Game activity and blood lactate in men's elite water-polo players

Giovanni Melchiorri, Carlo Castagna, Roberto Sorge, Marco Bonifazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to examine game demands during highly competitive men's water-polo games after the introduction of the new Federation International Natation Association (FINA) rules. Participants of this study were 77 outfield international level men's water-polo players (age 25.9 ± 4.5 years, height 188 ± 4.5 cm, body mass 93 ± 10.9 kg). Game earlobe blood lactate, speed, and distance covered (semiautomatic image recognition system) were measured during 6 highly competitive matches (FINA International Tournament). In the game, players covered 1,613 ± 150 m (n = 68). This corresponds to a mean coverage rate of 54 ± 5.8 m·min-1 (n = 68). At speeds faster than 1.4 m·s-1 (high-intensity swimming), players covered 44% of the total distance. A significant decrease in coverage rate was detected during the final stage of the game. Mean bloodlactate concentration was 7.7 ± 1.0 mmol·L-1 (range 2.2-14.3). Center Defenders (1,816 ± 496 m) covered significantly (p <0.05) more distance swimming compared to Field (1,676 ± 348 m) and Center-Forward (1,317 ± 281 m) players. Mean match blood-lactate concentrations for Center Forwards, Center Defenders, and Field Players were 11.2 ± 1.0 (3-14.3), 6.7 ± 0.9 (1.4-8), and 5.3 ± 0.9 mmol·L-1 (2.2-11.9), respectively. This study confirmed the high-intensity nature of male elite level water polo showing remarkable roledependent game demands. As a result, strength and conditioning interventions should be individualized and mainly address intermittent high-intensity endurance and anaerobic fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2647-2651
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Anaerobic fitness
  • Intermittent exercise
  • Match analysis
  • Team sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Medicine(all)


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