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Physical and physiological demands of elite team handball players

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The aim of this study was to analyse physical and physiological demands of elite team handball players. Nineteen men from a professional handball team played a simulated 30-min match in an outdoor sport facility. Instantaneous speed during the games was assessed using GPS devices and the number of body-impacts above 5-g was measured by accelerometry. Individual heart rate was also measured by using heart rate monitors. Handball players covered 94.0±7.7 m/min during the simulated match with a mean of 82.5±4.7 % of maximal heart rate. The average speed of the wingmen was significantly higher than pivots, centres and backcourt players (102.5±1.8 vs. 94.4±4.6, 92.6±1.0 and 86.1±6.0 m/min, respectively; P<0.05). Running pace at sprint speed (e.g.,<18 km/h) was on average 2.4±2.3 m/min but it was significantly higher in wingmen than in the remaining playing positions (4.5±2.4 vs 0.5±0.1, 2.4±1.7 and 1.3±1.0 m/min, respectively; P<0.05). The overall number of body-impacts was 13.6±7.7 per min of game with pivots being the players that presented the highest values (17.2±5.7 impacts/min; P<0.05). Physical demands of elite handball are primarily related to high-intensity actions, impacts and rapid recovery during the game. The training of elite handball players should be specific to the exercise actions performed during the game.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2014

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