RESEARCH SUMMARY: Hamstring adaptations in semi-pro Australian football athletes (Timmins et al., 2021)

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Original research title: ‘Sprinting, Strength and Architectural Adaptations Following Hamstring Training in Australian Footballers’.

Authors: Timmins, R.G., Filopoulos, D., Nguyen, V., Giannakis, J., Ruddy, J.D., Hickey, J.T., Maniar, N., & Opar, D.A.

Year: 2021

A recent study by Timmins et al. (2021) investigated the architectural, eccentric strength and sprint performance adaptations following a hip-dominant flywheel (FLY) or Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) intervention in semi-professional Australian football athletes.

Key Findings:

Following the intervention, both the FLY group and the NHE group saw a similar increase in hamstring fascicle length. Additionally, both groups saw an increase in their eccentric hamstring strength, with the NHE group seeing slightly bigger adaptations. Furthermore, the NHE group also saw an increase in their 40 m sprint performance.

Another study by Timmins et al. (2016) suggests that athletes with longer hamstring fascicles and greater eccentric hamstring strength are less susceptible to hamstring injury throughout the season.

 Research Takeaway:

The results of the current study suggest that NHE training can not only improve key risk factors for hamstring injury (hamstring fascicle length and eccentric strength) but may also improve sprint performance in elite Australian football athletes. Hip-dominant flywheel training also appears to mitigate the risk of hamstring injury by targeting key injury risk factors.

Regarding eccentric hamstring strength, the attached figures from last year’s Australian Football League (AFL) End of Season Report highlight that eccentric hamstring strength improved slightly over the course of the season, with 424 N being the median Nordic force result (interquartile range = 94 N).

AFL Nordic Force Longitudinal Results – Season 2020.
AFL Nordic Force Longitudinal Results – Season 2020.
AFL Nordic Force Results – Season 2020.
AFL Nordic Force Results – Season 2020.

To read the full research paper, see here

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