The hamstrings are a muscle group at the back of the leg and perform the actions of knee flexion and hip extension. The Biceps Femoris, Semimebranosis and Semitendinosis make up the hamstrings group.
Recurrence rates of hamstring injuries remain high, and the biggest risk factor for a hamstring strain is previous injury. Other risk factors for hamstring strains include age and previous knee injury. Many people return to sport with a reduced eccentric strength of the hamstring muscles, putting them at further risk of recurrence of injury.
Preventing hamstring injuries through training
The concept of eccentric hamstrings training is a key one in both the consideration of prevention and rehabilitation. Due to the fact that the hamstrings cover two joints, both the hip and knee, exercises should be done to target both these regions.
Exercises such as Nordics or Romanian deadlifts are far superior in their use for prevention and rehabilitation of hamstring injuries due to the fact they offer multi-joint eccentric loading for the hamstrings.
There is evidence supporting the use of twice weekly eccentric hamstring training in the prevention of hamstring strains. Research in football has also shown a single dose of Nordics exercises per week was sufficient in reducing the incidence of hamstrings strains in comparison to previous seasons when this was not implemented.
Treating hamstring injuries
If you happen to have sustained a hamstring injury despite all your best prevention efforts, always consult with an experienced health professional to determine your treatment course.
Increase to sets of 8 reps as you feel ready and enjoy those bulletproof hamstrings!