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PLoS One. 2019 Oct 23;14(10):e0223437. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223437. eCollection 2019.

Kinematic and electromyographic analysis of variations in Nordic hamstring exercise.

Author information

University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, Izola, Slovenia.
S2P, Science to practice, Ltd., Laboratory for Motor Control and Motor Behavior, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
University of Zagreb, Faculty of Kinesiology, Zagreb, Croatia.
Motus Melior Ltd., Zagreb, Croatia.
University of Primorska, Andrej Marušič Institute, Koper, Slovenia.


The purpose of this study was to present and biomechanically evaluate several variations of the Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE), achieved by altering the slope of the lower leg support and by asumming different hip flexion angles. Electromyographic and 2D kinematic measurements were conducted to analyse muscle activity (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, gluteus maximus, erector spine and lateral head of the gastrocnemius), knee and hip joint torques during 6 variations of NHE. The study involved 18 adults (24.9 ± 3.7 years) with previous experience in resistance training, but with little or no experience with NHE. Increasing the slope of the lower leg support from 0° (standard NHE) to 20° and 40° enabled the participants to perform the exercise through a larger range of motion, while achieving similar peak knee and hip torques. Instructions for increased hip flexion from 0° (standard NHE) to 25°, 50° and 75° resulted in greater peak knee and hip torque, although the participants were not able to maintain the hip angle at 50° nor 75°. Muscle activity decreased or remained similar in all modified variations compared to the standard NHE for all measured muscles. Our results suggest that using the presented variations of NHE might contribute to optimization of hamstring injury prevention and rehabilitation programs, by providing appropriate difficulty for the individual's strength level and also allow eccentric strengthening at longer hamstring lengths.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

NŠ and GM were employed by commercial companies, S2P, Ltd. and Motus Melior, Ltd. The companies did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. This does not alter the authors' adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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