A Test for Pulled Hamstring Risk

Hamstring strength test

Here is a simple test we have adapted for use at home, which may be helpful for predicting your risk of a pulled hamstring. It can show if there are any problems in the area, so if there is you can look at how to prevent hamstring injuries.

Isometric maximum voluntary contraction (MVC test).

The test is particularly useful for sprinters, footballers, and other high-risk athletes as well as those who have had a previous injury and need to be aware of the risk of recurrence. It is known as the isometric maximum voluntary contraction (MVC test).

How to perform the test

The athlete is positioned with the knee bent to 90 degrees with the heel resting on bathroom scales, which are placed on a firm table or box.

The athlete pushes their heel downwards into the table as hard as possible but without lifting their hips or buttocks off the ground.Hold the contraction for three seconds (or if you are using digital scales as long as required to give a reading).

What does the test measure?

The peak force is measured and the test repeated for the other leg. To make the test more accurate a professional therapist would use a sphygmomanometer (sphyg – mom – an – ometer) instead of bathroom scales which is a device consisting of a small airbag connected via a tube to a meter that records air pressure.

How often should I do the test?

If the test is performed weekly then any significant drop in force developed by the hamstring muscles could be an early warning sign that you may be at risk of a hamstring strain. Equally, if one leg is stronger than the other then this also needs to be addressed.

Read more on the treatment, prevention, massage, taping, rehabilitation and exercises for pulled hamstrings.

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