Hamstring injuries are common in all sports, especially those that require acceleration and change of direction such as Australian Rules Football and Soccer.  An article published by Mjolsnes, R. et al, 2004 reported that hamstring injuries account for 11% of the running injuries and 16-23% of the injuries in Australian Rules Football.  For soccer this ranged between 12-17% of injuries.  When we take a look at some of the causes of hamstring injuries.  The biggest risk factor for an individual developing a hamstring injury is having had a past history of hamstring injuries.  Causative factors can include inadequate hamstring strength, strength imbalances between  the hamstrings and quadricep and/or bilateral hamstring strength deficits.  Other suggested predisposing factors include: poor hamstring flexibility, fatigue and improper warm ups.

This article published by Mjolsnes, R. et al, 2004 looked at whether eccentric hamstring exercises were more effective than concenctric hamstring exercises at developing eccentric hamstring strength.  What they found from this study is that concentric and eccentric strength training is mode specific.  They also found that in a group of untrained individuals that eccentric strength training was more effective than concentric strength training on eccentric peak torque at 6 weeks (based on 2 sessions per week).  There has been research that suggests that hamstring injuries are more likely to occur during the eccentric muscle action.

The Nordic Hamstring Exercise

The Nordic Hamstring Exercise is a great way for 2 people to train their hamstring eccentrically. There is no need to purchase expensive equipment such as the Glute-Ham Raise.  A report published by Lorenz, D. & Reiman, M.  2011 reported that individuals who perform the Nordic Exercise Program 1-2* per week over 10 weeks had a reduced risk of hamstring injury compared to those who didn’t perform this program.  To read more on eccentric training and this program, please click here.

Next time you are thinking of adding some hamstring dominant exercises into ones resistance training program or rehabilitation program, be sure to trial the Nordic Hamstring exercise.  Other exercises that are great for training the hamstrings eccentrically include: Glute Ham Raise, Single Leg Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift, Good Morning and Swiss Ball Single Leg Hip Extension


Lorenz, D. & Reiman, M.  The role and implementation of eccentric training in athletic rehabilitation: tendinopathy, hamstring strains, and acl rehabilitation.  The International Journal Of Sports Physical Therapy.  March 2011.  Vo. 6. No. 1. pp. 27.

Mjolsnes, R. et al.  A 10-wee randomized trial comparing eccentric vs. concentric hamstring strength training in well-trained soccer players. Scandinavian Journal Of Medicine & Science In Sports.  2004. 14: 311 – 317.

Note:  Before trying any exercise, it is important to seek guidance to determine whether a specific exercise is appropriate.  It is also important to seek coaching from someone who is qualified to do so.

This blog was written by Osteopath Heath Williams.  Heath is the director of Principle Four Osteopathy and Corporate Work Health Australia.  Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD 3000 leading Osteopathic clinics.  The clinic is located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD at 29 Somerset Place (near the corner of Little Bourke & Elizabeth St).  Appointments can be made by calling 03 9670 9290 or booking online @ https://principlefourosteopathy.com.au/.