Updated: Jun 17
Hamstring injuries are common in sports that require sprinting and kicking, the rapid eccentric movement of the hamstring during these sports increase the risk of injury.
Recurrent rates in the same season are as high as 30%, not given the hamstring enough time to recover could be a reason, it has been identified that it can take as long as 5 weeks with minimum 4 weeks before the muscle tissue is at its strongest point after a grade 1 & 2 strain (Pieters et al 2021). Therefore after a hamstring strain this should be considered prior to return to play.
If the rapid eccentric movement is a risk factor for hamstring injury it is therefore important to expose your athletes to eccentric training. This can be done with Nordic Hamstring Curl exercise but also sprint training. There are lots of discussions around Nordic Hamstring Curl exercise and if it does reduce hamstring injuries. To date if you look at the evidence, Nordic hamstring exercise reduces hamstring injuries by 50% in soccer players. Although more research is needed with bigger sample size numbers.
Exposure to sprint training or high speed running throughout the season is important but so too is monitoring the amount of high speed running conducted weekly to reduce fatigue in the athlete.
High isometric forces are evident during the initial contact phase of running, therefore a stable in your hamstring exercise programme should be long lever isometric exercise i.e. single leg bridge weighted 30 seconds x 2-4 reps.
Get the basics right - Sleep > 8 hours daily, Eccentric & Isometric Strength training, Weekly High speed running, Nutrition and Hydration.