Preventing hamstring injuries in football players
The Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) is a well-known exercise in hamstring rehabilitation and prevention, since it allows maximum loading of the hamstrings in the eccentric phase. Previous studies have shown that eccentric exercises can prevent (recurrence of) hamstring strains up to 65%. However, a small number of other studies provide evidence that this exercise does not prevent hamstring injuries. The aim of this meta-analysis is to investigate the effectiveness of the NHE in athletes.
The pooled results showed that 51% of the included participants experienced injury reduction with the NHE.
One study that was performed showed that 71% of the hamstrings injuries could be prevented if the NHE was part of the training in football players. All of the included studies performed the NHE during the warming up at the beginning of the training. However, it is suggested to rather perform the eccentric exercises during cooling-down due to functional strength ratio. Also, performing NHE in the fatigue state may help improve and maintain the strength. However, this remains speculative as the cooling-down itself could increase muscle flexibility and could improve the performance and reduce muscle injuries.
It is recommended to perform eccentric exercises of the hamstring to prevent or reduce injuries.
> From: Al Attar et al., Sports Med (2016) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Springer International Publishing. Click here for the Pubmed summary.