Four Weeks of Nordic Hamstring Exercise Reduce Muscle Injury Risk Factors in Young Adults

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Abstract

Ribeiro-Alvares, JB, Marques, VB, Vaz, MA, and Baroni, BM. Four weeks of Nordic hamstring exercise reduce muscle injury risk factors in young adults. J Strength Cond Res 32(5): 1254–1262, 2018—The Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) is a field-based exercise designed for knee-flexor eccentric strengthening, aimed at prevention of muscle strains. However, possible effects of NHE programs on other hamstring injury risk factors remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a NHE training program on multiple hamstring injury risk factors. Twenty physically active young adults were allocated into 2 equal-sized groups: control group (CG) and training group (TG). The TG was engaged in a 4-week NHE program, twice a week, 3 sets of 6–10 repetitions; while CG received no exercise intervention. The knee flexor and extensor strength were assessed through isokinetic dynamometry, the biceps femoris long head muscle architecture through ultrasound images, and the hamstring flexibility through sit-and-reach test. The results showed that CG subjects had no significant change in any outcome. TG presented higher percent changes than CG for hamstring isometric peak torque (9%; effect size [ES] = 0.27), eccentric peak torque (13%; ES = 0.60), eccentric work (18%; ES = 0.86), and functional hamstring-to-quadriceps torque ratio (13%; ES = 0.80). The NHE program led also to increased fascicle length (22%; ES = 2.77) and reduced pennation angle (−17%; ES = 1.27) in biceps femoris long head of the TG, without significant changes on muscle thickness. In conclusion, a short-term NHE training program (4 weeks; 8 training sessions) counteracts multiple hamstring injury risk factors in physically active young adults.

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