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Mehrez Hammami, Nawel Gaamouri, Gaith Aloui, Roy J. Shephard, and Mohamed Souhaiel Chelly

Purpose: To analyze the effects of complex strength training on explosive muscle performance of junior female handball players. Methods: Subjects were arbitrarily divided between an experimental group (n = 14) and a control group (n = 14). Training sessions and matches were performed together, but during the 10-wk intervention, the experimental group replaced part of the regular regimen with complex strength training. Measures assessed in both groups before and after the intervention included running times over 5, 10, 20, and 30 m; change-of-direction tests (T-half agility test and modified Illinois test); repeated shuttle sprint ability and repeated change-of-direction tests; jumping (squat, countermovement, countermovement with aimed arms, and 5-jump test); static and dynamic balance; back-extensor strength; and 1-repetition-maximum half-squat. Results: The intervention yielded increases in sprint (10 m 11.7%), change-of-direction performance (T-half 5.1%, modified Illinois 4.2%), jumping (squat P < .01, 19%; countermovement P < .01, 20.3%; countermovement aimed arms P < .01, 19.3%; 5-jump P < .05, 15.2%), and 1 of 4 repeated-sprint scores (best time P < .05, 5.9%). However, repeated-sprint T-test and balance scores were unchanged. Conclusion: Complex strength training develops abilities important to handball performance.

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Mehrez Hammami, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Nawel Gaamouri, Gaith Aloui, Roy J. Shephard, and Mohamed Souhaiel Chelly

Purpose: To analyze the effects of a 9-week plyometric training program on the sprint times (5, 10, 20, and 30 m), change-of-direction speed (modified T test and modified Illinois test), jumping (squat jump, countermovement jump, countermovement jump with arms, and horizontal 5-jump test), upper-body strength (right and left handgrip, back extensor strength, and medicine ball throw), and balance (Y and stork balance tests) of female handball players. Methods: Athletes were randomly divided into experimental (n = 21; age = 13.5 [0.3] y) and control (n = 20; age = 13.3 [0.3] y) groups. Training exercises and matches were performed together, but the experimental group replaced a part of their normal regimen by biweekly upper- and lower-limb plyometric training. Results: Both groups improved performance, but to a greater extent in the experimental group compared with controls for 20- and 30-m sprint times (Δ% = 9.6, P < .05, d = 0.557 and Δ% = 20.9, P < .001, d = 1.07, respectively), change of direction (T test: P < .01, Δ% = 14.5, d = 0.993 and Illinois test: P < .01, Δ% = 7.9, d = 0.769), vertical and horizontal jumping (P < .05), all measures of upper-limb strength (P < .001), and left-leg stork balance (P < .001, Δ% = 49.9, d = 1.07). Conclusions: A plyometric training program allows female junior handball players to improve important components of their physical performance.