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Understanding Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring pulls are among the most common injuries in sports today.


They usually occur without warning and in most cases repeat at the same location throughout an athlete’s career. In regards to non-contact injuries, they are the most common and difficult to deal with for athletes and coaches alike.

Sports Therapists and Sports Performance coaches know that previous injury is one of the greatest risk factors for future injury, and we should know that functional deficits in hamstring strength can last for at least two years after an initial hamstring injury. One way to assess re-injury is to monitor athletes over long periods to document re-injury rates. We do just that at Performance Evolution!


Sports Therapists and Sports Performance coaches know that previous injury is one of the greatest risk factors for future injury, and we should know that functional deficits in hamstring strength can last for at least two years after an initial hamstring injury. One way to assess re-injury is to monitor athletes over long periods to document re-injury rates. We do just that at Performance Evolution!


Remember my blog on the “importance of Eccentric Training in Athletes”? It all comes back to that. A few studies have reported reductions in hamstring injury occurrences with eccentric training. Most recently, Peterson et al. conducted a randomized controlled training study on 943 Danish professional soccer players during a full season. The experimental training group performed progressive eccentric exercises for 10 weeks followed by a weekly in-season program. The experimental eccentric group suffered a total of 15 hamstring injuries throughout the season, while the control group suffered a total of 52.


The hamstrings are actively lengthened (eccentric muscle action) with both knee extension and hip flexion. Also, hamstring injuries usually occur during the deceleration phase of a movement. This means athletes who experience hamstring injuries have a difficult time absorbing force. This is why it is important to train the eccentric phase.

The following exercises can be utilized to improve eccentric strength and target hamstrings. These exercises have been developed from current literature that has shown an increase in the optimum length of tension development.

• Eccentric Lateral Box Drops • Eccentric Backwards Step • Eccentric Loaded Lunge Drops • Eccentric Forward Pulls • Eccentric RDLS • Eccentric Split Stance Zerchers


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