Effect of Weekly Training Frequency With the Nordic Hamstring Exercise on Muscle-Strain Risk Factors in Football Players: A Randomized Trial

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To examine the differences between performing Nordic hamstring exercises once or twice a week on hamstring eccentric strength and other muscle-strain risk factors in high-level football players. Methods: In this randomized trial, 32 football players (18–23 y old) completed an 8-week Nordic hamstring exercise training program in 1 of 2 experimental groups: group 1 (once a week; n = 15) and group 2 (twice a week; n = 17). Knee-flexor/extensor peak torques and biceps femoris long-head muscle architecture were assessed through isokinetic dynamometry and ultrasonography, respectively, before and after the training programs. Analysis of covariance, effect sizes (ESs), and t tests for percentage change were used to assess the effect of the 2 interventions on the outcome measures. Results: Group 2 demonstrated higher hamstring concentric peak torque than group 1 posttraining (155–164 vs 149–158 N·m; P = .043; ES = 0.27), although there was also a statistical trend for higher hamstring eccentric peak torque (212–234 vs 198–221 N·m; P = .098; ES = 0.37), hamstring-to-quadriceps conventional ratio (0.56–0.59 vs 0.54–0.57; P = .089; ES = 0.31), and hamstring-to-quadriceps functional ratio (0.76–0.84 vs 0.71–0.79; P = .076; ES = 0.50). No between-groups differences were found for muscle thickness (P = .864; ES = 0.12), pennation angle (P = .289; ES = 0.18), fascicle length (P = .406; ES = 0.03), and quadriceps concentric peak torque (P = .340; ES = 0.02). Conclusion: Only the Nordic hamstring exercise training program performed twice a week strengthened the hamstrings of high-level football players, while similar changes in muscle architecture occurred with both once- and twice-weekly sessions.

Medeiros, Ribeiro-Alvares, Fritsch, Oliveira, Severo-Silveira, and Baroni are with the Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre (UFCSPA), Porto Alegre, Brazil. Pappas is with the University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Baroni (bmbaroni@yahoo.com.br) is corresponding author.
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