Effects of eccentric training at long-muscle length on architectural and functional characteristics of the hamstrings

Review written by Adam Johnson info

Key Points

  1. The provision of long muscle length eccentric exercise appears appropriate when aiming to target injury risk factors such as fascicle length, eccentric peak torque and voluntary activation level.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

The Nordic Hamstring Exercise (NHE) is a well-researched exercise which has been shown to significantly reduce the rates of hamstring injury in sporting populations (1). This study looked to build upon previous research surrounding the benefits of eccentric exercise on both the architectural and functional characteristics of the hamstring musculature by analyzing exercises that specifically put the muscles at longer lengths, including the NHE performed in hip flexion, and the Askling “glider” exercise (2).

The study looked at a range of measures such as ultrasound imaging of the hamstring to monitor fascicle length and pennation angle changes, as well as isokinetic assessment of concentric and eccentric strength gains.

The Nordic Hamstring Exercise has been shown to significantly reduce the rates of hamstring injury in sporting populations.
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It is important that clinicians provide clear and obvious exercise progressions, such as the addition of weight, if the patient begins to find the exercise too easy.

METHODS

The study utilized a cohort of 40 participants, of which 34 successfully completed the trial. All participants were free from injury for the prior twelve months.

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