Effects of sprint versus strength training on risk factors for hamstring injury in football players

Erin Byrd, Anne Delextrat, Gregory Walsh, Luke Taylor, Alessandro Sancese

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BACKGROUND: This study aimed to compare the effects of in-season sprint training vs. Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) training on risk factors for hamstring strain injuries (HSI).

METHODS: Eighteen male university football players (20.9±2.5 years; 181±7 cm; 75.8±9.1 kg; 15.2±3.5% of body fat) were randomly allocated to a sprint group or NHE group. They completed baseline isokinetic strength and sprint mechanics assessments prior to their assigned intervention performed twice weekly for 4-weeks, before post-testing. A mixed design ANOVA with repeated measures assessed time, group and interaction effects for all risk factors.

RESULTS: There were significant increases in hamstring eccentric peak torque at 60°·s -1 (+8% - 9.9%), the torque produced at 20° (+15%) and 10° (+21% - 31%), as well as a rightward shift in angle of peak torque towards knee extension (-27% - -36%) in both groups (P<0.05). We also observed a significant increase (+24.5%) in hamstring eccentric peak torque at 180°·s -1 in the strength group only and significant improvements (+29.4%) in the rate of torque development of the dominant leg at 60°·s -1 in the sprint group only (P<0.05). No significant effect was noted on sprint performance or sprint mechanics (P>0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that both training programs can be effective to mitigate the risk of HSI, but through different mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-587
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number4
Early online date18 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge all the players who took part in the study and the coach for Oxford Brookes Men’s first football team.

Publisher Copyright:


  • Athletes
  • Exercise
  • Muscle strength
  • Sports


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