A study published in the “…Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport” conducted at the University of Iceland looked at the effects either stretching or eccentric strengthening on the incidence of hamstring strains among soccer players.
The researchers found no difference in the incidence of injury for the stretching group, but did show a significant reduction in injury rates for the group that performed the eccentric strengthening program. This does not mean that we should throw away our stretching program but it certainly indicates the importance of strength training for hamstring injury reduction.
The exercise that was used in the study is called the “Nordic Hamstring Lower” – a full description of the exercise is below
Exercise of the Month: “Nordic Hamstring Lower”
This is an excellent rehabilitation and injury prevention exercise, especially as it can be done at home with no equipment. Here’s how to do it!
1. Kneel on the ground with your body in the upright position
2. Get a partner to stabilize your feet or wedge them under a heavy object like a lounge chair or barbell.
3. Slowly lean forward as far as possible by extending the knee but keep the back and hips straight. Keep moving forwards until the hands touch the ground. DO NOT fall forwards – it must be a slow and deliberate lowering action.
4. Once the hands touch the ground, push yourself explosively up to the starting position and start again.
Remember this is an eccentric exercise only, only do the lowering part of the exercise.
Tips on Sets and Reps: Attempt to do 3 sets of 10 reps for 2-3 sessions a week – preferably at the end of your training session. Use padding under your knees if you get pressure discomfort.