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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2006 Aug;16(4):267-73.

Neuromuscular fatigue and recovery in elite female handball players.

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The Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education, Oslo, Norway.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the degree of neuromuscular fatigue and recovery from fatigue, following handball training and handball matches at elite level. The focus was specifically on changes in physical performance when playing three matches over the course of 3 days, which simulates a sequence in international championships. Female players from the Norwegian national handball team were tested during a 5-day training camp (seven players) and a 3-day international tournament (eight players). Testing was done before and after training sessions and matches. Neuromuscular fatigue was measured as changes in voluntary isokinetic knee extensions, jump height in counter-movement jumps, and 20 m sprint time. The results showed a significant reduction by 2-6% in all three performance tests during the training camp and by 4-7% during the tournament (sprint and jump test) (P<0.05). Slow recovery was indicated by incomplete restoration of performance between matches and training sessions. The paper discusses the insufficient recovery measured related to handball performance. Because of changes in the rules of the game and strategic tendencies towards higher speed in play, the physical demands in elite handball seems to be increasing. The results of the study indicate that coaches should consider physical loading and recovery time available when distributing playing time between individual players in international tournaments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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