Sprinting either in track or sport requires rapid, high force muscle contractions across the lower body. If the forces utilized during the acceleration phase of running are greater than the capacity of the muscle to absorb these forces injuries can occur. Hamstring strains in this population of runners are common due to the rapid shortening and lengthening of the contracting muscles. We have previously written on our Physical Therapy blog on the diagnosis and treatment of these injuries, but off season and in season strengthening remains the standard of care. Specifically, nordic hamstring curls are often prescribed for sprinting athletes but a recent research article highlights other exercises which be used for hamstring strengthening among sprinters.
In the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy authors studied healthy male participants as they sprinted and performed a variety of hamstring strengthening exercises (van den Tillaar et al. 2017). The authors measured hamstring muscle recruitment and lower body biomechanics during each of these tasks to determine which Physical Therapy exercises best represent the muscular and biomechanical demands of sprinting. The authors report the nordic hamstring curl, as well as, the laying kick activate the hamstring muscles at a high enough level and similar joint angle to benefit sprinters' strength training programs.
To learn more on which exercises are best for your activity contact your local Physical Therapist.