Hamstring injuries are frequent and costly for professional soccer players and important for all active people to avoid. Medical professionals with the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) developed an injury prevention program that blends evidence-based methods and practical considerations. It emphasizes the need for individualized training that targets an athlete’s specific risk factors, based on ongoing screening and monitoring. Here is FIFA’s five-point strategy:
- Strengthen the hamstring muscles.
- Optimize training balance to ensure that players are not overworking and have adequate rest and recovery time.
- Implement a lumbo-pelvic-hip stability training program, since the pelvis is responsible for load transfer between the lower limbs and the spine.
- Develop physical conditioning that includes general lower-body compound strength and cardiovascular fitness.
- Focus on movement quality for exercises like the squat, step-lunge, hinge, and jump and land, since movement quality improves functional strength, enhances performance and reduces injury.
To learn more, read the recommendations and reasons behind each point in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2019; doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-099616).
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