Impact of the Nordic hamstring and hip extension exercises on hamstring architecture and morphology: Implications for injury prevention

Bourne, Matthew N., Duhig, Steven, Timmins, Ryan, Williams, Morgan, Opar, David A., Al Najjar, Aiman, Kerr, Graham K., & Shield, Anthony (2017) Impact of the Nordic hamstring and hip extension exercises on hamstring architecture and morphology: Implications for injury prevention. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51(5), pp. 469-477.

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The architectural and morphological adaptations of the hamstrings in response to training with different exercises have not been explored.


  • To evaluate changes in biceps femoris long head (BFLH) fascicle length and hamstring muscle size following 10-weeks of Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) or hip extension (HE) training.


  • Thirty recreationally active male athletes (age, 22.0 ± 3.6 years, height, 180.4 ± 7 cm, weight, 80.8 ± 11.1 kg) were allocated to one of three groups: 1) HE training (n=10), NHE training (n=10), or no training (CON) (n=10). BFLH fascicle length was assessed before, during (Week 5) and after the intervention with 2D-ultrasound. Hamstring muscle size was determined before and after training via magnetic resonance imaging.


  • Compared to baseline, BFLH fascicles were lengthened in the NHE and HE groups at mid- (d = 1.12 – 1.39, p < 0.001) and post-training (d = 1.77 – 2.17, p < 0.001) but remained unchanged for the CON group (d = 0.20 – 0.31, p > 0.05). BFLH volume increased more for the HE than the NHE (d = 1.03, p = 0.037) and CON (d = 2.24, p < 0.001) groups. Compared to the CON group, both exercises induced significant increases in semitendinosus volume (d = 2.16 – 2.50, ≤ 0.002), however, only the HE group displayed increased semimembranosus volume (d= 1.57, p = 0.007).


  • NHE and HE training both stimulate significant increases in BFLH fascicle length, however, HE training may be more effective for promoting hypertrophy in the BFLH and semimembranosus than the NHE.

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ID Code: 98433
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Hamstring strain injury
DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096130
ISSN: 1473-0480
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Sports Medicine (110604)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 B M J Group
Deposited On: 29 Aug 2016 00:43
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2017 10:01

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