Modulating the Nordic Hamstring Exercise from ‘zero to hero’ – A stepwise progression explored in a high-performance athlete

Review written by Adam Johnson info

Key Points

  1. Change in performance position or additional load can have a significant impact on both the peak muscle activity and angle of peak moment.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

It is commonly accepted within the literature that the Nordic Hamstring Exercise (NHE) is a key exercise within the attempted prevention of hamstring injuries in elite sport. Even if there is debate around how or why the exercise is so effective, the literature surrounding its effectiveness when included in a program should not be in dispute (1).

What is also not in dispute amongst practitioners working “on the ground” with athletes is that there is a reluctance amongst groups of athletes to complete the exercise due to the soreness induced following the exercise which may be perceived as limiting subsequent performance. A previous study highlighted just how few elite soccer teams implement the full original NHE protocol (2). Another more recent acknowledgement within the literature is that the number of repetitions might not be the key driver of adaptations, but instead the level of stimulus provided (3).

Nevertheless, this paper looked to understand the influence of different performance positions and additional load upon the peak moment and peak muscle activity in a case study setting.

It is commonly accepted that the Nordic Hamstring Exercise is a key exercise within the attempted prevention of hamstring injuries in elite sport.
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When the Nordic Hamstring Exercise was performed in deep hip flexion (compared to the standard Nordic Hamstring Exercise), there was a 75% drop off in peak Biceps Femoris activity.

METHODS

  • The authors studied a regional class long jump athlete who had high expertise in performing the NHE. Over the course of three testing sessions, they analyzed 20 different NHE variations (see video below) with single repetitions until three valid repetitions
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