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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015 Dec;25(6):e621-9. doi: 10.1111/sms.12388. Epub 2014 Dec 30.

Effects of hamstring-emphasized neuromuscular training on strength and sprinting mechanics in football players.

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Department of Physical Therapy, ZENTRUM Rehab and Performance Center, Barañain, Spain.
Chair of Sports Traumatology, Catholic University of San Antonio, Murcia, Spain.
Laboratory of Exercise Physiology, University of Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne, France.
Laboratory of Exercise Physiology, University of Savoie, Le Bourget du Lac, France.
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Saint-Etienne University Hospital, Saint-Etienne, France.
Laboratory of Exercise Physiology (EA 4338), University of Lyon, Lyon, France.
Research Center for High Performance Sport, Catholic University of San Antonio, Murcia, Spain.
Aspire, Academy for Sports Excellence, Performance Enhancement and Talent Identification Section, Doha, Qatar.


The objective of this study was to examine the effects of a neuromuscular training program combining eccentric hamstring muscle strength, plyometrics, and free/resisted sprinting exercises on knee extensor/flexor muscle strength, sprinting performance, and horizontal mechanical properties of sprint running in football (soccer) players. Sixty footballers were randomly assigned to an experimental group (EG) or a control group (CG). Twenty-seven players completed the EG and 24 players the CG. Both groups performed regular football training while the EG performed also a neuromuscular training during a 7-week period. The EG showed a small increases in concentric quadriceps strength (ES = 0.38/0.58), a moderate to large increase in concentric (ES = 0.70/0.74) and eccentric (ES = 0.66/0.87) hamstring strength, and a small improvement in 5-m sprint performance (ES = 0.32). By contrast, the CG presented lower magnitude changes in quadriceps (ES = 0.04/0.29) and hamstring (ES = 0.27/0.34) concentric muscle strength and no changes in hamstring eccentric muscle strength (ES = -0.02/0.11). Thus, in contrast to the CG (ES = -0.27/0.14), the EG showed an almost certain increase in the hamstring/quadriceps strength functional ratio (ES = 0.32/0.75). Moreover, the CG showed small magnitude impairments in sprinting performance (ES = -0.35/-0.11). Horizontal mechanical properties of sprint running remained typically unchanged in both groups. These results indicate that a neuromuscular training program can induce positive hamstring strength and maintain sprinting performance, which might help in preventing hamstring strains in football players.


Hamstring strength; football; isokinetic; soccer; sprint biomechanics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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