A 10-week randomized trial comparing eccentric vs. concentric hamstring strength training in well-trained soccer players

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2004 Oct;14(5):311-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1600-0838.2003.367.x.


Purpose: To compare the effects of a 10-week training program with two different exercises -- traditional hamstring curl (HC) and Nordic hamstrings (NH), a partner exercise focusing the eccentric phase -- on muscle strength among male soccer players.

Methods: Subjects were 21 well-trained players who were randomized to NH training (n = 11) or HC training (n = 10). The programs were similar, with a gradual increase in the number of repetitions from two sets of six reps to three sets of eight to 12 reps over 4 weeks, and then increasing load during the final 6 weeks of training. Strength was measured as maximal torque on a Cybex dynamometer before and after the training period.

Results: In the NH group, there was an 11% increase in eccentric hamstring torque measured at 60 degrees s(-1), as well as a 7% increase in isometric hamstring strength at 90 degrees, 60 degrees and 30 degrees of knee flexion. Since there was no effect on concentric quadriceps strength, there was a significant increase in the hamstrings:quadriceps ratio from 0.89 +/- 0.12 to 0.98 +/- 0.17 (11%) in the NH group. No changes were observed in the HC group.

Conclusion: NH training for 10 weeks more effectively develops maximal eccentric hamstring strength in well-trained soccer players than a comparable program based on traditional HC.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Soccer*
  • Time Factors