Context: Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) has been widely employed to prevent hamstring strain injuries. However, it is still not clear which adaptations are responsible for the NHE preventive effects. Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of NHE on knee flexors eccentric strength and fascicle length. Evidence Acquisition: The search strategy included MEDLINE, PEDro, and Cochrane CENTRAL from inception to April 2020. Randomized clinical trials that have analyzed the effects of NHE training on hamstring eccentric strength and/or fascicle length were included. Evidence Synthesis: From the 1932 studies identified, 12 were included in the systematic review, and 9 studies presented suitable data for the meta-analysis. All studies demonstrated strength increments in response to NHE training (10%–15% and 16%–26% in tests performed on the isokinetic dynamometer and on the NHE device, respectively), as well as significant enhancement of biceps femoris long head fascicle length (12%–22%). Meta-analysis showed NHE training was effective to increase knee flexors eccentric strength assessed with both isokinetic tests (0.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.29 to 1.06) and NHE tests (1.11; 95% confidence interval, 0.62 to 1.61). NHE training was also effective to increase fascicle length (0.97; 95% confidence interval, 0.46 to 1.48). Conclusions: NHE training has the potential of increasing both knee flexors eccentric strength and biceps femoris long head fascicle length.
Diulian Muniz Medeiros, César Marchiori, and Bruno Manfredini Baroni
Bruno Manfredini Baroni, Jeam Marcel Geremia, Rodrigo Rodrigues, Marcelo Krás Borges, Azim Jinha, Walter Herzog, and Marco Aurélio Vaz
It is not known if a physically active lifestyle, without systematic training, is sufficient to combat age-related muscle and strength loss. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate if the maintenance of a physically active lifestyle prevents muscle impairments due to aging. To address this issue, we evaluated 33 healthy men with similar physical activity levels (IPAQ = 2) across a large range of ages. Functional (torque-angle and torque-velocity relations) and morphological (vastus lateralis muscle architecture) properties of the knee extensor muscles were assessed and compared between three age groups: young adults (30 ± 6 y), middle-aged subjects (50 ± 7 y) and elderly subjects (69 ± 5 y). Isometric peak torques were significantly lower (30% to 36%) in elderly group subjects compared with the young adults. Concentric peak torques were significantly lower in the middle aged (18% to 32%) and elderly group (40% to 53%) compared with the young adults. Vastus lateralis thickness and fascicles lengths were significantly smaller in the elderly group subjects (15.8 ± 3.9 mm; 99.1 ± 25.8 mm) compared with the young adults (19.8 ± 3.6 mm; 152.1 ± 42.0 mm). These findings suggest that a physically active lifestyle, without systematic training, is not sufficient to avoid loss of strength and muscle mass with aging.
Gabriel dos Santos Oliveira, João Breno de Araujo Ribeiro-Alvares, Felipe Xavier de Lima-e-Silva, Rodrigo Rodrigues, Marco Aurélio Vaz, and Bruno Manfredini Baroni
Context: Eccentric knee flexor strength assessments have a key role in both prevention and rehabilitation of hamstring strain injuries. Objective: To verify the reliability of a clinical test for measuring eccentric knee flexor strength during the Nordic hamstring exercise using a commercially available handheld dynamometer. Design: Reliability study. Setting: Physical Therapy Laboratory, Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre (Brazil). Participants: Fifty male amateur athletes (soccer or rugby players; 24  y). Main Outcome Measures: Eccentric knee flexor strength. Results: When compared with a load cell–based device, the clinical test using a handheld dynamometer provided smaller force values (P < .05) with large effect sizes (.92–1.21), moderate intraclass correlation (.60–.62), typical error of 30 to 31 N, and coefficient of variation of 10% to 11%. Regarding the test–retest reproducibility (2 sessions separated by 1 week), the clinical test provided similar force values (P > .05) with only small effect sizes (.20–.27), moderate to good correlation (.67–.76), typical error of 23 to 24 N, and coefficient of variation of 9% to 10%. Conclusion: The clinical test with handheld dynamometer proposed by this study can be considered an affordable and relatively reliable tool for eccentric knee flexor strength assessment in the clinical setting, but results should not be directly compared with those provided by load cell–based devices.
João Breno Ribeiro-Alvares, Maurício Pinto Dornelles, Carolina Gassen Fritsch, Felipe Xavier de Lima-e-Silva, Thales Menezes Medeiros, Lucas Severo-Silveira, Vanessa Bernardes Marques, and Bruno Manfredini Baroni
Context: Hamstring strain injury (HSI) is the most prevalent injury in football (soccer), and a few intrinsic factors have been associated with higher injury rates. Objective: To describe the prevalence of the main intrinsic risk factors for HSI in professional and under-20 football players. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Physiotherapy laboratory, Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre (Brazil). Participants: A total of 101 football players (52 professional and 49 under-20 players). Intervention: An evidence-based testing protocol for screening HSI risk factors. Main Outcome Measures: Anamnesis, ultrasonography of the hamstrings, passive straight-leg raise test, Functional Movement Screen, and isokinetic dynamometry were performed. Eleven HSI risk factors for each leg were assessed, besides the player’s age as a systemic risk factor. Reports were delivered to the coaching staff. Results: Professionals had greater prevalence of HSI history compared with under-20 players (40% vs 18%). No between-group differences were found for the other screening tests. Altogether, 30% of players had already sustained at least one HSI; 58% had a history of injuries in adjacent regions; 49% had short biceps femoris fascicles; 66% and 21% had poor passive and active flexibility, respectively; 42% and 29% had deficits in functional movements and core stability, respectively; 7% and 26% presented bilateral imbalance for hamstring concentric and eccentric strength, respectively; 87% and 94% obtained low values for hamstring-to-quadriceps conventional and functional ratios, respectively. Two-thirds of players had 3 to 5 risk factors per leg. None of the players was fully free of HSI risk factors. Conclusion: Most football players present multiple risk factors for sustaining an HSI. Hamstring weakness is the most prevalent risk factor, but the teams should also be aware of deficits in flexibility, core stability, functional movements, and hamstring fascicle length.