Soccer-Specific Fatigue and Eccentric Hamstrings Muscle Strength

M. Greig, J. Siegler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Epidemiologic findings of higher incidences of hamstrings muscle strains during the latter stages of soccer match play have been attributed to fatigue. Objective: To investigate the influence of soccer-specific fatigue on the peak eccentric torque of the knee flexor muscles. Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Setting: Controlled laboratory environment. Patients or Other Participants: Ten male professional soccer players (age = 24.7 ± 4.4 years, mass = 77.1 ± 8.3 kg, o2max = 63.0 ± 4.8 mL·kg−1·min−1). Intervention(s): Participants completed an intermittent treadmill protocol replicating the activity profile of soccer match play, with a passive halftime interval. Before exercise and at 15-minute intervals, each player completed isokinetic dynamometer trials. Main Outcome Measure(s): Peak eccentric knee flexor torque was quantified at isokinetic speeds of 180°·s−1, 300°·s−1, and 60°·s−1, with 5 repetitions at each speed. Results: Peak eccentric knee flexor torque at the end of the game (T300eccH105 = 127 ± 25 Nm) and at the end of the passive halftime interval (T300eccH60 = 133 ± 32 Nm) was reduced relative to T300eccH00 (167 ± 35 Nm, P < .01) and T300eccH15 (161 ± 35 Nm, P = .02). Conclusions: Eccentric hamstrings strength decreased as a function of time and after the halftime interval. This finding indicates a greater risk of injuries at these specific times, especially for explosive movements, in accordance with epidemiologic observations. Incorporating eccentric knee flexor exercises into resistance training sessions that follow soccer-specific conditioning is warranted to try to reduce the incidence or recurrence of hamstrings strains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-184
JournalJournal of Athletic Training
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


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