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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Jan 22

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.11850-X


language: English

Fitness profiles of elite male Italian teams handball players

Bruno RUSCELLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , Carlo CASTAGNA 1, 5, Riccardo CARBONARO 1, 5, Paolo R. GABRIELLI 1, 4, 5, Stefano D’OTTAVIO 1, 4, 5, 6

1 School of Sport Sciences and Exercise, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy; 2 School of Sports and Exercise Sciences, San Raffaele University, Rome, Italy; 3 Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy; 4 LUISS SportLab, LUISS University, Rome, Italy; 5 Italian Team Handball Federation - Federazione Italiana Giuoco Handball, Technical Department, Performance Unit, Rome, Italy; 6 Department of Clinical Science and Translational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to examine the fitness profile of Italian male national teams Team-Handball players of different competitive level.
METHODS: Forty-one male handball players from the Senior (n=21, height 1.90±0.06m, body mass 94.04±11.59kg, BMI 26.13±2.45) and the Junior (n=20, height 1.86±0.06m, body weight 84.99±12.52kg, BMI: 24.56±3.35) Italian National Teams participated in this study. Players were tested for lower and upper limbs muscle strength, change of direction ability and specific endurance. Lower limbs explosive strength was assessed with squat (SJ) countermovement (CMJ), stiff leg (Stiffness) jumps. Explosive strength was assessed by measuring kinematic aspects of squat and bench exercises. Change of Direction ability was assessed with the 505 test. The Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test (YYIR1) was considered for specific endurance.
RESULTS: Large and significant differences [d>1; partial ɳ2>0.14; p<0.01] between senior and junior national team players were found in anthropometrics, jumping, power, sprint, agility and aerobic fitness (junior body weight accounting for 10% less than the senior one, p=0.021; SJ and CMJ in juniors smaller than the seniors by 15% and 12%, p=0.000 and p=0.001 respectively). Similar differences were found among positional roles (goalkeepers, backs, centers, pivots, wings), suggesting practical implications for training.
CONCLUSIONS: Competitive level and playing role differences in relevant handball performance were reported in Italian national team players. The magnitude of the differences suggest the need of individual training approach when dealing with the young handball players.

KEY WORDS: Team sports; Testing; Talent; Explosive strength; Power; Change of direction; Intermittent recovery test

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