Anthropometric, physiological, and psychological characteristics of Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes - A cross-sectional study
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Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is a modern martial art with roots in Japan and Brazil. Despite growing popularity, there is a paucity of studies on the sport and its athletes. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine anthropometrical, physiological, and psychological characteristics of BJJ practitioners. A total of 42 male athletes (age: 32 ± 6 years; height: 181.9 ± 7.2 cm; body mass (mb): 85.7 ± 10.6 kg) with 5.5 ± 3.7 years of BJJ training experience were recruited from the largest BJJ academy in the region. The subjects underwent segmental multifrequency bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to determine body composition, as well as physiological measurements of pulmonary function, maximal oxygen uptake (V̇ O2max), maximal strength, and muscular endurance. Additionally, achievement goal orientations and perceived motivational climate were assessed with the 3x2 Achievement Goal Questionnaire for Sport (3x2 AGQ-S) and the Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire-2 (PMCSQ-2), respectively. The average body fat percentage (BF) was 12.9 ± 5.3%; the subjects achieved a V̇ O2max of 50.6 ± 4.6 ml·kg-1·min-1; one-repetition maximum (1RM) in the squat and bench press was 113.2 ± 20.4 kg and 87.6 ± 16.5 kg, respectively; and they managed 9 ± 4 pull-ups. These characteristics were generally independent of rank, experience, weekly BJJ training volume and style preference. Measurements of achievement goal orientations indicate that the athletes emphasize mastery goals, with the highest scores on task-approach goals (5.91 ± 0.84) and self-approach goals (5.88 ± 1.10) (scale: 1 - 7). Moreover, the athletes perceived the training climate as significantly more mastery (3.99 ± 0.50) than performance (1.84 ± 0.41) oriented (p < 0.001) (scale: 1 - 5). These findings suggest that the training climate encourage adaptive patterns of behavior in the athletes, despite distinct performance components such as simulated combat (sparring) and objective assessment of skill level (belt promotion). This is the first study to describe physiological characteristics in a large BJJ population using gold standard measurements of cardiorespiratory fitness and maximal strength, and the first that investigates both achievement goals and motivational climate in the sport. These findings establish normative anthropometric, physiological, and psychological descriptions of this population that can be used as a foundation for athlete assessment, exercise prescription, and future research.