Effects of the Nordic Hamstring exercise on sprint capacity in male football players: a randomized controlled trial

J Sports Sci 2018 Jul;36(14):1663-1672

Purpose This assessor-blinded, randomized controlled superiority trial investigated the efficacy of the 10-week Nordic Hamstring exercise (NHE) protocol on sprint performance in football players.

Methods Thirty-five amateur male players (age: 17-26 years) were randomized to a do-as-usual control group (CG; n = 17) or to 10-weeks of supervised strength training using the NHE in-season (IG; n = 18). A repeated-sprint test, consisting of 4 × 6 10 m sprints, with 15 s recovery period between sprints and 180 s between sets, was conducted to evaluate total sprint time as the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes were best 10 m sprint time (10mST) and sprint time during the last sprint (L10mST). Additionally, peak eccentric hamstring strength (ECC-PHS) and eccentric hamstring strength capacity (ECC-CAPHS) were measured during the NHE.

Results Ten players were lost to follow-up, thus 25 players were analyzed (CG n = 14; IG n = 11). Between-group differences in mean changes were observed in favor of the IG for sprint performance outcomes; TST (-0.649 s, p = 0.056, d = 0.38), 10mST (-0.047 s, p = 0.005, d = 0.64) and L10mST (-0.052 s, p = 0.094, d = 0.59), and for strength outcomes; ECC-PHS (62.3 N, p = 0.006, d = 0.92), and ECC-CAPHS (951 N, p = 0.005, d = 0.95).

Conclusion In conclusion, the NHE showed small-to-medium improvements in sprint performance and large increases in peak eccentric hamstring strength and

Lasse Ishøi
Lasse Ishøi
Head of Sport and Data Science at Football Club Nordsjælland (a Danish first tier club), and postdoc at Sports Orthopedic Research Center - Copenhagen (SORC-C)

My research interests include sport science, sport physiotherapy, and sport injuries.