When looking at the latest research on hamstring injuries I came across an interesting study by Carl Askling and colleagues published in 2013. It compared 2 hamstring rehabilitation programmes, one emphasising strengthening exercises which lengthen the muscle (L-Protocol) and the other using conventional exercises (C-Protocol). The conclusion drawn from the randomised controlled trial was that patients using rehabilitation exercises that concentrated on lengthening the hamstring (eccentric exercises) recovered significantly quicker than those using conventional exercises. Carl Askling also states that of the 190 athletes he has put through his L-protocol rehabilitation programme only 1 has had a recurrence of their injury. This is a pretty incredible recurrence rate of 0.53% compared with normal rates of 12-63% (Brukner et al, 2013).
The 3 exercises in the programme are commenced 2 days after the onset of injury and performed at specific intervals.
The Extender Performed twice every day for 3 sets of 12 repetitions
The Diver Performed every other day for 3 sets of 6 repetitions
The Glider Performed every third day for 3 sets of 4 repetitions
Once you are fully recovered from your injury it is worth continuing with eccentric exercises as Peterson et al (2011) found a reduced recurrence rate of 85% for patients who continued with a structured programme of Nordic Hamstring Exercises.
A word of warning…the exercises shown on this website shouldn’t be performed before seeing a health professional who can accurately diagnose your injury.