Eccentric Hamstring Exercises

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The Best Hamstring Exercises: Eccentric Exercise

Eccentric hamstring exercises have been shown to prevent initial and recurrent hamstring injuries. These eccentric exercises are a vital part of breaking the cycle of pain, atrophy, weakness and re-injury. The following are several examples of exercises to incorporate into your rehabilitation.

These exercises are more difficult and should be incorporated into your routine as your rehab progresses. It is best to get approval of either Dr. Miller and/or your physical therapist. An eccentric contraction is a motion where the muscle is activated while lengthening under a given load.


What is an Eccentric Exercise?

An eccentric contraction is when the muscle is activated while at full extension without disengaging completely. It is important to differentiate between eccentric and concentric contraction. A concentric contraction occurs when the muscle is contracted and partially is shortened while loosening partially at the time of full contraction.

An eccentric contraction occurs when the muscle is fully extended, fully lengthened, and partially contracted with a full-bored group of muscles in the lower extremities. Exercise Modifications to Eccentric Exercises Not all exercises are appropriate for all patients, even if you have had a hamstring injury in the past.Eccentric Hamstring Exercises


-Place weight or theraband around the ankle of the affected leg (if available). If using a
theraband, attach band around both legs as seen in above picture to provide resistance.
-Cue for a 1-2-3 count on the way up and a 1-2-3-4-5 count on the way down
emphasizing this tempo to enforce time under tension while extending the leg
-Complete 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions Eccentric Hamstring Exercises


-Place exercise band around ankle of affected ankle and maintain proper seating
posture. The other end of the band needs to be fixed to something directly in front of
-Cue for 1-2-3 count while bending your leg towards you, then emphasize a 1-2-3-4-5
count while allowing your leg to return to an extended (straightened) position.
-Complete 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions


-Lay supine on the floor placing both feet (heels) on the top of an exercise ball or gliders.
-Start with your knees straight and lift your buttocks from the floor into a bridge
-With heels on the ball/glider, curl your legs bringing your heels towards your buttocks.
Then return your legs to a straightened position and return buttocks to the floor. Make
sure to slowly return legs to a fully extended position to emphasize the eccentric
movement. This is one repetition.
-To make this exercise more difficult you can progress to doing the exercise one legged
while the opposite leg remains in the air.
-Complete 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.Eccentric Hamstring Exercises


-While kneeling, lock both ankles down with a piece of gym equipment or with the
hands of a helper.
-Slowly lower the torso forward while keeping the thighs in line with your torso, keeping
the body in a straight line the whole time. Lower your body slowly until you feel you can
not control the movement any longer.
-Place your hands in front of you to lower yourself to the floor. Then use your hands to
propel yourself upwards to repeat the longer portion again. Again emphasizing the
lowering motion to highlight the eccentric portion.
-Complete 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions


-Stand tall with the torso straight, feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
(Weights are optional to make exercise more difficult)
-Keep your knees slightly bent and hinge forward at your hips while keeping your back
-Continue to lower until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings then bring the torso up
straight again by extending your hips until you are back at the starting position. This is
one rep.
-Complete 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.Eccentric Hamstring Exercises


-Standing on one foot, get a slight bend in that knee. (Weights are optional)
-Similar to the previous exercise, bend forward at the waist hinging at the hips and
keeping your back straight while extending the opposite leg behind you (as picture
above).Eccentric Hamstring Exercises
-Your torso and opposite leg should be in line at the end of the movement and should
move together as one unit as you return to a standing position.
-Complete 3 sets of 10 repetition on each leg

Why Should You Do Eccentric Exercises?

Eccentric contractions strengthen your entire hamstring area without increasing the working moment of tension on your hamstring muscles. Eccentric contractions also stabilize your knee and hips, thereby minimizing the strain placed on the tibia and femur as well as the calf and ankle. Eccentric contractions also improve the performance of your core and body.Eccentric Hamstring Exercises

R. Baker, P. Jaggi, M. A. Taylor, J. Rossman, J. M. Smith, A. Nock, P. Lebedev, T. Lindley, J. F. Olson, J. Nowak, C. T. von Kirchheim. “Eccentric Weights and Activity to Rehabulate the Injured Hamstring”. J Musculoskelet. 2013 Dec;8(12):1815-22. doi: 10.1007/s00221-013-1522-8. PMID: 6188398 “Hamstring injury prevention: a review”. Jon M. Olsson, Joakim Lindeberg, Sven E. Johansson, Tore V.Eccentric Hamstring Exercises

The Best Hamstring Exercises

Eccentric exercise is one of the most important things you can do in your rehab program. The majority of hamstring injuries are not because of a defect in muscle fiber length or activation in the hip flexors. The majority of hamstring injuries are due to a mechanical anomaly. Over use, weak muscle endurance, muscle imbalances and imbalances in muscle size all reinforce an injury. Eccentric training repairs the mechanism by which these mechanical imbalances occur and may lead to healing of a mechanical or other imbalances in the muscle.Eccentric Hamstring Exercises



The picture below shows the unilateral posterior tibialis deploris muscle. The muscle presents on the back side of the lower leg. When an athlete injures the hamstring, the muscle often has atrophy as the weight is off of the body. Exercises designed to strengthen this muscle are essential to successful rehabilitation of hamstring injuries.Eccentric Hamstring Exercises

Isotonic Exercise Definition


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