Did you know that in elite AFL, an average of 6 players per team a year miss games due to hamstring strains?
Did you know that hamstring injuries have an incidence of 10-35 injuries per 1000 hours of play and a 23% reoccurence rate?
Hamstring strains are among the most common injuries in all levels of football. However, the good news is that you can reduce the risk of hamstring injuries through specific strengthening of the hamstring. If there is one hamstring exercise that you can add to your strength and conditioning program, it would be Nordic Hamstring Lowers.
Recent research has shown that Nordic Hamstring Lowers reduced the incidence of hamstring strains in European soccer players by 70%. This is because it strengthens the hamstrings muscles eccentrically when the muscle is lengthening. This is important when you consider that the hamstring is especially vulnerable when moving from concentric (shortening) to eccentric (lengthening) contraction during the late swing phase of running. For individuals who are weak eccentrically are at a 2 fold increase in risk for hamstring strains.
The Nordic Hamstring Lowers has also been shown to be superior to a stretching/flexibility program when trying to prevent hamstring injuries.
How to perform the Nordic Hamstring Lower:
The Nordic Hamstring Lower is an easy exercise to perform, you just need a partner or something to lock your heels onto.
1. Your partner needs to hold your lower legs just above the ankle as you lower your body towards the ground from a kneeling position.
2. When you feel like you cannot control your lowering, use your arms to catch yourself and fall into a push up position.
3. Push yourself then back up to the starting position.
You may find when beginning out that you cannot lower yourself very far, but with practice an increased strength, you should be able to lower yourself all the way to the ground in a controlled manner.
The 10 week protocol you can use to reduce injury risk is below:
For best results, implement the Nordic Hamstring Lowers in pre-season and maintain throughout the competition season to reduce injury risk.
For more information about how Nordic Hamstring Lowers can be implemented into your strength and conditioning program, book an appointment with Physiotherapist Daniel Reeves at Edithvale Physiotherapy Clinic or Chelsea Heights Physiotherapy or book online.