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J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Mar;27(3):723-32. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825fe955.

Are there any differences in physical fitness and throwing velocity between national and international elite female handball players?

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Physical Education Department, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.


This study compared physical characteristics in a 2003 national elite female team (NE; n = 16; fourth in the Spanish Championship) to the same team when it reached international level in 2009 (IE; n = 14; winner of the Spanish Championship and the European Handball Cup). Body height, body mass, body fat, and fat-free mass, 1-repetition maximum bench press (1RMBP), vertical jumping height, handball throwing velocity, power-load relationship of the leg and arm extensor muscles, 5- and 15-m sprint running time, and running endurance were measured in the second competitive mesocycle of a season. Results revealed that, compared with NE, IE players presented similar values in body mass, body height, sprint running time, handball throwing velocity, and jumping, but higher values (p < 0.01-0.05) in age (17%), 1RMBP (15%), power-load relationship of the arm (16%), and leg (10%) extensors, and endurance running velocities (7%). Significant correlations (r = 0.71-0.72, p < 0.05) were observed in IE, but not in NE, between individual values of standing throw and individual values of power at 30% of 1RMBP, and individual values of power at 60% of body mass during half-squat actions. The present results suggest that more experienced, powerful and aerobically conditioned players are at an advantage in international-level female handball. The ball throwing velocity of international elite female handball players depends on their ability to produce muscle power at submaximal loads with the upper and lower extremities. However, in lower-level players, this depends on the level of performance at maximal strength of the upper extremities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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