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J Obes. 2010;2010. pii: 672751. doi: 10.1155/2010/672751. Epub 2010 Jun 7.

Kung fu training improves physical fitness measures in overweight/obese adolescents: the "martial fitness" study.

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Exercise, Health & Performance Faculty Research Group, The University of Sydney, Lidcome, NSW 2141, Australia.



To examine the efficacy of a six-month Kung Fu (KF) program on physical fitness in overweight/obese adolescents.


Subjects were randomly assigned to the KF or sham exercise (Tai Chi, TC) control group. Physical measurements in cardiovascular fitness and muscle fitness occurred at baseline and after 6 months of training thrice weekly.


Twenty subjects were recruited. One subject was lost to follow-up, although overall compliance to the training sessions was 46.7 +/- 27.8%. At follow-up, the cohort improved in absolute upper (P = .002) and lower (P = .04) body strength, and upper body muscle endurance (P = .02), without group differences. KF training resulted in significantly greater improvements in submaximal cardiovascular fitness (P = .03), lower body muscle endurance (P = .28; significant 95% CI: 0.37-2.49), and upper body muscle velocity (P = .03) relative to TC training.


This short-term KF program improved submaximal cardiovascular fitness, lower body muscle endurance, and muscle velocity, in overweight/obese adolescents with very low baseline fitness.

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