Effects of heavy resistance training on maximal and explosive force production, endurance and serum hormones in adolescent handball players

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1999 Oct;80(5):485-93. doi: 10.1007/s004210050622.


To determine the effects of 6-weeks of heavy-resistance training on physical fitness and serum hormone status in adolescents (range 14-16 years old) 19 male handball players were divided into two different groups: a handball training group (NST, n = 10), and a handball and heavy-resistance strength training group (ST, n = 9). A third group of 4 handball goalkeepers of similar age served as a control group (C, n = 4). After the 6-week training period, the ST group showed an improvement in maximal dynamic strength of the leg extensors (12.2%; P < 0.01) and the upper extremity muscles (23%; P < 0.01), while no changes were observed in the NST and C groups. Similar differences were observed in the maximal isometric unilateral leg extension forces. The height of the vertical jump increased in the NST group from 29.5 (SD 4) cm to 31.4 (SD 5) cm (P < 0.05) while no changes were observed in the ST and C groups. A significant increase was observed in the ST group in the velocity of the throwing test [from 71.7 (SD 7) km x h(-1) to 74.0 (SD 7) km x h(-1); P < 0.001] during the 6-week period while no changes were observed in the NST and C groups. During a submaximal endurance test running at 11 km x h(-1), a significant decrease in blood lactate concentration occurred in the NST group [from 3.3 (SD 0.9) mmol x l(-1) to 2.4 (SD 0.8) mmol x l(-1); P < 0.01] during the experiment, while no change was observed in the ST or C groups. Finally, a significant increase (P < 0.01) was noted in the testosterone:cortisol ratio in the C group, while the increase in the NST group approached statistical significance (P < 0.08) and no changes in this ratio occurred in the ST group. The present findings suggested that the addition of 6-weeks of heavy resistance training to the handball training resulted in gains in maximal strength and throwing velocity but it compromised gains in leg explosive force production and endurance running. The tendency for a compromised testosterone:cortisol ratio observed in the ST group could have been associated with a state of overreaching or overtraining.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Running
  • Sports
  • Testosterone / blood*
  • Weight Lifting*


  • Lactic Acid
  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone