Unilateral (UL) training as an alternative method for developing athletic performance are not well studied (1, 2). The purpose is to examine the effects of bilateral (BL) versus UL complex training combined with high intensity interval training (HIIT) on bilateral deficit (BLD), power deficit, maximal strength, jumping ability, straight sprint, change of direction sprint (CODS), repeated sprint ability (RSA) and specific endurance in elite handball players.
18 male and 12 female elite handball players were assigned to a BL (n=10) or UL (n=20) complex training program. In addition both groups trained HIIT twice a week. Training volume, intensity and exercise motions were similar between the groups. Tests included 1RM UL and BL Smith machine squat, UL and BL counter movement jump (CMJ), squat jump (SJ), modified T-test, straight sprint (5, 10, 20 and 30 m), repeated shuttle sprint ability (RSSA) and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery test (YYIR) before and after 6 weeks of training.
Pooled data from both groups showed significant (p <0.01) improvements in maximal UL and BL strength, UL CMJ dominant leg, CODS and YYIR test, and an unwanted increase in the BLD and power deficit.
There were no significant differences training groups in any of the tests. However, only the UL group significantly improved RSAtotal pre- to post testing (p < 0.01).
Results indicate that this type of training is a relevant model for pre-season training of maximal strength, power and functional endurance. Despite the lack of differences between groups, UL training can be safer than BL training because of less absolute load.
1) Jones MT, Ambeganokar JP, Nindl BC, Smith JA, Headley SA. (2012). J Strength Cond Res, 26(4), 1094-100
2) McCurdy K, Langford G, Doscher MW, Wiley LP, Mallard KG. (2005). J Strength Cond Res, 19(1), 9-15
bilateral training, unilateral training, handball, bilateral deficit, complex training
10th International Conference On Strength Training. November 30 - December 2 2016, Kyoto, Japan.