The Importance of Eccentric Hamstring Exercises
By: Darin Jerome
With the MLB season well underway, injuries are always a concern, hamstring strains among them. Although hamstring strains are on the rise, there are some preventable measures that can reduce the risks. On the one hand, baseball is considered a pretty sedentary sport. On the other hand, however, baseball requires its athletes to have quick reactions and the ability to sprint at any given moment.
This combination of components in any sport is an injury waiting to happen. When an athlete has to suddenly sprint from a sedentary position the hamstrings have to fire eccentrically. If the body is not properly prepared for this movement, this is where we have the formula for an injury to occur. Studies have shown that including eccentric hamstring exercises in a strength program greatly reduces the risk for this injury to occur.
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Eccentric Hamstring Exercises
One of the most popular eccentric hamstring exercises incorporated into strength programs is the Nordic Curl. This exercise is usually done with a partner, but can be done alone depending on the resources available. In the videos below are two variations we like to use at IMPACT Sports Performance.
The first is having your partner hold your ankles while you’re in a kneeling position. While maintaining a neutral spine, you lower yourself to the ground to the point where you can pull yourself back without falling.
The second variation (the one most people are accustomed to) is the same neutral spine body position with your partner holding your ankles. You then lower yourself all the way down to where you can’t hold yourself anymore. Finally, proceed to do a ballistic pushup motion to bring your body back up to the start position.
Our physio ball bilateral hamstring curl, physio ball unilateral hamstring curl, and the bilateral/unilateral hamstring curl on an Ultra Slide board are more examples of eccentric hamstring exercises we use as our athlete’s progress. These exercises also contain a concentric contraction. The videos below show the different progressions of these exercises.
All of these exercises are great options when incorporating eccentric hamstring exercises into your strength program. Not only will they help reduce the risk of hamstring strains, but are also excellent tools to use in a rehab setting.
About the Author
Originally from Aurora, IL, Darin Jerome has lived in South Florida for 10 years. Darin graduated from Eastern Illinois University earning a Bachelor of Science in 2008. He has been training for 10 years in South Florida. Before IMPACT, he coached at one of Illinois’s top sports performance centers, Velocity Sports. During Darin’s time at Velocity, he had the privilege of working with elite youth athletes, as well as nationally ranked football and volleyball athletes at the high school and Division-I Collegiate levels. Darin was able to excel training at all age groups. He was a Division-I football athlete at Eastern Illinois University that went through elite training programs throughout his career. Darin attributes his success to proper training regimens that focused on maximizing movement-specific strength and game speed.
While in South Florida, Darin has been specializing in developing speed and agility for athletes of all ages including many youth, high school, collegiate and professional athletes. He has worked with professional athletes from the NFL, NHL and MLB. He is currently one of the Head Strength & Conditioning Coaches for Lynn University’s Men’s and Women’s teams.
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