Updated: Jun 17
There is a big debate regarding Nordic Hamstring Exercise most commonly known as Nordics. Some are for and some are for against, but what does the science show at this moment in time?
Firstly what are the risk factors for hamstring injury?
Non-modifiable, things that cannot be changed,
Modifiable risk factors things that can be changed
- Eccentric hamstring strength, low levels of eccentric hamstring strength has been shown to be a risk factor in various football sports, soccer and AFL.
- A decrease in biceps femoris muscle fascicle length in elite soccer players were 4 times more likely to experience a hamstring injury in the following season compared to athletes with increase fascicle lengths (Timmins et al. 2016)
-Spikes in high speed running >24kmh in season, both increase and decrease in exposure to high speed running efforts and distance is highest risk (Rosenberg et al 2017)
Nordics have shown to increase eccentric hamstring strength and increase biceps femoris fascicle lengths (Timmins et al 2019). Nordics have to be performed at full range to achieve these benefits.
Therefore Nordics reduce two out of three of the modifiable risk factors, so why would you not do Nordics with this information evident at this moment in time.
The important thing is gradual exposure to them over time at long muscle lengths. Low volume training has been shown to be effective in increasing eccentric hamstring strength and increasing biceps fascicle length 4 reps x 1-2 sets 1-2 days per week.