Visit Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Section ⇒



Young soccer playing kicking a goal

Preventing Hamstring Injuries in Soccer

Author: CHKD Sports Medicine
Published Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2017

By: Jennifer Cuchna, MBA, MEd., LAT, ATC

Hamstring injuries are one of the most common muscle injuries that soccer players experience. An injury to the hamstring muscles, located at the back of the upper thigh, can result in significant time lost from practice and competition as well as continuing symptoms on returning to the field. Underlying factors that may contribute to the high rate of these injuries include lack of proper warm-up, age, history of previous injury, poor hamstring flexibility, and muscle strength deficiencies and imbalances.

Since muscle strength deficiencies and imbalances is one risk factor that can be improved, several studies have proposed the use of strength training specific to the hamstring muscle group as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of injury. The Nordic hamstring (NH) exercise, in particular, can be used as a tool to decrease overall hamstring injury rates. 

CHKD Sports Med_Brooke Hamstring ExerciseThe NH exercise is a two-person exercise in which the person doing the exercise starts in a kneeling position with a partner securely holding his feet and lower legs to the ground. The person lowers his upper body towards the ground, while resisting a fall forward by using his hamstring muscles. Once the chest reaches the ground, he uses a chest press maneuver to return to the upright position. Watch a video demonstration here.

Several studies have found a significantly lower rate of hamstring injuries in groups performing NH exercises as compared to control groups who continued with normal practices and warm-ups. Although the studies differed in the implementation and timing of the exercises, they each used only the single NH exercise described in this article and all showed a reduced rate of injury.

The simplicity of this single NH exercise ensures that coaches and trainers can easily incorporate it into any existing warm-up, or at the beginning of a cool-down routine, to help reduce the rate hamstring injuries in their players throughout the competitive season.

Additional information for medical professionals.

About CHKD Sports Medicine

About CHKD Sports Medicine  CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.