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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 2, pp 561–573 | Cite as

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

  • Therese HornstrupEmail author
  • F. T. Løwenstein
  • M. A. Larsen
  • E. W. Helge
  • S. Póvoas
  • J. W. Helge
  • J. J. Nielsen
  • B. Fristrup
  • J. L. Andersen
  • L. Gliemann
  • L. Nybo
  • P. Krustrup
Original Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Ball games Exercise training Maximal oxygen uptake Fat percentage Bone mineralization Bone markers Muscle enzyme activity 

Abbreviations

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

BMD

Bone mineral density

BMC

Bone mineral content

CG

Control group

CS

Citrate synthase

CTX-1

Carboxy-terminal type-1 collagen crosslinks

DXA

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry

EDTA

Ethylenediaminetetraacetate acid

HAD

3-hydroxacyl-CoA dehydrogenase

HbA1c

Glycosylated haemoglobin

HDL-C

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol

HG

Handball training group

HR

Heart rate

IPAQ

International Physical Activity Questionnaire

LDL-C

Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

P1NP

Procollagen type-1 amino-terminal propeptide

TC

Total cholesterol

TG

Triglycerides

T2DM

Type 2 diabetes mellitus

VO2max

Maximal oxygen uptake

Yo–Yo IE1

Yo–Yo intermittent endurance level 1 test

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Jon Egelund, Marie Hagman, Signe Hudloff Nielsen, and Nadia Quardon for their practical and technical assistance, and the participants for their committed participation. We would also like to express our gratitude for the support of TrygFonden, Nordea-fonden (Nordea-fonden 02-2011-4360), the Danish Handball Federation (Dansk Håndbold Forbund, DHF), and the European Handball Federation (EHF).

Authors’ contributions

TH conceived of the study design, applied for funding, conducted the training and testing, carried out the data collection and analysis, interpreted the study results, and drafted the manuscript; FTL and MAL conducted the training and testing and carried out the data collection and analysis; EWH, JWH, SP, JLA, and LN contributed the study design, interpreted the study results, and edited the manuscript; BF conducted the training and carried out the video analysis; JJN carried out muscle analysis and edited the manuscript; LG carried out the muscle biopsies and edited the manuscript; PK conceived of the study design, applied for funding, interpreted the study results, and edited the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript, and agree with the order of presentation of the authors.

Compliance withe thical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that this study was partly funded by DHF and EHF. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Data

The datasets and analysis generated during the current study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Therese Hornstrup
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. T. Løwenstein
    • 1
  • M. A. Larsen
    • 1
  • E. W. Helge
    • 1
  • S. Póvoas
    • 2
  • J. W. Helge
    • 3
  • J. J. Nielsen
    • 1
  • B. Fristrup
    • 1
  • J. L. Andersen
    • 4
  • L. Gliemann
    • 1
  • L. Nybo
    • 1
  • P. Krustrup
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, Exercise and SportsUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen NDenmark
  2. 2.Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development, CIDESDUniversity Institute of Maia, ISMAIMaiaPortugal
  3. 3.Center for Healthy Aging, Department of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen NDenmark
  4. 4.Institute of Sports Medicine CopenhagenBispebjerg HospitalCopenhagen NVDenmark
  5. 5.Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, SDU Sport and Health Sciences Cluster (SHSC)University of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  6. 6.Sport and Health Sciences, Faculty of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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