Strength and Conditioning Training by the Danish National Handball Team Before an Olympic Tournament
Kvorning, T, Hansen, MRB, and Jensen, K. Strength and conditioning training by the Danish national handball team before an Olympic tournament. J Strength Cond Res 31(7): 1759–1765, 2017—The physical demands imposed on national team handball teams during the Olympics imply significant physical preparation to improve performance and reduce incidence of injuries. The purpose of this case report was to describe and analyze the strength and conditioning (S&C) training performed by the Danish national handball team before the Beijing Olympic Games. Eight weeks of S&C was divided into 5 weeks emphasizing muscle hypertrophy and long-interval running followed by 3 weeks emphasizing strength, power, and short-interval running. Body mass increased by 1.6% (p < 0.05), whereas body fat decreased by 1.0% (p < 0.05). No differences were seen in countermovement jump or jump-and-reach height (p > 0.05). Agility performance was evaluated by a T-test and improved by 2.5% (p < 0.05). Changes by 6% and 22% were seen in 1 repetition maximum (1RM) bench press and 1RM back squat, respectively. However, only the 1RM bench press increased significantly (p < 0.05). Running performance was tested by the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test, level 2, and improved by 25% (p < 0.05). In conclusion, during 8 weeks of S&C training before the Beijing Olympics, body composition changed toward more muscle mass, better upper-body strength, better interval running, and agility performance, whereas no changes were seen in jumping or lower-body muscle strength. This case report may be used as a handy script for handball teams preparing for competition. Detailed and periodized S&C training programs for 8 weeks are provided and can be used by teams ranging from moderately to highly trained.