Eccentric Exercises Reduce Hamstring Strains in Elite Adult Male Soccer Players: A Critically Appraised Topic

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Clinical Scenario:

Hamstring strains are a common sport-related injury, which may limit athletic performance for an extended period of time. These injuries are common in the soccer setting. As such, it is important to determine an appropriate prevention program to minimize the risk of such an injury for these athletes. Eccentric hamstring training may be an effective and practical hamstring strain prevention strategy.

Clinical Question:

What is the effect of eccentric exercises on hamstring strain prevention in adult male soccer players?

Summary of Key Findings:

Current literature was searched for studies of level 2 evidence or higher that investigated the effect of eccentric exercises in preventing hamstring strains in adult male soccer players. Three articles returned from the literature search met the inclusion criteria. A fourth article looked at differences in strength gains between eccentric and concentric hamstring strengthening exercises, but did not record hamstring strain incidence. A fifth article, a systematic review, met all the criteria except for the correct population. Of the 3 studies, 2 were randomized control trails and 1 was a cohort study.

Clinical Bottom Line:

There is robust supportive evidence that eccentric hamstring exercises can prevent a hamstring injury to an elite adult male soccer player. Therefore, it is recommended that athletic trainers and other sports medicine providers evaluate current practices relating to reducing hamstring strains and consider implementing eccentric exercise based prevention programs.

Strength of Recommendation:

All evidence was attained from articles with a level of evidence 2b or higher, based on the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) criteria, stating that eccentric exercises can decrease hamstring strains.

Shadle is with the Dept of Athletic Training, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. Cacolice is with the Dept of Athletic Training, Westfield State University, Westfield, MA.

Shadle ( is corresponding author.