Football is a game that requires a lot of running, sprinting, and change of direction movements. With all this high-speed running the hamstrings undergo a lot of work, which makes them prone to injury. To prevent hamstring injuries, footballers need to incorporate strength training exercises that target the hamstrings. One such exercise is the Nordic hamstring exercise.
What is the Nordic Hamstring Exercise?
The Nordic hamstring exercise is a bodyweight exercise that targets the eccentric strength of the hamstrings. The exercise involves kneeling down with your feet anchored under something heavy or being held by a partner, and slowly lowering your torso towards the ground. As your body lowers towards the ground, your hamstrings lengthen, and you rely on them to control your descent as far as possible. This eccentric loading builds hamstring strength and reduces the risk of injury.
Benefits of the Nordic Hamstring Exercises:
Here are some benefits of the Nordic hamstring exercise as part of a footballer’s training routine:
1. Injury prevention: Hamstring injuries are common among footballers, especially during sprinting and change of direction movements. The Nordic hamstring exercise builds eccentric strength, reducing the risk of hamstring strains and tears.
2. Improved performance: Strong hamstrings are crucial for running speed and power in football. The Nordic hamstring exercise improves hamstring strength, which leads to improved performance on the field.
3. Easy to include in training routine: The Nordic hamstring exercise is easy to include in a footballer’s training routine. It requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
4. Can be adapted to different levels: The Nordic hamstring exercise can be adapted to different levels of fitness and strength. Beginners can start by using their arms to push up from the ground, while advanced athletes can perform the exercise with added weights.
5. Improves knee stability: Strong hamstrings help improve knee stability, reducing the risk of knee injuries.
How to reduce your risk of hamstring injury
The Nordic hamstring exercise has been shown to be effective in preventing hamstring injuries in football players. Several studies have analysed the injury prevention benefits of including the Nordic hamstring exercise in training programs.
Research suggests that the eccentric strengthening provided by the Nordic hamstring exercise leads to fewer hamstring injuries and greater performance benefits compared to traditional hamstring strengthening exercises. Eccentric hamstring strength is particularly important for reducing the risk of hamstring strains during activities such as sprinting and rapid changes in movement direction, which are common in football.
A systematic review and meta-analysis found that injury prevention programs incorporating the Nordic hamstring exercise were effective in reducing hamstring injury rates in athletes while taking into account their training load and experience. The results of the meta-analysis (large statistical indicated that teams utilising the Nordic hamstring exercise, either in isolation or as part of a larger injury prevention program, experienced a significant decrease in hamstring injuries.
Teams that include the Nordic Hamstring Exercise reduce hamstring injuries by up to 51%. The Nordic Hamstring Exercise essentially halves the rate of hamstring injuries across multiple sports in different athletes .
Preventive training that includes the Nordic hamstring exercise has been shown to reduce the susceptibility of the hamstrings to injuries. By regularly incorporating the Nordic hamstring exercise into their training routine, football players can strengthen their hamstrings and improve their ability to resist and tolerate the demands placed on the muscle during intense physical activities.
The Nordic hamstring exercise provides significant injury prevention benefits for football players. By improving eccentric hamstring strength, this exercise reduces the risk of hamstring injuries during the dynamic movements required in football. Incorporating the Nordic hamstring exercise into training programs can contribute to the overall health and performance of football players. This exercise is an essential exercise for footballers to build strong and healthy hamstrings. It helps prevent injuries, improve performance, and can be easily incorporated into any training routine.
So don’t forget to include this exercise in your training regimen and enjoy the benefits!
1. Van Dyk, N., Behan, F. P., & Whiteley, R. (2019). Including the Nordic hamstring exercise in injury prevention programmes halves the rate of hamstring injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 8459 athletes. British journal of sports medicine, 53(21), 1362-1370.
3. Al Attar, W. S. A., Soomro, N., Sinclair, P. J., Pappas, E., & Sanders, R. H. (2017). Effect of injury prevention programs that include the Nordic hamstring exercise on hamstring injury rates in soccer players: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 47, 907-916.