This study was devised to measure certain physiological variables related to the energy requirement together with a match analysis during real Muay Thai matches. Twenty skilled male fighters were recruited and performed a laboratory incremental preliminary test to assess their maximum oxygen uptake and anaerobic threshold. They were then involved in real Muay Thai competitions. During matches heart rate (HR) and blood lactate (BLa) values were collected. Moreover, matches were filmed and analysed for subsequent determination of the techniques used. Differences between winners and losers were assessed. During matches HR was on average 178.9±0.3 bpm (i.e. close to the maximum level reached during the preliminary test), while BLa was 9.72±0.6 mmol.L-1. There was no difference in HR and BLa responses between winners and losers. Winners and losers used a similar number of techniques. However, the effectiveness of attacks was higher in winners. This investigation provides evidence that during Muay Thai the lactic anaerobic system is widely recruited and that the cardiovascular apparatus is highly stressed with no difference between winners and losers. Moreover, successful athletes use the same number of techniques as losers, although with greater effectiveness, thus indicating that the training strategy should aim at developing high technical skills.
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