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Make sure to include all these types of movements in your training.

handball player strength training key movements

Too often we get the question: What is the best exercise? The first impulse is probably to answer this question with an exercise like deadlift or back squat - they give you a great bang for your buck.

However, as an upcoming handball player, there is not THE best exercise. To be honest, unless you're competing in powerlifting, you don't even need to be strong in a specific exercise like the barbell squat or deadlift. Important is that you have the following key movement patterns within your plan.


There are different types of classification systems when it comes to categorizing exercises. Here's how we approach it in our programs and coaching process.

Upper Body Push

This category belongs to upper body exercises where you push something like a barbell away from your body or push your body away from the floor. Other examples are bench press, overhead press or landmine press.

Upper Body Pull

The opposite of the first category is when you pull something towards your body (any type of row) or pull your body towards something like a bar (pull-up).


Exercises in this category are often referred to as knee dominant because the knees are usually bent more than the hips. This also includes back squats, front squats, lunges, ...


The opposite of knee dominant is hip dominant and refers to the hinge pattern in which the hip joints are flexed more than the knee joints. Deadlifts, hip thrusts, good mornings and their unilateral variations all belong to this category. There are exercises such as the trap bar deadlift that can be classified as both knee dominant and hip dominant depending on how they are performed.


Core training is than crunches or sit-ups. Our torso or core connects everything, and every athletic movement, even if it is an upper body movement, needs that connection to the other parts of the body. The ability to control and transmit force through the body is something very important when it comes to performance and reducing the risk of injury.

This category also include carries. If you've seen an athlete holding a weight and walking around the gym, it's a "carry" or some variation thereof. This category was popularized by well-known strength coach Dan John. Carries are of great benefit but are underrepresented in many programs. They improve core strength, grip strength and depending on the varaition also positively impact shoulder health.


It's always good to have the "Other" category, as there are exercises that don't fit into any of the above categories. Just think of an exercise for a specific joint like shoulders, hips or ankles.

Of course your program can also including sprinting, jumping and olympic weightlifting movements. Above we've only covered the typical strength training.


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