Effects of adding a weekly eccentric-overload training session on strength and athletic performance in team-handball players

16th February 2017


To investigate the influence of adding a weekly eccentric-overload training (EOT) session in several athletic performance’s tests, 18 team-handball players were assigned either to an EOT (n = 11) or a Control (n = 7) group. Both groups continued to perform the same habitual strength training, but the EOT group added one session/week during a 7-week training programme consisting of four sets of eight repetitions for the bilateral half-squat and unilateral lunge exercises. The test battery included handball throwing velocity, maximum dynamic strength (1RM), countermovement jump (CMJ), 20 m sprint, triple hop for distance, and eccentric/concentric power in both the half-squat and lunge exercises. Data were analysed using magnitude-based inferences. Both groups improved their 1RM in the half squat, 20 m sprint time, and CMJ performance to a similar extent, but the EOT group showed a beneficial effect for both right [(42/58/0), possibly positive] and left [(99/1/0), very likely positive] triple hop for distance performance. In addition, the EOT group showed greater power output improvements in both eccentric and concentric phases of the half-squat (difference in percent of change ranging from 6.5% to 22.0%) and lunge exercises (difference in per cent of change ranging from 13.1% to 24.9%). Nevertheless, no group showed changes in handball throwing velocity. Selected variables related to team-handball performance (i.e. functional jumping performance, power output) can be improved by adding a single EOT session per week, highlighting the usefulness of this low-volume/high-intensity training when aiming at optimizing dynamic athletic performance.

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