Improving fitness of elite handball players: Small side games vs. high intensity intermittent training

Aim: The present study was designed to compare the effects of high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) and small sided games (SSG) on relevant fitness variables of elite handball players. Methods: Eighteen highly trained players (25.6 ± 0.5) were assigned to either an HIIT (N = 9) or an SSG (N = 9) group, who followed a training protocol twice per week for eight weeks. The HIIT consisted of 12-24 x 15s high-intensity running at 95% of the final speed reached at the end of the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (YYIR1) interspersed with 15s of passive recovery by walking; the SSG consisted of small-sided 3vs3 handball games matching for exercise duration and recovery at each training session. Before and after training, several performance variables were assessed by: 10m and 20m sprint time, agility through the handball agility specific test (HAST), upper arm maximal strength with 1RM bench press test, lower limb explosive power with countermovement jump (CMJ), aerobic fitness with the YO-YO intermittent recovery test level 1. Results: Significant improvements in all the assessed parameters were observed in both training groups. In addition, there was a significant improvement of the same parameters following the small side game when compared to the high intensity interval training. Discussion and Conclusions: Both HIIT and SSG were found to be effective training methods for elite handball players. However, SSG should be considered as the preferred training method due its higher game-based specificity and efficiency.
© Copyright 2014 The 3rd Wingate Congress of Exercise and Sport Sciences. Published by The Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sport. All rights reserved.

Subjects: handball high performance sport elite sport training method training means development physical conditioning ability performance performance development
Notations: sport games
Tagging: HIT
Published in: The 3rd Wingate Congress of Exercise and Sport Sciences
Editors: D. Hellerstein, A. Dunsky, Y. Hutzler
Published: Antalya The Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sport 2014
Pages: 43
Document types: congress proceedings
Language: English
Level: advanced