Preventing Hamstring Injuries

Part of the intimidation of starting your training to become a Law Enforcement Officer is the fear of injury. This is a legitimate fear, especially when the training requires so much running.

This is simply because of one fact:

Running is the most dangerous sport.

Injury rates among runners is estimated to be as high at 80% of runners every year.

If that is not insanity, I do not know what is.

One of the most common injuries among runners, especially while sprinting, are hamstring strains. If you are running for High-Intensity Interval Training, this is something to be conscious of. The good news is, there is as close to a panacea as we could hope for.

This mystical solution is an exercise called the Nordic Hamstring Curl (NHC). The NHC has been shown to decrease hamstring injuries by as much as 51%. This is huge. It, essentially, cuts your risk of suffering a hamstring injury by HALF(1).

The Nordic Hamstring Curl, essentially, cuts your risk of suffering a hamstring injury by HALF.

The exercise is an eccentric hip exercise that places huge demands on the hamstrings, and is one of the single best ways to make the hamstrings strong. During running, the hamstrings are responsible for controlling your leg every time you land each step. Considering the average person can experience over 500lb of force with each step, that is a sizable force and huge responsibility for the hamstrings to undertake.

At the end of the day, what I am trying to say, is that hamstring injuries are common among runners, especially sprinters or those of us using sprinting in our interval training. If you want to prevent then, start adding this one into your training:

The Nordic Hamstring Curl

How to:

  1. Start kneeling with your feet hooked into an anchor (heavy band, fixed bar, partner, etc.)

  2. Lower yourself slowly towards the ground, as far as your can, until you lose control

  3. Use your upper body or a band to help you get back up.

  4. Repeat for prescribed repetitions.

Nordic HS Curl fifa11+

REPETITIONS: here is a basic guide to select your repetitions, based on the FIFA ‘11+ injury prevention initiative:

  • BEGINNER: 3-5 reps

  • INTERMEDIATE: 7-10 reps

  • ADVANCED: 12-15 reps


I will warm you: this one is not fun.

It is not a very enjoyable exercise. That being said, it is well worth it.

Enjoy.

-Mark


References:

(1) Al Attar, Wesam & Soomro, Naj & Sinclair, Peter & Pappas, Evangelos & Sanders, Ross. (2016). Effect of Injury Prevention Programs that Include the Nordic Hamstring Exercise on Hamstring Injury Rates in Soccer Players: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine. 47. 10.1007/s40279-016-0638-2.

(2) Sadigursky, D., Braid, J. A., De Lira, D., Machado, B., Carneiro, R., & Colavolpe, P. O. (2017). The FIFA 11+ injury prevention program for soccer players: a systematic review. BMC sports science, medicine & rehabilitation, 9, 18. doi:10.1186/s13102-017-0083-z

Author: Mark Murdoch, Kinesiologist, Chiropractic Student. Have questions? Email me. I want to help! mark@leofitness.ca