A novel field test of eccentric hamstring strength: a reliability and injury study

David Opar, Timothy Piatkowski, Anthony Shield, M Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


Introduction: Hamstring strain injuries (HSIs) and reinjuries are the most common injury in sport. Eccentric knee flexor weakness is a major modifiable risk factor, however there is a lack of accessible methodologies. The purpose of this study was (1) to determine if a novel device, designed to measure eccentric knee flexor strength, displays acceptable test–retest reliability; (2) to determine normative values for eccentric knee flexor strength derived from the experimental device in individuals without a history of HSI and; (3) to determine if the device could detect weakness in elite athletes with a previous history of unilateral HSI.

Methods: The device consists of padded ankle braces with load cells located directly underneath and a base furnished with foam padding. During the eccentric portion of the Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) the lower leg pulls up against the braces with the force recorded by the load cells. Thirty active males (22.5 ± 2.3 years; 1.81 ± 0.06 m; 80.5 ± 8.5 kg) without a history of HSI completed NHEs and had their strength measured on the device on two separate occasions. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), typical error (TE) and typical error as a co-efficient of variation (%TE) were established. Normative strength data was determined using the most reliable measurement. An additional 20 elite athletes from Australian football, rugby union and track and field with a unilateral history of HSI within the last 12 months performed NHEs on the device to determine if eccentric weakness existed. Each group performed a single set of three NHEs on the experimental device to determine strength.

Results: The device displayed high to moderate reliability (ICC = 0.85–0.90; TE = 21.7–27.5 N; %TE = 5.8–8.5). Normative eccentric strength for the left (344.7 ± 61.1 N) and right (361.2 ± 65.1) limbs were determined in the uninjured group. The previously injured limbs were 15% weaker than contralateral uninjured limbs (mean difference = 50.3 N; 95% CI = 25.7–74.9 N; p = 0.0002), 15% weaker than the normative left limb data (mean difference = 50.0 N; 95% CI = 1.4–98.5 N; p = 0.0437) and 18% weaker than the normative right limb data (mean difference = 66.5 N; 95% CI = 18.0–115.1 N; p = 0.0080).

Discussion: The experimental device offers a reliable method to determine eccentric knee flexor strength and strength asymmetry and was able to detect weakness in previously injured elite athletes similar to other previously validated methodologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e41-e41
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'A novel field test of eccentric hamstring strength: a reliability and injury study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this