Determinants of hamstring fascicle length in professional rugby league athletes

Journal article


McGrath, Timothy M., Hulin, Billy T., Pickworth, Nathan, Clarke, Alex and Timmins, Ryan G.. (2020). Determinants of hamstring fascicle length in professional rugby league athletes. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 23(5), pp. 524-528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2019.12.006
AuthorsMcGrath, Timothy M., Hulin, Billy T., Pickworth, Nathan, Clarke, Alex and Timmins, Ryan G.
Abstract

Objectives
Investigate the determinants of hamstring fascicle length in professional rugby league players.

Design
Retrospective cohort study

Methods
Thirty-three elite male athletes underwent testing in the pre-season and in-season periods. Fascicle length measurements of the biceps femoris long head, 3D kinematics and elapsed time-periods at thigh angular velocities between 20 °/s to peak velocity during a single-leg Nordic hamstring strength test, GPS-derived running loads, age and previous injury history were all recorded. Fixed effect determinants for fascicle length were analyzed using multiple linear regression.

Results
Significant determinants of hamstring fascicle length were observed. Multivariate regression analysis showed modifiable factors including chronic (56 days) running volumes >80% of measured peak velocity and maximum velocity itself collectively explained 43% of the variability in the fascicle length data, whilst peak eccentric strength and elapsed time under load from 20 °/s to peak thigh angular velocity collectively contributed an additional 44%. Chronic running volumes >90% of individually measured peak velocity and the ‘break angle’ during a Nordic eccentric contraction were not significant contributors to the final model. Non-modifiable risk factors (age and previous injury) contributed the remaining 13%.

Conclusions
Managing high velocity running exposure as well as eccentric strength allows for ˜90% of the controllable determinants in fascicle length within elite athlete populations. An important contributor to the explained variability within fascicle length (superseded only by chronic velocity exposure and peak eccentric strength) was an athletes ability to achieve a prolonged contraction at long lengths during eccentric strength training rather than the angle of failure during the contraction in itself.

Keywordshamstring; injury; speed; strength; prevention; sport
Year2020
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Journal citation23 (5), pp. 524-528
PublisherElsevier Ltd
ISSN1440-2440
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2019.12.006
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85077692575
Open accessPublished as green open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range524-528
Author's accepted manuscript
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Open
Publisher's version
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All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online12 Dec 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Dec 2019
Deposited03 Jul 2021
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