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Handball fitness training

The European version of handball is a team game in which the object is to throw the ball into the opponent's goal as many times as possible. Games comprise two 30-minute periods of play, and are typically high scoring - up to 20 per side is not uncommon.

Also known as Olympic handball, it is almost a cross between football and basketball. It fact it is almost the reverse of football, as outfield players are not permitted to kick the ball - but the goalkeeper may do so!

The physical requirements of handball are similar in some ways to soccer - to play competitively requires a combination of aerobic and anaerobic fitness, as short bursts of speed alternate with slower periods walking or jogging.

The biggest difference would be in the need for arm and upper body strength, which is much greater than in soccer - and as with all throwing sports, shoulder development is crucial both for power in passing and shooting, and also in injury prevention.

The combination of running and throwing also means that developing a strong core is essential, in order that a player's strength can be channelled effectively.

Training will thus need to combine steady cardio work (running is best), anaerobic sprint work, and strength training.

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