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Cardiorespiratory responses to small Handball games

20 January 2009



Cardiorespiratory responses to small Handball games

J Sci Med Sport. 2009 May;12(3):399-405. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2007.11.007. Epub 2008 Mar 20.

Cardiorespiratory responses during running and sport-specific exercises in handball players.


Laboratoire de Recherche, EA 3300 (APS et conduites motrices: Adaptations Réadaptations), Faculté des Sciences du Sport d’Amiens, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Allée P. Grousset, 80025 Amiens Cedex 1, France.


To determine whether a 4-a-side handball (HB) game is an appropriate aerobic stimulus to reach and potentially enhance maximal oxygen uptake (V O(2)max), and whether heart rate (HR) is a valid index of V O(2) during a handball game. Nine skilled players (21.0+/-2.9 yr) underwent a graded maximal aerobic test (GT) where V O(2)max and HR-V O(2) relationship were determined. V O(2), HR and blood lactate ([La](b)) were recorded during a 2 x 225 s (interspersed with 30s rest) 4-a-side handball game and were compared to those measured during an 480-s running intermittent exercise (IE). Mean V O(2) tended to be higher in handball compared to IE (93.9+/-8.5 vs. 87.6+/-7.4% O(2)max, p=0.06), whereas HR was similar (92.3+/-4.9 vs. 93.9+/-3.9% of the peak of HR, p=0.10). [La](b) was lower for handball than for IE (8.9+/-3.5 vs. 11.6+/-2.1 mmol l(-1), p=0.04). Time spent over 90% of V O(2)max was higher for handball than for IE (336.1+/-139.6s vs. 216.1+/-124.7s; p=0.03). The HR-V O(2) relationship during GT was high (r(2)=0.96, p<0.001) but estimated V O(2) from HR was lower to that measured (p=0.03) in handball, whereas there was no difference in IE. 4-a-side handball game can be used as a specific alternative to IE for enhancing aerobic fitness in handball players. Nevertheless, the accuracy of HR measures for estimating V O(2) during handball is poor.

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