Musculoskeletal Profile of Amateur Combat Athletes: Body composition, muscular strength and striking power
Previous research highlighted positive musculoskeletal adaptations resulting from mechanical forces and loadings distinctive to impacts and movements with sports participation. However, little is known about these adaptations in combat athletes. The aim of this study was to quantify bone mineral density [BMD], lean muscle mass [LMM] and punching and kicking power in amateur male combat athletes. Thirteen male combat athletes [lightweight and middleweight] volunteered all physiological tests including dual energy X-ray absorptiometry for bone mineral density [BMD] segmental body composition [lean muscle mass, LMM], muscle strength and striking power, sedentary controls [n=15] were used for selected DXA outcome variables. There were significant differences [p < 0.05] between combat groups for lumbar spine [+5.0%], dominant arm [+4.4%] BMD, and dominant and non-dominant leg LM [+21.8% and +22.6%]. Controls had significantly [p<0.05] high adiposity [+36.8% relative], VAT mass [+69.7%], VAT area [+69.5%], lower total body BMD [-8.4%] and lumbar spine BMD [-13.8%] than controls. No differences in lower limb BMD were seen in combat groups. Arm lean mass differences [dominant vs non-dominant] were significantly different between combat groups [p<0.05, 4.2% vs 7.3%]. There were no differences in punch/kick power [absolute or relative] between combat groups. 5RM strength [bench and squat] correlated significantly with upper limb striking power [r=.57], dominant and non-dominant leg BMD [r=.67, r=.70, respectively] and total body BMD [r=.59]. BMD and LMM appear to be particularly important to discriminate between dominant and non-dominant upper limbs and less so for lower limb dominance in recreational combat athletes.