Effects of an 8-Week In-Season Elastic Band Training Program on Explosive Muscle Performance, Change of Direction, and Repeated Changes of Direction in the Lower Limbs of Junior Male Handball Players


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Abstract

Aloui, G, Hammami, M, Fathloun, M, Hermassi, S, Gaamouri, N, Shephard, RJ, and Chelly, MS. Effects of an 8-week in-season elastic band training program on explosive muscle performance, change of direction, and repeated changes of direction in the lower limbs of junior male handball players. J Strength Cond Res 33(7): 1804–1815, 2019—The aim of this study was to examine the effects of incorporating 8 weeks of biweekly lower-limb elastic band training (knee and hip extension) into the in-season regimen of junior handball players. Study participants (30 men, aged 18.7 ± 0.8 years, body mass 81.1 ± 15.4 kg, height 1.82 ± 0.06 m, body fat: 15.5 ± 5.2%) were randomly assigned between control and experimental groups. Measures obtained before and after intervention included a cycle ergometer force-velocity test, force platform determinations of squat and countermovement jump characteristics, sprint times (5 and 30 m), repeated change-of-direction (RCOD) and change-of-direction (T-half, COD) tests, 1 repetition maximum (RM) half back squat, and anthropometric estimates of limb muscle volumes. Small to trivial improvements of experimental subjects relative to control subjects included peak power (p < 0.001), 1RM strength measures (p < 0.01), sprint times (p < 0.001 for 5 m; p < 0.05 for 30 m), COD (p < 0.01), and all RCOD parameters (p < 0.05) except the RCOD fatigue index. However, vertical jump parameters and limb volumes remained unchanged relative to controls. It may be concluded that adding biweekly elastic band training to a standard conditioning regimen yields small gains in measures that likely have an important influence on handball performance, particularly the ability to sprint, change direction, and make repeated changes of direction. Accordingly, such simple exercises can usefully be adopted as a component of handball training.

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