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An evidence-based framework for strengthening exercises to prevent hamstring injury
Sports Med 2018;48:251
Problem: Hamstring injuries—with a view to mitigating injury risk. Hamstring injuries are multifactorial but it is hypothesised that targeted exercise interventions cause specific adaptations that may contribute to a more injury-resistant musculotendinous unit. There is a need to develop an evidence-based framework to preventing hamstring injuries.
Characteristics of hamstring muscle activation are one key consideration impacting exercise selection. The pattern and magnitude of activation of each muscle (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus) are heterogeneous among exercises. Generally, knee flexion-dominant exercises seem to be more effective for semitendinosus activation, such as the Nordic and leg curl. Hip extension-dominant exercises seem to be more effective for biceps femoris long head and semimembranosus activation, such as the stiff-legged deadlift. Parameters of hamstring muscle activation do have limitations and should not be the single consideration for exercise selection.
Another key consideration for exercise selection are the architectural adaptations induced by the exercise. Fascicle length may be one important architectural attribute in the context of hamstring injury risk. Biceps femoris long head fascicle length increases in response to eccentrically biased exercises. It may also be advantageous to induce …
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