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Asian J Sports Med. 2015 Mar;6(1):e24712. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.24712. Epub 2015 Mar 1.

Physical Fitness Attributes of Team-Handball Players are Related to Playing Position and Performance Level.

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Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Lusofona University, Lisbon, Portugal ; CIPER Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Cruz-Quebrada, Portugal.
Physical Education and Sport School, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
CIPER Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Cruz-Quebrada, Portugal.



Investigations have reported differences amongst player position groups in elite team-Handball (HB) players. Nevertheless, studies with normative physical fitness data of the HB playing positions at more than two different levels of male HB players have not been reported yet.


This study aimed: 1) to describe and compare the physical fitness (PF) attributes of male HB players in different playing positions, and 2) to determine which combination of PF measures best discriminate the performance level groups in each one of the individual HB playing position groups.


One hundred and sixty-one male HB players participated in this study. The participants were divided into five playing position groups: 1) Goalkeeper (GK, n = 24), 2) Wing (W, n = 48), 3) Back left/right (BLR, n = 38), 4) Back center (BC, n = 29), 5) Pivot (Pi, n = 22), complementarily, performance level was recorded for each participant according to the national HB association, i.e. 1) Top Elite, 2) Moderate Elite, 3) Sub-Elite or, 4) Moderately Trained. Stature and body mass measures were taken from each HB player, and six fitness tests were performed (30 -m sprint, handgrip, vertical jumps-SJ and CMJ, sit-ups, and Yo-Yo IE2).


Significant differences were observed between HB playing position groups in body size, speed, and lower limb power and handgrip strength. Nevertheless, 1) the performance in Yo-Yo IE2 was the best measure to discriminate the performance level groups when considering the HB goalkeeper group, HB center back group, and HB pivot group; 2) the average leg power (in squat jump) and the number of executions in sit up test successfully discriminated HB wing performance level groups; and, 3) Stature, countermovement jump height and the position in the Yo-Yo IE2, successfully discriminated HB left/right back performance level groups.


It can be concluded that HB players profile, 1) differs according to HB playing position group, and, 2) for the same playing position group, it differs according to HB performance level. This study also demonstrated the influence of aerobic capacity for HB excellence, and according to playing positions.


Body Size; Fitness; Performance Level; Role; Team Handball

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