Physically active people, especially athletes, often experience strains, pulls or tears in their hamstring muscles. Eccentric hamstring strength training can be effective in preventing these injuries, according to a study published in the "Journal of Athletic Training." Performing eccentric exercises -- where the muscles contract while lengthening -- can help keep your legs injury free.
Lie on your back, bend your hips and knees 90 degrees and rest the back of your heels on a chair. Push your heels into the chair and lift your hips about 8 inches. Keeping both knees bent, lift your right foot off the chair about 10 inches, pause, then lower your hips to the floor with your right foot still elevated. Repeat until fatigued, rest 30 seconds and switch sides.
Hold a barbell with an overhand grip and rest it across the top of your shoulders. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your legs as straight as possible. Keeping your back straight, slowly lean forward from your hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Use only your hamstring muscles to return to the standing position. Perform two sets of 12 repetitions.
Perform eccentric hamstring curls by kneeling on the floor with a partner holding your ankles down. Keeping your hips, thighs and upper body aligned, slowly drop forward to the point where you have to catch your fall with your hands. Push back to the starting position and repeat. Perform two sets of five reps.
- Journal of Athletic Training:Concentric Versus Enhanced Eccentric Hamstring Strength Training: Clinical Implications
- Kinetesis Spine and Joint Clinic: Hamstring Bridge – Eccentric
- Sports Injury Clinic: Strengthening Exercises for Hamstring Strains
- Gavin Burt: Effective Hamstring Eccentric Contraction Exercise