Physiological profile of water polo players in different competitive levels

G. Melchiorri, E. Padua, F. Sardella, V. Manzi, V. Tancredi, M. Bonifazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are different physiological characteristics in water polo players of three different competitive levels (national team, NT, junior national team, NJ, and amateur club, AC). Methods. To better define the training levels of water polo players competing at different levels, we administered a shuttle swim test (SST, a specific test used by Italian coaches) and a classic speed-lactate test. The shuttle swim test is based on actions at maximum intensity followed by incomplete recoveries. To compare the athletes, we used their morphological characteristics, the speed during an incremental test associated with fixed blood lactate concentrations of 2 mmol-1-1 (Aerobic Threshold, AT) and 4 mmol--1 (Anaerobic Threshold, AnT), and the SST data (speed, heart rate and lactate concentration). Results. The heart rate at the end of the SST was 164±12 beats·mur-1 for NT, 166±10 beats·mur-1 for NJ (no significant difference, P>0.05) and 179±9 beats·min-1 for AC (significantly different from NT and NJ, P0.05). The mean speed during the shuttle swim test was significantly higher in NT and NJ than in AC (P0.05). The SST mean speed was significantly correlated with the AT (P0.05). Conclusion. Some differences were found among the senior and junior professional and amateur water polo players in both SST performance and Aerobic and Anaerobic Threshold speeds. The shuttle swim test for water polo provides conditioning coaches and sport scientists with data on the sport-specific movement speed and the competition-specific fatigue resistance in each athlete.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010



  • Exercise
  • Heart rate
  • Lactates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this

Melchiorri, G., Padua, E., Sardella, F., Manzi, V., Tancredi, V., & Bonifazi, M. (2010). Physiological profile of water polo players in different competitive levels. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 50(1), 19-24.