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Relationships Between Olympic Weightlifting Exercises, Peak Power


of the Upper and Lower Limb, Muscle Volume and Throwing Ball
Velocity in Elite Male Handball Players
Beziehungen zwischen der maximalen Beinkraft sowie der
maximalen Leistung der oberen und unteren Extremität, des
Muskelvolumens und der Wurfgeschwindigkeit bei
Elitehandballspielern

Authors
Souhail Hermassi1, Karl Stefan Delank2, Georg Fieseler3, Thomas Bartels4, Mohamed Souhaiel Chelly1, Riadh Khalifa1,
Kevin Laudner5, Stephan Schulze2, René Schwesig2

Affiliations Material und Methoden 30 professionelle Handballspieler

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1 Research Unit (UR17JS01) Sport Performance, Health & nahmen an der Untersuchung teil (Alter: 20,3 ± 2,1 Jahre;
Society, Sport Performance & Health, Higher Institute of Gewicht: 82,5 ± 10,5 kg; Größe: 1,85 ± 0,07 m; Körperfett:
Sport and Physical Education, Ksar-Saîd, University of 13,1 ± 2,1 %). Die Ergometrietests der oberen und unteren
“La Manouba”, Tunis, Tunisia Extremität wurden auf einem modifizierten Ergometer
2 Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Monark-cycle) unter Messung der PPUL und PPLL durchge-
3 Helios Klinikum Warbung führt. Hierbei wurden die maximalen Kräfte und Geschwindig-
4 SportsClinic Halle keiten ermittelt. Das 1RM wurde für die Testübungen olympis-
5 Illinois State University ches Gewichtheben/Reißen (SN) sowie Umsetzen und Stoßen
(CJ) bestimmt. Die maximalen Wurfgeschwindigkeiten wurden
Key words
für 3 Wurftypen (Sprungwurf, Schlagwurf aus dem Stand,
force velocity test, weightlifting exercises, muscle volume,
Schlagwurf aus der Bewegung (3 Schritte) mit Stemmschritt)
upper limbs, lower limbs
gemessen. Überdies erfolgte die Messung der Muskelvolumina.
Schlüsselwörter Ergebnisse Die Maximalkraftleistung in der Testübung Um-
Ergometertest, Krafttraining, Muskelvolumen, untere Extre- setzen und Stoßen erwies sich als wichtigster Prädiktor für
mität, obere Extremität die Wurfgeschwindigkeit. Alle Wurftypen korrelierten hoch
mit den Maximalkraftparametern (Sprungwurf: r = 0,75;
Bibliography Schlagwurf/Stand: r = 0,62; Schlagwurf/Bewegung: r = 0,66).
DOI https://doi.org/10.1055/a-0625-8705 Die höchste Korrelation ließ sich für die Parameter Sprung-
Sportverl Sportschad wurf und SN berechnen (r = 0,82). Das Muskelvolumen der
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG, Stuttgart · New York oberen Extremität korrelierte hoch mit der PPUL (r = 0,70).
ISSN 0932-0555 Im Gegensatz dazu fanden sich keine vergleichbaren Bezie-
hungen zur unteren Extremität (Muskelvolumen untere Extre-
Correspondence
mität vs. PPUL: r = 0,07).
Prof. René Schwesig
Schlussfolgerung Die Ergebnisse bekräftigen die Notwen-
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
digkeit eines Maximalkrafttrainings im Bereich der oberen
Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery,
und unteren Extremität zum Zwecke der Erhöhung der Wurf-
Ernst-Grube-Str. 40, 06120 Halle, Germany
geschwindigkeit. Für die Trainingspraxis ergibt sich die Emp-
Tel.: ++ 49/3 45/5 57 13 17
fehlung, spezifische Kräftigungsprogramme in das Handball-
Fax: ++ 49/3 45/5 57 48 99
training zu integrieren.
rene.schwesig@uk-halle.de
ABSTR AC T
Z US A M M E N FA SS U N G
Background This study aimed to investigate relationships be-
Fragestellung Ziel der Studie war es, die Beziehungen zwi-
tween peak power (PP) as measured by upper limb (PPUL) and
schen der maximalen Ergometerleistung der oberen (PPUL)
lower limb (PPLL) force velocity tests, maximal upper limb force
und unteren (PPLL) Extremität und der Maximalkraft (Umset-
assessed by clean and jerk (1RMCJ) and snatch (1RMSE) exerci-
zen und Stoßen, olympisches Gewichtheben: Reißen) zur Wurf-
ses, estimates of local muscle volume and throwing ball velocity.
geschwindigkeit und zum lokalen Muskelvolumen aufzuklären.

Hermassi S et al. Relationships Between Olympic… Sportverl Sportschad


Originalarbeit

Methods Thirty elite male handball players volunteered for Results The 1RM CJ proved to be the most important predictor
the investigation (age: 20.3 ± 2.1 years; body mass: 82.5 for throwing velocity. All types of throwing showed a high cor-
± 10.5 kg; height: 1.85 ± 0,07 %; body fat: 13.1 ± 2.1 %). Lower relation with this parameter (JS: r = 0.75; TW: r = 0.62; T3 step:
and upper limb force velocity tests were performed on appro- r = 0.66). The highest relation was detected between jump shot
priately modified forms of a Monark cycle ergometer with and 1RM snatch technique (r = 0.82). The PPUL muscle volume
measurement of PPUL and PPLL, and the corresponding re- correlated highly with PPUL absolute power (r = 0.70). In con-
spective maximal forces (F0UL and F0LL) and velocities (V0UL trast, we did not find any comparable relations for the lower
and V0LL). Snatched (SN) and clean and jerk (CJ) exercises limb (muscle volume vs. PPUL absolute power: r = 0.07).
were performed to one repetition maximum (1RM). Handball Conclusions Our results highlight the contribution of both
throwing velocity was measured with jump shot (JS) without lower and upper limbs to handball throwing velocity, suggest-
run-up (TW) and 3 steps shot (T3 step). Muscle volumes of ing the need for coaches to include upper and lower limb
the upper and lower limbs were estimated with a standard strength weightlifting exercises and power programs when
anthropometric kit. improving the throwing velocity of handball players.

been adopted internationally for comparing performances


Introduction
in weightlifting [16].
Handball is a strenuous contact sport that emphasizes running, To our knowledge, few studies have examined the relationship
jumping, sprinting, throwing, hitting, blocking and pushing [1, 2]. between ball throwing performances in elite team-handball play-

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The success of throwing ball velocity is influenced by its accuracy ers with indices of dynamic strength. No one has previously stud-
[3] and ball velocity [1, 4 – 6]. Toyoshima et al. [7] have shown that ied the Olympic weightlifting exercises and power of the upper
53 % of the velocity of the overhand throws could be attributed to and lower limbs in relation to handball throwing.
arm action, while the remaining 47 % was due to the step and body Chelly et al. [9] demonstrated that substantial relationship be-
rotation. tween the peak power of both upper and lower limb muscles and
Basic (body mass, body height and body mass index) and maximum handball throwing velocity. But the limits of this study
specific (hand) anthropometric characteristics are important to were a relatively small sample size, which may have influenced the
technical and tactical skills [8 – 10], but elite performance also de- magnitude of the correlations that we observed, although the in-
mands dynamic strength and power in both the upper and the traclass correlations show that our subjects yielded very consis-
lower limb muscles [6]. An early study demonstrated the relation- tent performances. Also, the parallel between the lower limb
ship of handball throwing velocity to upper extremity isokinetic muscles used in throwing and those used during the lower limb
torque [9, 11]. More recently, greater medicine ball throw scores ergometer test is also necessarily slightly limited.
were noted in girls and boys selected for handball teams relative The aim of our study was thus to check relationships between
to those who were not selected [12]. handball throwing velocity and selected measure of lower and up-
Throwing performance is thus a key to success [1, 11], with per limb muscle power and Olympic weightlifting strength exerci-
maximal isometric strength serving as one laboratory correlate of ses. Our hypothesis was that both, the upper and lower limbs
throwing velocity in both sexes [3, 6]. would make significant contributions to such performance.
Nevertheless, isometric testing is a less than optimal method of
evaluating a dynamic act such as handball throwing, and it could
underestimate the potential performance of the muscles involved. Methods
Others have examined relationships between ball throwing velo-
city and the strength, power and bar velocity of the upper extre- Participants
mity as measured in concentric-only bench press exercises [9, 13].
The study was reviewed and approved by the Institute’s Commit-
Furthermore, weightlifting is not a pure strength sport but is
tee on Research for the Medical Sciences. The coach and parents
influenced by technique factors [14, 15], and may be better char-
were informed about the various tests to be performed, and the
acterized as a strength–speed sport in which the ability to produce
experimental risks. Written informed consent was obtained from
a very high peak power is the major factor determining success
players over 20 years of age, and both parental/guardian and sub-
[14, 15]. In any case, it is clear that maximum strength (or peak
ject consent were obtained for those under 20 years of age.
power) and weightlifting performance among athletes with widely
All thirty participants were male players in the top national
varying body masses is not a linear function [14]. In an attempt to
Tunisian handball league, and all had trained for 8 or more years
ascertain the relationship between maximum strength and
(9.9 ± 0.8 years). They had also been injury free for two or more
weightlifting ability independent of body mass/size influences,
years prior to testing. Their physical characteristics are summar-
various scaling models have been developed, including: body
ized in ▶ Table 1. All had experience of upper limb strength train-
mass and lean body mass scaling, allometric scaling (i. e., the
ing and were familiar with the bench press and pull-over tech-
two-thirds power law: load (body mass), scaling by height [16].
niques. All tests were performed mid-season (third week of
Currently, the Sinclair formula is the scaling method that has

Hermassi S et al. Relationships Between Olympic… Sportverl Sportschad


tripod 3 m above and parallel to the edge of the adapted chair.
▶ Table 1 Physical characteristics of the male handball players
Data processing software (Regavi & Regressi, Micrelec, Coulom-
studied.
miers, France) converted measures of handball displacement to
velocities.
parameters mean (±SD) (n = 30)

Force-velocity test
age (years) 20.3 ± 2.1
Force–velocity measurements for the lower limbs were per-
body mass (kg) 82.5 ± 10.5
formed on a standard Monark cycle ergometer (model 894 E,
body height (m) 1.85 ± 0,07
Monark Exercise AB, Vansbro, Sweden) [9]. In brief, the instanta-
body fat (%) 13.1 ± 2.1 neous maximal pedalling velocity during a 7-second all-out sprint
lower limb length (m) 0.86 ± 0.13 was determined for each braking force, and the participant was
lower limb muscle volume (l) 10.7 ± 0.8 judged to have reached peak power (Wpeak) if an additional load
upper limb length (m) 0.58 ± 0.06
induced a decrease in power output. The upper limbs were tested
using an appropriately modified cycle ergometer [9]. The param-
upper limb muscle volume (l) 3.4 ± 0.7
eters measured included Wpeak, the maximal pedalling force for
the upper and the lower limbs (F0UL and F0LL) and the maximal ped-
alling velocity for the upper and lower limbs (V 0UL and V0LL) [9].
December), with laboratory visits in the morning. Three goalkeep-
The upper limb tests began with a braking force equal to 1.5 % of
ers were excluded from our analyses.
the participant’s body mass [9]. After a 5-minute recovery, the
braking was increased in sequence to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 %
Study Design

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of the individual’s body mass. A comprehensive description of
Subjects were given standardized instructions and verbal encour- the force–velocity tests is available elsewhere [9].
agement in all tests, which were preceded by a standardized
warm up. Our aim was to examine relationships between a move 1RM clean and jerk
typical of handball play (jump shot, 3-step running shot) and
In the execution of the Olympic clean and jerk, the lifter lifts the
selected measures of upper and lower limb muscle Olympic
loaded barbell with a shoulder wide grip from the starting posi-
weightlifting strength exercises (i. e., clean and jerk (1RMCJ) and
tion from the platform with one movement on to the chest with
Snatch exercises (1RMSE)), peak power and muscle volume. The
a knee bend. From this low squat position the lifter has to stand
peak power (PP) of the upper and the lower limbs was assessed
up. Thereafter he has to lift the loaded barbell on to the straight
by appropriate force-velocity tests, using a suitably adapted cycle
arms to the final position with the barbell overhead [18].
ergometer; additional data from these tests included maximum
force (N) and maximum velocity (rpm). Such assessments are
1RM snatch
related to javelin performance [9], which bears many similarities
with T3-Step. Muscle volume, which is well recognized as a determi- The lifter has to lift the loaded barbell upwards with a wide grip
nant of anaerobic muscle power, was assessed for both upper and from the starting position from the platform with one movement
lower limbs using an anthropometric method [13]. Maximal arm on to the straight arms with a knee bend at the final position with
strength was also assessed by 1RM hang power clean and 1RM the barbell overhead. Thereafter the lifter stands up from the low
snatch technique, as commonly used in field evaluations of Olym- squat position to a standing position. After some warm-up lifts
pic weightlifting strength training [14]. with lower weights the subjects performed the following lifts: 2 at
70 %, 2 at 80 %, 1 at 90 %, 1 at 95 %, 2 – 3 at 100 % of the 1RM [24].
Handball throwing test
Anthropometry
Specific explosive strength production in handball was evaluated
on an indoor handball court by a standing shot (penalty shot), a Circumferences and skin-fold thickness at different levels of the
3-step running shot and a free shot. After a 10 minute standard- thigh and the calf, the arm and the forearm, the length of the low-
ized warm-up, subjects threw a standard handball (mass 480 g, er and upper limb, and the breadth of the humeral and femoral
circumference 58 cm). Each subject continued until three correct condyles were measured to estimate the muscle volume of the
throws had been recorded, up to a maximum of three sets of upper and lower limbs, as described previously [19, 20].
three consecutive shots. A one- to two-minute rest was allowed Muscle volumes were estimated as:
between sets of shots and 10 – 15 seconds between two shots in Muscle volume = total limb volume – (fat volume + bone volume)
the same set. In the jump shot, players made a preparatory 3-step The total limb volume was estimated as the volume of a cylin-
run before jumping vertically and releasing the ball while in the air, der, based on its length (L), corresponding to the distance from
behind a line 9 m from the goal. In RT, players took a preparatory the acromion to the minimum wrist circumference for the upper
run limited to three regular steps before releasing the ball, behind limb, and from the trochanter major to the lateral malleolus for
the line, 9 m from the goal. Throwing time was recorded with an the lower limb, and the mean of five limb circumferences (axilla,
accuracy of 1 ms, using a digital video camera (HVR to A1U DV maximum relaxed biceps, minimum above the elbow, maximum
Camcorder; Sony, Tokyo, Japan). The camera was positioned on a over the relaxed forearm, and minimum above the styloid process

Hermassi S et al. Relationships Between Olympic… Sportverl Sportschad


Originalarbeit

for the upper limb, and maximal thigh, mid-thigh, just below the Results
patella, maximal calf and just above the ankle for the lower limb)
according to the formula: All selected parameters (5) displayed an excellent relative reliabil-
Total limb volume = (∑C2) ∙ L/62.8 ity (ICC≥ 0.75). The ICC varied from 0.94 (peak power upper limb)
where ∑C2 is the sum of the squares of the five circumferences to 1.00 (3 steps shot, peak power lower limb). 80 % (4/5) param-
of the corresponding limb. eters also showed an excellent absolute reliability, with a CV < 5 %
Skin folds were assessed using a standard Harpenden caliper (▶ Table 2). Only the peak power upper limb parameter showed a
(Baty International, Burgess Hill, Sussex, UK). The fat volume was weaker absolute reliability (CV = 7.2, CI: 5.9 – 10.1).
calculated as: The SEM ranged from 0 m/s for 3-steps shot and 0 W for peak
(∑C/5) ∙ (∑S/2n)L power lower limb to 22.3 W for peak power upper limb.
where ∑S is the sum of three skin folds for the upper limb (bi- 23 % (9/39) correlations between Olympic weightlifting exer-
ceps, triceps and mid-forearm), or four skin folds for the lower cises, peak power of the upper and lower limb muscles and throw-
limb (front of mid-thigh, back of mid-thigh, back of calf and out- ing performance parameters were relevant (r≥ 0.5; ▶ Table 3).
side of calf) and “n” represents the number of skin folds measured The relationships between parameters ranged from r = 0.05
on each limb. (jump shot/ peak power lower limb) to r = 0.82 (jump shot/ 1RM
Standard equations were used to predict body fat from the bi- Snatch Technique). All correlations to throwing performances are
ceps, triceps, subscapular, and suprailiac skinfold readings [21]: summarized in ▶ Table 3.
% Body fat = a. log (∑ 4 folds) – b. This corresponds to an explained variance of 67 % (1RM Snatch
where ∑S is the sum of the four skinfold readings (in mm), and Technique) and 0 % (peak power lower limb; ▶ Table 3).
a and b are constants dependent on sex and age. The parameter 1RM clean and jerk consistently proved to be
the most important predictor for throwing performance. All types

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Bone volume was calculated as:
π ∙ (F ∙ D)2∙ L of throwing showed a high correlation with this parameter (jump
where D is the humeral or femoral intercondylar diameter, F is shot: r = 0.75 (▶ Fig. 1a); shot without run-up: r = 0.62 (▶ Fig. 2a);
a geometric factor (0.21 for the upper limb or 0.235 for the lower 3-steps shot: r = 0.66 (▶ Fig. 1b); ▶ Table 3).
limb), and L is the limb length as measured above. Regarding 1RM clean and jerk, we calculated high relations to
peak power of upper limb (r = 0.74; ▶ Fig. 1c), of upper limb
Statistical analysis (r = 0.70; ▶ Fig. 1 d) and peak power of lower limb (r = 0.72;
▶ Fig. 2b).
Test-retest reliability was assessed using ICC and standard error of
In contrast, the relation between 1RM clean and jerk and velocity
mean SEM) [22]. Interpretation of ICC values was based on guide-
of lower limb was much lower (r = 0.13; ▶ Fig. 2c).
lines provided by Portney and Watkins [23], where a value above
The PPUL muscle volume correlated high with PPUL absolute
0.75 was classified as good or excellent reliability, while those
power (r = 0.70). In contrast, we could not find comparable rela-
below 0.75 are indicative of poor to moderate reliability [23].
tions for the lower limb (PPLL muscle volume vs. PP UL absolute
SEM was reported in conjunction with the ICC’s using the formula:
power: r = 0.07).
SEM = standard deviation √1− r [22, 24]. 95 % limits of agreement
(LOA) were calculated using the formula: 95 % LOA = mean differ-
ence ± 2SD [22, 24]. The coefficient of variation (CV) was derived
from log-transformed data [25]. The 95 % confidence intervals
Discussion
were also calculated for each CV and ICC. Our main purpose was to examine relationships between throw-
Descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation (SD), mini- ing ball velocity and muscle strength and power, examining peak
mum, maximum, 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI)) were ascer- power and muscle volumes for both the upper and lower limbs,
tained for all variables. and also the maximal strength of the arms as seen in the 1RMCJ
Pearson’s product moment correlations and linear regression and 1RMST field tests. The hypothesis that both upper and lower
analysis (method: inclusion) were calculated and used to deter- limbs contributed to throwing performance, was confirmed. All
mine the relationship between throwing performance parameters types of throwing showed a high correlation with this parameter
(dependent variable) and upper and lower limb performance (JS: r = 0.75; TW: r = 0.62; T3-Step: r = 0.66). The highest relation was
parameters (independent variable) related to team-handball. The detected between jump shot and 1RM snatch technique
95 % confidence intervals were calculated for each m of the linear (r = 0.82). The PPUL muscle volume correlated high with PPUL abso-
regression equation. The following criteria were adopted for inter- lute power (r = 0.70). In contrast, we could not find the same for
preting the magnitude of correlation (r) between the measures: the lower limb (r = 0.07). This seems the first investigation to de-
< 0.1: trivial; 0.1 – 0.3: small; 0.3 – 0.5: moderate; 0.5 – 0.7: large; monstrate the substantial contribution of Olympic weightlifting
0.7 – 0.9: very large; and 0.9 – 1.0: almost perfect. exercises to the throwing velocity of handball players. It would
All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS version 25.0 seem advantageous to add such resistance exercise in other
for Windows (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). strength training programs to improve the dynamic strength,
handball throwing velocity in male handball players.

Hermassi S et al. Relationships Between Olympic… Sportverl Sportschad


▶ Table 2 Comparison of test measurements obtained from the two testing sessions for handball players (n = 30). Descriptive statistics (mean ± SD)
and intrarater reliability analysis calculated for each parameter are presented. ICC ≥ 0.75 and CV ≤ 5 % are highlighted in bold.

test session one session two ICC (95 % CI) SEM CV (%) (95 % CI)
mean ± SD mean ± SD

jump shot (m/s) 33.6 ± 5.07 33.3 ± 4.92 0.99 (0.99 – 1.00) 0.50 1.6 (1.3 – 2.2)
shot without run-up (m/s) 31.0 ± 9.00 30.6 ± 8.69 0.99 (0.98 – 1.00) 0.89 4.4 (3.6 – 6.1)
3 steps shot (m/s) 37.0 ± 6.04 37.2 ± 5.80 1.00 (0.99 – 1.00) 0 1.5 (1.2 – 2.0)
peak power upper limb (W) 437 ± 92.2 442 ± 89.6 0.94 (0.88 – 0.97) 22.3 7.2 (5.9 – 10.1)
peak power lower limb (W) 801 ± 162 792 ± 161 1.00 (0.99 – 1.00) 0 1.7 (1.2 – 2.3)

1RM clean and jerk and 1RM Snatch and their relation- In our investigation, we measured the 1RM clean and jerk and
ships to throwing velocity 1RM Snatch Techniqueas dependent variables. In addition, we
adopted a simultaneous dynamic eccentric-concentric upper
Competitive performance in handball depends not only on
limb muscle contraction. To our knowledge, the relationships of
strength, but also on the ability to exert force at the speed requir-
throwing ball velocity (jump shot (JS), without run-up (TW) and
ed by this discipline. Several recent studies of elite male handball
3 steps shot (3ST)) and Olympic Weightlifting exercises (i. e.,
players [4, 6, 9] investigated the relationships of throwing velocity

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1RM clean and jerk and 1RM Snatch Technique) as measured
to bar velocity and bar power during bench press or half squat.
with a simultaneous dynamic eccentric-concentric contraction as
Gorostiaga et al. [6] reported a close relationship between 3-step
a weightlifters exercises have not been described previously.
running velocity and the bar velocity at 30 % of 1RMBP (r = 0.72),
Moreover, the CJ exercise, although rarely measured in hand-
with a moderate relationship to power at 100 % of body mass in
ball studies, is rather specific to the actions of handball activities.
the half squat exercise (r = 0.62). A close relationship between
Our results suggest that the simple measurements of 1RM CJ and
standing throwing velocity and 1RMBP (r = 0.80) was also reported.
1RM Snatch could be useful tools for the handball coach, since
Moreover, throwing velocities showed moderate relationships
these two exercises are often used in resistance strength training
with the bench press bar velocity and the power achieved at
programs. Regular use of clean and jerk and snatch exercises
38 %, 52 % and 52 %, 67 % of body mass respectively [4]. Chelly et
could form an important component of a resistance training
al. [9] reported a moderate relationship between 3-steps to
program designed to increase the throwing velocity of handball
1RMbench press and 1RM pull over (r = 0.56; r = 0.55, respectively). How-
players. This merits testing by further prospective research.
ever, contrary to what was reported in these studies Bayios et al.
[26] reported that the relationship between isokinetic strength of
Force-velocity test parameters and their relationship
internal rotation (IR) and external rotation (ER) of the shoulder
with throwing velocity
and ball velocity was in general, not statistically significant for all
speeds, types of shot and groups tested. The only exceptions were PPUL and PPLL values (▶ Table 3) were relatively weak in compa-
for the IR at 180 (p = 0.029) and 300 (p = 0.048) deg/sec at the rison with the findings in male handball players [9], where PP LL
vertical jump throw and for the external/internal ratio at 60 and PPUL averaged 898 and 463 W, respectively. On average, our
(p = 0.038) and 180 (p = 0.037) deg/sec at the same throw. handball players developed about 98 and 26 W less power than
Nevertheless, it is difficult to compare these results with our the handball players in their upper and lower limb muscles,
findings, because of differences in methodology and the type of respectively [9]. Given that both subject groups were in the
ergometer that was used. The studies cited used a rotary encoder juniors category, this difference seems related to the ranking level
linked to the end of the bar to record bar displacement, average practiced. Chelly et al. [9] noted significant correlations ball veloc-
velocity and average power of the bar. Moreover all of these param- ity performance and the PP of both the upper and lower limb mus-
eters were only assessed during a concentric bench press exercise. cles, using an identical force-velocity protocol. Their findings
There is only one study which has examined the above relation- seem in agreement with our results, as we found significant corre-
ship also in team handball throwing [9]. Based on the observation lations only between PPUL to JS, TW and T3-Step (r = 0.50; r = 0.61;
that set shot throwing in handball is quite similar to javelin throw- r = 0.39, respectively) (▶ Table 3).
ers, with possible differences being due to ball size and weight, Although V0 was determined during force-velocity testing, our
Chelly et al. [9] studied the throwing motion in handball with data support the view that in handball PPUL found significant cor-
high-speed, two-plane, synchronized camera. They tested their relations with JS, TW and T3-Step shot (r = 0.45, r = 0.43, r = 0.66,
team handball players only at high speeds (180, 240 and 300 respectively) (▶ Table 3) are the primary determinants of throw-
deg/sec) and one types of shot (3-step running handball throwing ing velocity. When throwing at high velocity, critical factors are
velocity). Their results showed a significant correlation only be- the ability to transfer the momentary impulse of power from the
tween T 3-Steps related to 1RM BP and 1RM PO (r = 0.56, r = 0.55, lower body to the upper body and then to the ball during the
respectively). release transmit. This ability is closely correlated with competitive

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▶ Table 3 Descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients and linear regression analysis for/between throwing performances and the measured variables
(n = 30).

throwing performance – jump shot (33.6 ± 5.07 m/s)


parameter descriptive statistics correlation linear regression
mean ± SD r p equation (CI for m) r2
1RM clean and jerk (kg) 72.4 ± 13.8 0.75 < 0.001 y = 0.28*x + 13.7 0.18 – 0.37 0.56
1RM Snatch Technique (kg) 79.7 ± 15.6 0.82 < 0.001 y = 0.27*x + 12.5 0.19 – 0.34 0.67
body mass (kg) 82.6 ± 10.5 0.18 0.340 y = 0.09*x + 26.5 – 0.10 – 0.27 0.03
peak power upper limb (W) 437 ± 92.2 0.50 0.005 y = 0.03*x + 21.6 0.01 – 0.05 0.25
peak power upper limb (W/kg) 5.32 ± 1.06 0.42 0.022 y = 2.00*x + 23.0 0.32 – 3.69 0.18
peak power upper limb (rpm) 186 ± 26.2 0.45 0.012 y = 0.09*x + 17.3 0.02 – 0.15 0.21
peak power upper limb (N) 141 ± 50.0 0.30 0.012 y = 0.09*x + 17.3 0.02 – 0.15 0.09
muscle volume upper limb (l) 3.40 ± 0.70 0.38 0.034 y = 1.31*x + 19.4 0.11 – 2.50 0.15
peak power lower limb (W) 801 ± 162 0.54 0.002 y = 0.02*x + 20.1 0.01 – 0.03 0.29
peak power lower limb (W/kg) 9.82 ± 2.14 0.38 0.038 y = 0.90*x + 24.8 0.05 – 1.75 0.15
peak power lower limb (rpm) 193 ± 14.7 0.15 0.441 y = –0.05*x + 43.4 – 0.18 – 0.08 0.02

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peak power lower limb (N) 140 ± 27.1 0.05 0.814 y = –0.01*x + 34.8 – 0.08 – 0.06 0.00
muscle volume of lower limb (l) 10.7 ± 0.8 0.13 0.508 y = 0.76*x + 25.5 – 1.56 – 3.08 0.02
throwing performance – shot without run-up (31.0 ± 9.00 m/s)
1RM clean and jerk (kg) 72.4 ± 13.8 0.62 < 0.001 y = 0.41*x + 1.56 0.21 – 0.61 0.39
1RM Snatch Technique (kg) 79.7 ± 15.6 0.34 0.070 y = 0.19*x + 15.6 – 0.02 – 0.40 0.11
body mass (kg) 82.6 ± 10.5 0.37 0.046 y = 0.31*x + 5.06 0.01 – 0.62 0.14
peak power upper limb (W) 437 ± 92.2 0.61 < 0.001 y = 0.06*x + 4.90 0.03 – 0.09 0.37
peak power upper limb (W/kg) 5.32 ± 1.06 0.44 0.014 y = 3.76*x + 11.0 0.81 – 6.72 0.20
peak power upper limb (rpm) 186 ± 26.2 0.43 0.018 y = 0.15*x + 3.54 0.03 – 0.27 0.19
peak power upper limb (N) 141 ± 48.0 0.49 0.006 y = 0.09*x + 17.9 0.03 – 0.16 0.24
muscle volume upper limb (l) 3.40 ± 0.70 0.56 0.001 y = 3.33*x –5.32 1.41 – 5.24 0.31
peak power lower limb (W) 801 ± 162 0.36 0.051 y = 0.02*x + 15.0 0.00 – 0.04 0.13
peak power lower limb (W/kg) 9.82 ± 2.14 0.13 0.499 y = 0.54*x + 25.7 – 1.08 – 2.15 0.02
peak power lower limb (rpm) 193 ± 14.7 0.15 0.417 y = –0.09*x + 12.8 – 0.14 – 0.33 0.02
peak power lower limb (N) 140 ± 27.1 0.11 0.561 y = –0.04*x + 25.8 – 0.09 – 0.17 0.01
muscle volume of lower limb (l) 10.7 ± 0.84 0.32 0.087 y = 3.41*x –5.60 – 0.53 – 7.34 0.10
throwing performance – three steps shot (37.0 ± 6.04 m/s)
1RM clean and jerk (kg) 72.4 ± 13.8 0.66 < 0.001 y = 0.29*x + 16.2 0.16 – 0.42 0.43
1RM Snatch Technique (kg) 79.7 ± 15.6 0.30 0.103 y = 0.12*x + 27.6 – 0.03 – 0.26 0.09
body mass (kg) 82.6 ± 10.5 0.17 0.382 y = 0.10*x + 29.2 – 0.12 – 0.31 0.03
peak power upper limb (W) 437 ± 92.2 0.39 0.032 y = 0.03*x + 25.8 0.00 – 0.05 0.15
peak power upper limb (W/kg) 5.32 ± 1.06 0.33 0.078 y = 1.87*x + 27.1 – 0.23 – 3.96 0.11
peak power upper limb (rpm) 186 ± 26.2 0.66 < 0.001 y = 0.15*x + 8.77 0.09 – 0.22 0.44
peak power upper limb (N) 141 ± 48.0 0.32 0.084 y = 0.094x + 31.3 – 0.01 – 0.09 0.10
muscle volume upper limb (l) 3.40 ± 0.70 0.24 0.193 y = 0.98*x + 26.3 – 0.53 – 2.48 0.06
peak power lower limb (W) 801 ± 162 0.46 0.010 y = 0.02*x + 23.1 0.01 – 0.03 0.22
peak power lower limb (W/kg) 9.82 ± 2.14 0.32 0.080 y = 0.92*x + 28.0 – 0.12 – 1.95 0.11
peak power lower limb (rpm) 193 ± 14.7 0.19 0.312 y = –0.08*x + 21.9 – 0.08 – 0.23 0.04
peak power lower limb (N) 140 ± 27.1 0.28 0.142 y = –0.06*x + 45.6 – 0.14 – 0.02 0.08
muscle volume of lower limb (l) 10.7 ± 0.84 0.23 0.229 y = 1.63*x + 19.5 – 1.08 – 4.34 0.05

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▶ Fig. 1 a Relationship between throwing velocity of jump shot and maximal strength of clean and jerk. b Relationship between velocity with 3-steps
shot and maximal strength of clean and jerk. c Relationship between peak power of upper limb and maximal strength of clean and jerk. d Relationship
between maximal pedaling velocity of upper limb and maximal strength of clean and jerk.

performance [27]. The upper limb muscles of our subjects showed Nevertheless, one would not expect a precise prediction of
at least as much hypertrophy as the lower limbs relative to handball throwing ability from measurements of PPLL during er-
untrained young adults, although the greatest part of the total gometer cranking. Both upper and lower limb cranking are essen-
impulse was derived from the powerful muscles of the lower limbs, tially cyclic movements, whereas throwing reflects the power out-
and the ability to develop a large force in the lower limbs (F LL0) put obtained from a single whole body movement. Moreover,
seems important in this regard. This assumption is supported by Hawley et al. [17] found a correlation coefficient of 0.63 between
the early study of Fleck et al. [11], who noted the greater distance the peak power of the upper limbs as evaluated by the Wingate
thrown in a set shot, when the feet were in contact with the floor test and the speed of a 50-m swimming sprint. In their study, the
and the lower limbs could be used to increase throwing velocity. ratio of upper limb peak power to lower limb peak power was
Hawley et al. [17] previously reported a strong correlation be- 45 %. These results seem in accordance with our present study; we
tween lower body anaerobic power, as measured by the Wingate found a correlation of 0.61 between PPUL and TW (▶ Table 3) and in
test, and performance in a 50 m sprint swim (r = 0.76; n = 22). our data the ratio PPUL/ PPLL was 52 %.
Chelly et al. [9] found significantly correlated between PPLL and In addition, Hawley et al. [17] reported that the 50 m swim
T 3-Step, but was only moderate (r = 0.69) in handball players. In speed was more closely correlated with lower limb (r = 0.76) than
our study, PPLL was also significantly moderate correlated with JS upper limb peak power (r = 0.63). In contrast, we found the closer
and T3-Step (r = 0. 54, r = 0.46, respectively) relationship was with PPUL (▶ Table 3). This could reflect a differ-
ence in the respective contributions of the limbs to these two

Hermassi S et al. Relationships Between Olympic… Sportverl Sportschad


Originalarbeit

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▶ Fig. 2 a Relationship between velocity of throwing shot without run-up and maximal strength of clean and jerk. b Relationship between peak
power of lower limb and maximal strength of clean and jerk. c Relationship between maximal pedaling velocity of lower limb and maximal strength
of clean and jerk.

types of event, with the lower limbs making a more decisive con- Limitations
tribution to swimming performance. In contrast, the upper limbs
appear to have the dominant influence on throwing ball velocity One limitation of our study was a relatively small sample size, which
in handball players. may have influenced the magnitude of the correlations that we ob-
When our results were expressed relatively to body mass and served, although the intraclass correlations show that our subjects
limb muscle volume (i. e. W/kg and W/l) (▶ Table 3), the relation- yielded very consistent performances. Moreover, the upper limb
ships to throwing performance became statistically only signi- force-velocity tests were performed while the subjects were unre-
ficant between muscle volume of upper limb and TW (r = 0.56). strained; although this posture is typical of handball throwing, at
This suggests the important contributions of overall body mass high braking forces it may have allowed a recruitment of accessory
and local muscle volume to throwing velocity, implying in turn muscles that varied from one subject to another. Furthermore, the
that body mass and particularly the local limb volume should be mass of upper limb muscle that contributes to handball throwing is
considered if we wish to enhance throwing velocity. Others also small, and it may not correlate closely with the range of muscles
have noted that differences in strength and power between elite solicited during upper limb-cranking exercise. Upper limb cranking
and amateur handball players disappear if results are expressed is an activity with several degrees of freedom, and indeed the active
relatively to body mass or fat free mass. muscle volume is likely to be substantially greater than that estima-
ted by our anthropometric approach; in particular, our estimates do

Hermassi S et al. Relationships Between Olympic… Sportverl Sportschad


not include the shoulder muscles. This may explain why the correla- [8] Visnapuu M, Jürimäe T. Handgrip strength and hand dimensions in
tion between V0UL and V0LL was weak and not statistically significant. young handball and basketball players. J Strength Cond Res 2007; 21:
923 – 929
The parallel between the lower limb muscles used in throwing and
[9] Chelly MS, Hermassi S, Shephard RJ. Relationships between power and
those used during the lower limb ergometer test is also necessarily
strength of the upper and lower limb muscles and throwing velocity in
somewhat limited. male handball players. J Strength Cond Res 2010; 24: 1480 – 1487
[10] Hermassi S, Chelly MS, Tabka Z et al. Effects of 8-week in-season upper
and lower limb heavy resistance training on the peak power, throwing
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Within the limitations of our study several conclusions can be
[11] Fleck SJ, Smith SL, Craib MW et al. Upper extremity isokinetic torque and
drawn. One limitation of our study was the hypothesis of the study throwing velocity in team handball. J Appl Sport Sci Res 1992; 6: 120 – 124
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