In our previous blog post on hamstings, we discussed the most common causes of hamstring injuries. It has been argued that the solution of hamstring injuries causes lies in prevention techniques such as using appropriate exercises and training protocols, rather than in treatment alone. We compiled a list of exercises (below) proven by research to be effective in helping to prevent hamstring strains.
|Suggested hamstring strain prevention exercises based on the evidence presented herein|
|Nordic Hamstring Curls|
|Stiff-leg/Romanian Deadlift (RDL)|
|Bilateral Drop Landing (landing on two feet)|
|Bilateral Depth Jumps|
|Hang Power Clean/Hang Power Snatch|
|Full Clean/Full Snatch (emphasizing deep catch)|
|Single-leg Multi-directional Hopping Drills|
- Reoccurrence of hamstring strains happens in: 23% 23%
- Of all injuries, hamstring injuries accounted for: 12% 12%
- Risk of re-injury compared to healthy counterparts: 5% 5%
Exercise Highlight: Nordic Hamstring
Turner et al. (2) have stated that the Nordic hamstring has shown significant improvements in hamstring injury rate, strength, and maximal sprint speed. They also reported a comparison of the Nordic hamstring to a traditional hamstring curl and noted an 11% increase in eccentric hamstring strength (this is when the knee is extended or straightens), whereas the hamstring curl elicited zero improvements.
Protocol for the Nordic Hamstring Exercise:
Recommended frequency, volume, and periodization of Nordic hamstring curl training during the 10-week preseason and into the competitive season (2)
It is Important to Remember a Few Things about this Exercise:
- Begin with the shoulders, hips, and knees in a completely straight line
- Maintain this position throughout the exercise, while contracting the gluteals the entire time - this takes pressure off of the lower back
- Lower the body to the ground as slowly as possible with the hamstrings controlling the movement
- The hamstrings or hands are used to return to the top
- Santana, J.C. Hamstrings of steel: preventing the pull, part I - isolated versus integrated function. Strength Cond J. 22(6): 35-36, 2000.
- Turner, A.N., Cree, J., Comfort, P., Jones, L., Chavda, S., Bishop, C., and Reynolds, A. Hamstring strain prevention in elite soccer players. Strength Cond J. 36(5): 10-20, 2014.