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Effect of Timing of Eccentric Hamstring Strengthening Exercises During Soccer Training: Implications for Muscle Fatigability

Small, Katie1; McNaughton, Lars1; Greig, Matt2; Lovell, Ric1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 4 - pp 1077-1083
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318194df5c
Original Research

Small, K, McNaughton, L, Greig, M, and Lovell, R. Effect of timing of eccentric hamstring strengthening exercises during soccer training: implications for muscle fatigability. J Strength Cond Res 23(4): 1077-1083, 2009-The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a field-based injury prevention exercise on eccentric hamstring strength during simulated soccer match play. Sixteen semiprofessional soccer players (age 21.3 ± 2.9 years; height 185.0 ± 8.7 cm; body mass 81.6 ± 6.7 kg) completed the Soccer-specific Aerobic Field Test (SAFT90), a multidirectional 90-minute exercise protocol representative of soccer match play. Subjects performed 3 maximal dominant-limb isokinetic contractions at 120°·s−1 for concentric knee extensors (conQ) and flexors (conH), and eccentric knee flexors (eccH) before SAFT90 (t0), at half-time (t45), and immediately after the SAFT90 (t105). After baseline testing, subjects were divided into 2 groups, either performing Nordic hamstring eccentric strengthening exercises during the cool-down (CD) or warm-up (WU) of twice-weekly training sessions. After an 8-week intervention program, the baseline testing was repeated. The WU group displayed a significant increase postintervention in eccH gravity-corrected peak torque (PT) and the functional eccH:conQ ratio at t0 (p < 0.01), a significantly greater improvement compared with CD group (p < 0.05). Conversely, the CD group displayed a significant increase in both eccH PT and the functional eccH:conQ ratio postintervention at t45 (p < 0.05) and at t105 (p < 0.05), which were significantly greater increases compared with the WU group (p < 0.05). These findings indicate that the training intervention had a time-dependent beneficial effect on eccentric hamstring strength and that strength training conducted posttraining significantly reduced the negative influence of fatigue.

1Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom; and 2Department of Sport and Physical Activity, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Katie Small, k.small@hull.ac.uk.

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association