In February, we discussed the importance of proper training to address hamstring injuries for improved performance and reduced risk of injury.

Since that post, two new articles have been published to shed more light on hamstring injuries in soccer.

The first, published in the June issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM), states unequivocally that doing all that soccer players can to prevent injuries is the best approach to decreasing the incidence of this injury.  Specifically, the authors state, “the most important risk factor for injuries to the hamstring was previous acute hamstring injury.”

OK, so how do you prevent this type of injury?  This month, researchers in Denmark published an article in AJSM describing the benefits of eccentric (also known as “negative”) training.  In this study, researchers divided male professional and amateur players into either a 10 week eccentric training program or control group.  During the season, approximately 11% of the control (non-eccentric) group had hamstring injuries during the season, while only 3% of the eccentrically trained group injured this pesky muscle.

The conclusions to be drawn from these two studies are pretty straightforward:

  • Don’t injure your hamstring in the first place
  • Have as the focus of off-field training an eccentric hamstring exercise program