Cardiovascular, muscular, and skeletal adaptations to recreational team handball training: a randomized controlled trial with young adult untrained men

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Therese Hornstrup, Frederik Terkildsen Løwenstein, Mikkel Allerslev Larsen, Eva Wulff Helge, S Póvoas, Jørn Wulff Helge, Jens Jung Nielsen, Bjørn Fristrup, Jesper Løvind Andersen, Lasse Gliemann, Lars Nybo, Peter Krustrup

Purpose: The prevalence of lifestyle diseases has escalated, and effective exercise training programmes are warranted. This study tested the hypothesis that regular participation in small-sided team handball training could provide beneficial health effects on cardiovascular, skeletal, and muscular parameters in young adult untrained men.

Method: Twenty-six untrained 20-30-year-old men were randomly allocated to either a team handball training group (HG; n = 14), which completed 1.9 ± 0.3 training sessions per week over 12 weeks, or an inactive control group (CG; n = 12). Physiological training adaptations were assessed pre- and post interventions by DXA scans, blood samples, muscle biopsies, and physical tests.

Results: The average heart rate during training was equivalent to 84 ± 4% of maximal heart rate. Compared to CG, HG displayed significant increases in VO2max (11 ± 6%), proximal femur bone mineral density (2 ± 1%), whole-body bone mineral content (2 ± 1%), intermittent endurance performance (32 ± 16%), incremental treadmill test performance (16 ± 7%) and muscle citrate synthase activity (22 ± 28%) as well as decreases in total fat mass (7 ± 7%) and total fat percentage (6 ± 7%) (all p < 0.05). There were no significant changes in muscle mass, blood pressure, resting heart rate, muscle hydroxyl-acyl-dehydrogenase activity, or blood lipids (all p > 0.05).

Conclusion: Participation in regular recreational team handball training was associated with positive cardiovascular, skeletal, and muscular adaptations, including increased maximal oxygen uptake, increased muscle enzymatic activity, and improved bone mineralization as well as lower fat percentage. These findings suggest that recreational team handball training may be an effective health-promoting activity for young adult men.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Volume119
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)561-573
Number of pages13
ISSN1439-6319
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • The Faculty of Science - Ball games, Exercise training, Maximal oxygen uptake, Fat percentage, Bone mineralization, Bone markers, Muscle enzyme activity

ID: 209315378