British Journal of Sports Medicine 2001; 35:231-234
Practicing the martial art of Taekwondo (TKD) has been proposed to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular fitness as well as general physical ability. Furthermore, TKD masters and participants have promoted TKD as a total fitness program. However, research studies substantiating this seem to be lacking, perhaps because TKD is recognized more as a method of self-defense than a fitness program.
Nineteen male TKD practitioners with an average age of 13.8 years and 10.4 months of TKD training experience participated. Measurements included resting heart rate, aerobic power, anaerobic power, and anaerobic capacity.
No significant differences in either resting heart rate or aerobic power was shown after training. However, significant differences were observed in anaerobic power (28% increase) and anaerobic capacity (61.5% increase).
Conclusions. The practice of TKD promotes anaerobic power and anaerobic capacity, but not aerobic power, in male adolescents.