Heart rate response during handball singles match-play and selected physical fitness components of experienced male handball players

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Publication Date


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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness


Exercise Science


Limited information is available concerning the exercise response during handball (HB) singles match-play. Also, few studies exist that have examined VO2 peak and body composition of HB players. The purpose of this study was to examine the heart rate (HR) response during match play and peak physiologic responses and relative fat in twelve experienced HB players. Peak physiologic responses were measured during treadmill running and body composition was assessed via hydrodensiotometry. During HB match-play, HR was measured and stored every five seconds using a Polar Vantage XL heart watch. Physical characteristics and peak physiologic responses included the following: Age (yrs) 47.2; BW (kg) 78.0; height (cm) 178.9; % fat 18.9; VO2 peak (ml.kg-1.min-1) 48.0; RER peak 1.03; HR peak (bpm) 183.1 and lactic acid peak (mmol.l-1) 10.3. During HB match-play, HR averaged 85% of peak during one hour of play. Moreover, 67% of match-play time, HR was > 80% of peak. When HR responses were examined over one hour of match-play (twelve, five minute blocks) only the first five minutes were significantly different (lower) than the other 55 minutes. The exercise intensity and the relatively stable HR response observed during HB suggests that this activity appears to be appropriate for meeting the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines to develop and maintain cardiorespiratory fitness.