Influence of Maturation Status on Eccentric Hamstring Strength Improvements in Youth Male Soccer Players After the Nordic Hamstring Exercise

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: This study examined the effects of a 6-week Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) program in youth male soccer players of less mature (pre–peak height velocity [PHV]) or more mature (mid/post-PHV) status. Methods: Forty-eight participants were separated into pre-PHV (11.0 [0.9] y) or mid/post-PHV (13.9 [1.1]) groups and further divided into experimental (EXP) and control groups with eccentric hamstring strength assessed (NordBord) both before and after the training program. Participants in the EXP groups completed a periodized NHE program performed once or twice weekly over a 6-week period. Results: The NHE program resulted in moderate and small increases in relative eccentric hamstring strength (in newtons per kilogram) in the pre-PHV EXP (d = 0.83 [0.03–1.68]) and mid-PHV EXP (d = 0.53 [−0.06 to 1.12]) groups, respectively. Moderate increases in the same measure were also seen in the between-groups analyses in the pre-PHV (d = 1.03 [0.23–1.84]) and mid-PHV (d = 0.87 [0.22–1.51]) groups, with a greater effect observed in the former. Conclusion: The results from this study demonstrate that a 6-week NHE program can improve eccentric hamstring strength in male youth soccer players, with less-mature players achieving mostly greater benefits. The findings from this study can aid in the training prescription of NHE in youth male soccer players.

Drury is with the Dept of Applied Sport Sciences, Hartpury University, Hartpury, United Kingdom. Green is with the Dept of Physical Education, St Peter’s RC High School, Gloucester, United Kingdom. Ramirez-Campillo is with the Laboratory of Human Performance, Quality of Life and Wellness Research Group, Dept of Physical Activity Sciences, University of Los Lagos, Osorno, Chile. Moran is with the School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom.

Drury (ben.drury@hartpury.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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