This study examined the effects of an 8-week Nordic-hamstring exercise (NHE) training on components of physical performance in young female handball players.
Participants were allocated to an experimental (EG; n=10; age: 15.9 ± 0.2 years) and a control group (CG; n=9; age: 15.9 ± 0.3 years). The EG performed NHE (2-3 sessions/week) in replacement of some handball-specific drills whereas the CG followed regular handball training. Pre- and post-training, tests were carried-out for the assessment of sprint speed (5 m, 10 m, 20 m), jump performance (countermovement jump [CMJ] height), change-of-direction (CoD [T-test]), and repeated-sprint-ability (RSA total-time [RSAtotal], RSA best-time [RSAbest], RSA fatigue-index [RSAFI]). Data were analyzed using magnitude-based inferences.
Within-group analyses for the EG showed moderate performance improvements for 5 m, 10 m, 20 m (effect-size [ES] = 0.68-0.82), T-test (ES=0.74), and CMJ (ES=0.85). Trivial-to-small improvements were observed for RSA (ES=-0.06-0.35). For the CG, within-group outcomes showed performance decrements with moderate (T-test [ES=0.71]), small (5 m [ES=0.46], and RSAbest [ES=0.20]), and trivial magnitude (10 m [ES=0.10], 20 m [ES=0.16] and RSAtotal [ES=0.00]). Further, trivial-to-small performance improvements were found for CMJ (ES=0.10) and RSAFI (ES=0.5). Between-group analyses revealed small-to-large effects in favor of EG for 5 m (ES=1.07), 10 m (ES=0.66), 20 m (ES=0.53), T-test (ES=1.38), and RSA (ES=0.68 to 0.78). A trivial between-group difference was demonstrated for CMJ (ES=-0.01).
The NHE training intervention, in replacement of some handball-specific drills, was more effective than regular handball training in improving physical performance (i.e., linear sprint-time, jumping, CoD, and RSA) in young female handball players.