Impact of the Nordic hamstring and hip extension exercises on hamstring architecture and morphology: implications for injury prevention

Bourne, Matthew N. and Duhig, Steven J. and Timmins, Ryan G. and Williams, Morgan D. and Opar, David A. and Al Najjar, Aiman and Shield, Anthony J. (2017) Impact of the Nordic hamstring and hip extension exercises on hamstring architecture and morphology: implications for injury prevention. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51 (5). pp. 469-477. ISSN 0306-3674


Background: The architectural and morphological adaptations of the hamstrings in response to training with different exercises have not been explored.

Purpose: To evaluate changes in biceps femoris long head (BFLH) fascicle length and hamstring muscle size following 10-weeks of Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) or hip extension (HE) training.

Methods: 30 recreationally active male athletes (age, 22.0±3.6 years; height, 180.4±7 cm; weight, 80.8 ±11.1 kg) were allocated to 1 of 3 groups: (1) HE training (n=10), NHE training (n=10), or no training (control, CON) (n=10). BFLH fascicle length was assessed before, during (Week 5) and after the intervention with a two-dimensional ultrasound. Hamstring muscle size was determined before and after training via MRI.

Results: Compared with baseline, BFLH fascicles were lengthened in the NHE and HE groups at mid-training (d=1.12–1.39, p<0.001) and post-training (d=1.77– 2.17, p<0.001) and these changes did not differ significantly between exercises (d=0.49–0.80, p=0.279– 0.976). BFLH volume increased more for the HE than the NHE (d=1.03, p=0.037) and CON (d=2.24, p<0.001) groups. Compared with the CON group, both exercises induced significant increases in semitendinosus volume (d=2.16–2.50, ≤0.002) and these increases were not significantly different (d=0.69, p=0.239).

Conclusion: NHE and HE training both stimulate significant increases in BFLH fascicle length; however, HE training may be more effective for promoting hypertrophy in the BFLH.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 30747
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2017 06:53
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 00:25
Uncontrolled Keywords: hamstrings; injury; exercises
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096130

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only