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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 104-109

Comparative analysis of plyometrics and core training on performance indices of Indian handball players

MYAS-GNDU Department of Sports Sciences and Medicine, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India

Date of Submission11-Dec-2020
Date of Decision26-Oct-2021
Date of Acceptance27-Oct-2021
Date of Web Publication27-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Amrinder Singh
MYAS-GNDU Department of Sports Sciences and Medicine, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar - 143 005, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bjhs.bjhs_132_20

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BACKGROUND: Handball is a strenuous contact sport placing emphasis on running, jumping, throwing, hitting, blocking, and pushing. Various technical and tactical skills are required for this dynamic sport, namely speed, agility, balance, power, strength, and coordination. Hence, the aim of the present study was to assess the changes in the physical fitness components with 8 weeks of plyometric training and core training given to the handball players and to compare the effect of both training methods on the handball players.
METHODS: Sixty players were randomly selected to participate in the study. The players were divided into three groups, namely Group A (plyometric), Group B (core), and Group C (control) (n = 20 each). The speed was assessed with 40 m dash sprint, agility by Illinois agility test, and lower limb power by isokinetic dynamometer (BIODEX). The experimental group underwent their respective trainings, and the control underwent conventional training. The posttraining results were recorded after 8 weeks of training.
RESULTS: There was a significant difference within the groups, but there was no significant difference between the three groups.
CONCLUSION: Both training methods were equally beneficial for the improvement in sprinting speed, Illinois agility test, and lower limb power.

Keywords: Agility, BIODEX, plyometrics, sprint

How to cite this article:
Singh A, Patel D, Shenoy S, Sandhu JS. Comparative analysis of plyometrics and core training on performance indices of Indian handball players. BLDE Univ J Health Sci 2022;7:104-9

How to cite this URL:
Singh A, Patel D, Shenoy S, Sandhu JS. Comparative analysis of plyometrics and core training on performance indices of Indian handball players. BLDE Univ J Health Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 16];7:104-9. Available from: https://www.bldeujournalhs.in/text.asp?2022/7/1/104/348264

Handball was introduced in the Summer Olympic Games in 1972, since then, the sport has grown and has become more popular. It is now played in over 180 countries worldwide (International Handball Federation, 2014).

Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outfield players and a goalkeeper) pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team. A standard match consists of two periods of 30 min, and the team that scores more goals wins.[1]

Handball is a strenuous contact sport placing emphasis on running, jumping, throwing, hitting, blocking, and pushing.[2] Various technical and tactical skills are required for this dynamic sport, namely speed, agility, balance, power, strength, and coordination.[3] The role of some of these parameters in determining the performance of handball players is discussed in this study.

Researchers have described the core as being a “power-house” for initiating limb movement.[4] Through its ability to contract, the core musculature creates a foundation for the naturally stable spine and allows for the transfer of forces between body segments during dynamic movements.[5],[6],[7] According to Briggs et al., spinal stability is needed for the production of movement and relies on the musculature of the core to possess adequate strength, power, and endurance.[5]

Core strength can be defined using the traditional concept of strength; that is the maximal force a muscle or muscle group can generate at a specific velocity,[8] and there is a belief that a strong core allows an athlete the transfer of full forces generated from the lower extremities, through the torso, and to the upper extremities.[9],[10],[1] A weak core is believed to interrupt the transfer of energy, resulting in reduced sports performance and risk of injury to a weak or underdeveloped muscle group. For this reason, there is an assumption that an increase in core strength will result in increased sports performance. Therefore, the core strength training is widely practiced by professionals with the goals of enhancing core stability and increasing core musculature strength, thereby improving athletic performance and prevents risk of injury.[12],[13],[14],[15] Furthermore, through core training, the intersegmental control of the spine, control of intraabdominal pressure, and global muscular control of trunk movement can also be improved.[16]

Plyometrics is a quick powerful movement involving a prestretching of the muscle, thereby activating the stretch-shortening cycle. Maximal effort plyometric training was first introduced in Russia by Yuri Verkhoshansky in 1969, to help in the development of “explosive speed strength” in sprinters.[17] It was also referred to as “shock training” since it involved techniques of high intensity.[16] Initial programs involved drop jumps of over 3 m which probably exceeded human safety limits.[18]

Plyometric training has been utilized by various athletes for the enhancement of their performance in sports. This includes the increase or improvement in strength, power, and speed which also encompasses agility. Plyometric exercises “usually involve stopping, starting, and changing directions in an explosive manner,” and these are the movements involved in playing handball.[18]

Hence, many studies suggest that core strength training and plyometric training showed improved performance of the player and develop a belief that further research comparing core strengthening and plyometric training should show some positive results. As such, the present study was done to compare the effect of plyometric or core training program.

  Materials and Methods Top

Sixty national-level players volunteered and were randomly assigned into three groups, Group A (n = 20) core training group, Group B (n = 20) plyometric training group, and Group C (n = 20) control group. All the training and testing procedure, benefit and potential risk of the study were explained to the participants before signing the informed consent form and starting the test. The study was approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee of the Faculty of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. The participants fulfilling the inclusion criteria were included in the study. The inclusion criteria were: willing participant, participant with no musculoskeletal problems, participant with no medical problem, and participant with no recent injury.

All the participants were told not to alter their training program during the course of the study. The core training group participated in 8 weeks of core training protocol as shown in [Table 1], and the plyometric group performed 8 weeks of plyometric training as shown in [Table 2], whereas control group perform their regular training schedule. Both groups performed the warmup session for 10 min. Speed was assessed by the 40 m dash; agility was assessed by Illinois agility test and the lower limb power was assessed by isokinetic dynamometer. The result was obtained by entering the data in SPSS Inc., Chicago, USA version 17.
Table 1: Core training protocol

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Table 2: Plyometric training protocol

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  Results Top

When the two groups were analyzed, no significant interaction was found between the two groups with regards to the tested variables as shown in [Graph 1], [Graph 2], [Graph 3], [Graph 4], [Graph 5], [Graph 6]. With regards to within the group changes, both core training group and plyometric training group showed significant improvement in speed and agility. While in lower limb power variable, the core group showed improvement in both knee flexors and right knee extensors, whereas the plyometric group showed improvement in the right knee extensors as shown in [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8].

Table 3: Effect on sprint of handball players following trainings

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Table 4: Effect on agility of handball players following trainings

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Table 5: Effect on right knee flexors of handball players following trainings

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Table 6: Effect on left knee flexors of handball players following trainings

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Table 7: Effect on right knee extensors of handball players following trainings

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Table 8: Effect on left knee extensors of handball players following trainings

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  Discussion Top

The purpose of the study was to compare the effect of core training and plyometric training as well as the effect of individual training program on the selected physical performance variables.

The current study was employed for 8 weeks with 3 sessions per week in both training programs. The main finding in the study indicated that there was no significant difference in the selected variables of both the training groups, but there was a significant difference within the groups.

The present study showed statistically significant improvement in 40 m sprint within the plyometric training group and core group and showed no statistically significant improvement in 40 m sprint in between the PT group and the core group. In plyometric studies, improvement in sprint performance has been found. Chelly et al. (2013) reported improvement in the running velocity in the experimental group following biweekly plyometric training program for 8 weeks.[19] Cherif et al. reported that the training intervention (high-intensity plyometric and speed training) improved the running speed ability of the experimental group.[20] Balaji and Murugavel showed significant improvement in the 50 m dash in experimental group due to the influence of 8 weeks core strength training program.[21] However, these findings are not consistent with Hermassi et al. who reported that no interaction effect was found between the groups for the repeated sprint ability test after 8 weeks of in-season lower limb plyometric training given biweekly.[22] Cleveland showed that 8 weeks of core-specific training does not result in improved half marathon run time.[23]

Alam et al. which demonstrated that plyometric circuit exercises have been effective on the shuttle briskness amount and have reduced its time.[24] Den Tillaar et al. compared the effect of 6 weeks of strength training and plyometric program in adolescent handball players. The study reported that there was a significant improvement in agility in the strength training than plyometric group.[21] Balaji and Murugavel showed significant improvement in the 4 m × 10 m shuttle run test in experimental group due to the influence of 8-week core strength training program.[17]

Cherif et al. who demonstrated that the conventional combined program improved the explosive force ability of handball players in countermovement jump (CMJ) (P = 0.01), countermovement jump with arms (CMJA) (P = 0.01), and Drop jump (DJR) (P = 0.03). The change was 2.78, 2.42, and 2.62%, respectively. No significant changes were noted in performances of the experimental group at the squat jump test and the drop jump with the left leg test.[20] Nesser et al. found that increases in core strength are not going to contribute significantly to strength and power.[25] Whereas Chelly et al. showed significant increases in squat jump (SJ) height and SJ power (P = 0.01), SJ force (P # 0.05), CMJ height, and CMJ force after biweekly in-season training program.[19]

  Conclusion Top

The result of this study suggests that both training programs result in similar gains in chosen variables and therefore can offer an effective training modality for performance enhancement in handball.


The study was conducted at MYAS-GNDU Department of Sports Sciences and Medicine, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India. This center is funded by the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Government of India.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Cuddon JA. The macmillan dictionary of sports and games and games. Macmillan Distribution UK. 1980. p. 393.  Back to cited text no. 1
Wallace MB, Cardinale M. Conditioning for team handball. Strength Cond J 1997;19:7-12.  Back to cited text no. 2
Hatzimanouil D. Injuries in handball. Eur J Sports Sci 2005;5:137-42.  Back to cited text no. 3
Akuthota V, Nadler SF. Core strengthening. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:S86-92.  Back to cited text no. 4
Briggs AM, Greig AM, Wark JD, Fazzalari NL, Bennell KL. A review of anatomical and mechanical factors affecting vertebral body integrity. Int J Med Sci 2004;1:170-80.  Back to cited text no. 5
Cresswell AG, Oddsson L, Thorstensson A. The influence of sudden perturbations on trunk muscle activity and intra-abdominal pressure while standing. Exp Brain Res 1994;98:336-41.  Back to cited text no. 6
Essendrop M, Schibye B. Intra-abdominal pressure and activation of abdominal muscles in highly trained participants during sudden heavy trunk loadings. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2004;29:2445-51.  Back to cited text no. 7
Knuttgen HG, Kraemer WJ. Terminology and measurement in exercise performance. J Strength Cond Res 1987;1:1-10.  Back to cited text no. 8
Behm DG, Drinkwater EJ, Willardson JM, Cowley PM. The use of instability to train the core musculature. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2010;35:91-108.  Back to cited text no. 9
Cissik JM. Programming abdominal training, part I. Strength Cond J 2002;24:9-15.  Back to cited text no. 10
McGill SM. Low back exercises: Evidence for improving exercise regimens. Phys Ther 1998;78:754-65.  Back to cited text no. 11
Cosio-Lima LM, Reynolds KL, Winter C, Paolone V, Jones MT. Effects of physioball and conventional floor exercises on early phase adaptations in back and abdominal core stability and balance in women. J Strength Cond Res 2003;17:721-5.  Back to cited text no. 12
Faries MD, Greenwood M. Core training: Stabilizing the confusion. Strength Cond J 2007;29:10-25.   Back to cited text no. 13
Scibek JS, Jacboson JA. Ultrasound of musculoskeletal system. Am J Sports Med 2001;741:33-73.  Back to cited text no. 14
Stanton R, Reaburn PR, Humphries B. The effect of short-term Swiss ball training on core stability and running economy. J Strength Cond Res 2004;18:522-8.  Back to cited text no. 15
Barr KP, Griggs M, Cadby T. Lumbar stabilization: A review of core concepts and current literature, part 2. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2007;86:72-80.  Back to cited text no. 16
Balaji E, Murugavel K. Motor fitness parameters response to core strength training on handball players. Int J Life Sci Educ Res 2013;1:76-80.  Back to cited text no. 17
Chelly MS, Hermassi S, Aouadi R, Shephard RJ. Effects of 8-week in-season plyometric training on upper and lower limb performance of elite adolescent handball players. J Strength Cond Res 2014;28:1401-10.  Back to cited text no. 18
Roopchand-Martin S, Lue-Chin P. Plyometric training improves power and agility in Jamaica's national netball team. West Indian Med J 2010;59:182-7.  Back to cited text no. 19
Cherif M, Said M, Chaatani S, Nejlaoui O, Gomri D, Abdallah A. The effect of a combined high-intensity plyometric and speed training program on the running and jumping ability of male handball players. Asian J Sports Med 2012;3:21-8.  Back to cited text no. 20
Den Tillaar RV, Waade L, Roaasv T. Comparison of the effects of 6 weeks of squat training with a plyometric training programme upon different physical performance tests in adolescent team handball players Acta Kinesiol Univ Tartuensis 2015;21:75-88.  Back to cited text no. 21
Hermassi S, Gabbett TJ, Ingebrigtsen J, Den Tillaar RV,Chelly MS, Karim K . Effects of a short-term in -season plyometric training on repeated – sprint ability, leg power and jump performance of elite handball players .Int J Sports Sci Coach 2014;9;1205-16.1  Back to cited text no. 22
Cleveland MA. The effect of core strengthening on long distance running performance. WWU Graduate School Collection; 2011. p. 103.  Back to cited text no. 23
Alam S, Pahlavani HA, Monazami M, Vatandoust M, Nasirzade A.The effects of plyometruc circuit exercises on the physocal preparation indices of elite handball players.Adv Environ Biol 2012;10:89-98.  Back to cited text no. 24
Nesser TW, Huxel KC, Tincher JL, Okada T. The relationship between core stability and performance in division I football players. J Strength Cond Res 2008;22:1750-4.  Back to cited text no. 25


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8]


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