The anthropometrical and physiological characteristics of elite water polo players

Yiannis E. Tsekouras, Stavros A. Kavouras, Alessandro Campagna, Yiannis P. Kotsis, Silia S. Syntosi, Kalomira Papazoglou, Labros S. Sidossis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


In order to examine the physical and physiological demands of water polo, we assessed the profile of elite water polo players. Nineteen male professional water polo players (age: 25.5±5.0 years, height: 184.5±4.3 cm body mass: 90.7±6.4 kg) underwent body composition assessment by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. We also evaluated peak oxygen consumption V̇O2peak lactate threshold (LT), energy cost of swimming (Cs), anaerobic capacity and isokinetic shoulder strength. Body fat (%) was 16.8±4.4, lean mass (LM) 75.1±4.9 kg and bone mineral density (BMD) 1.37±0.07 g·cm-2. V̇O2peak was 57.9±7 ml·kg-1 ·min-1. LT was identified at 3.9±0.7 mmol·l-1 at a swimming velocity (v) of 1.33±0.05 m·s-1 with a heart rate of 154±7 bpm, corresponding to an intensity of 83±9 of V̇O2peak. The average Cs of swimming at the LT was 1.08±0.04 kJ·m-1. Cs at LT was correlated to body mass index (BMI) (r=0.22, P=0.04) and to swimming performance at 400 m (r=0.86, P=0.01) and 4×50 m (r=0.84, P < 0.01). Internal rotator muscles were stronger compared to the external rotators by a 2:1 ratio. This study provides a quantitative representation of both physical and physiological demands of water polo and proposes a comprehensive battery of tests that can be used for assessing the status of a team.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Body composition
  • Energy cost of swimming
  • Isokinetic
  • Lactate threshold
  • Performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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