national kabaddi players

    Variable Mean(s.d.)

    Age (years) 27.91(3.42)Weight (kg) 75.49(5.13)Height (cm) 174.34(4.33)Fat (%) 17.56(3.48)Lean body mass (kg) 62.18(4.25)Endomorphy 3.83(1.06)Mesomorphy 5.18(1.12)Ectomorphy 1.69(0.69)VO2max (I min-1) 3.21(0.39)VO2 max (ml kg-' min-') 42.61(4.91)VEmax (I min-) 132.35(18.15)Oxygen debt (I min-') 5.02(1.29)Oxygen pulse (ml per beat) 17.42(2.17)Breathing equivalent 41.50(5.69)Back strength (kg) 162.56(18.08)HRmax (beat min-') 184.52(7.01)Recovery heart rate* (beat min-') 165.76(8.74)

    HRmax, maximum heart rate*After 1 min of maximum exercise

    238 Br J Sp Med 1993; 27(4)

  • Studies on Indian national kabaddi players: S. K. Dey et al.

    physical and physiological parameters. Table 3 com-prises the matrix of correlation coefficients for variousphysical and physiological variables. Significantpositive correlation (P < 0.05) was observed whenmaximum oxygen uptake capacity was correlatedwith weight and LBM (r = 0.43 and r = 0.39). Totalpercentage body fat was also positively correlatedwith endomorphic and mesomorphic components(r = 0.99 and 0.41) and negatively correlated withectomorphic components (r = -0.62). The abovecorrelations were significant at the probability levels

    Table 2. Morphological and physiological parameters of kabaddiplayers

    Parameter Median (min-max)

    Weight (kg) 75.30 (70.02-84.26)Height (cm) 173.81 (168.60-177.30)Fat (%) 16.96 (12.98-20.34)LBM (kg) 61.75 (57.20-66.05)Endomorphy 3.61 (2.89-5.01)Mesomorphy 5.07 (4.31-5.89)Ectomorphy 1.48 (1.12-2.08)VO2 max (I min-') 3.12 (3.01-4.21)Vo2