Eccentric Cycling Is an Alternative to Nordic Hamstring Exercise to Increase the Neuromuscular Function of Knee Flexors in Untrained Men

Omar Valdes, Sixto Inzulza, Nicolas Collao, Sebastián Garcia-Vicencio, James J. Tufano, Jacob Earp, Mauricio Venegas, Luis Peñailillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ABSTRACT: Valdes, O, Inzulza, S, Collao, N, Garcia-Vicencio, S, Tufano, JJ, Earp, J, Venegas, M, and Peñailillo, L. Eccentric cycling is an alternative to Nordic hamstring exercise to increase the neuromuscular function of knee flexors in untrained men. J Strength Cond Res 37(11): 2158-2166, 2023-Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) has been proposed to reduce knee flexor (KF) injuries. However, submaximal alternatives to NHE are necessary for the clinical or weaker population. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of Nordic hamstring training (NHT) and eccentric cycling (ECC) training on the neuromuscular function of the KF. Twenty healthy men (27.7 ± 3.5 years) were randomly assigned into 2 groups that performed 10 training sessions (2-3 sessions·week-1) of either NHT (n = 10) or ECC (n = 10). Maximal voluntary isometric contraction of the KF and knee extensor (KE) muscles (MVICKF and MVICKE) was measured, and the hamstring/quadriceps strength (H/Q) ratio was calculated. Furthermore, changes in NHE maximum reaction force (NHE-MRFKF), NHE break-point angle (NHE-BPA), and muscle activity of the semitendinosus (STEMG) and biceps femoris (BFEMG) during the NHE after the interventions were compared. Although no group × time effects were observed (p = 0.09-0.70), but time effects were found for all variables. Pairwise comparisons revealed that MVICKF (+16.9%; p = 0.02), H/Q ratio (+11.8%; p = 0.01), NHE-MRFKF (+19.8%; p = 0.005), and NHE-BPA (+30.8%; p = 0.001) increased after ECC, whereas NHE-MRFKF (+9.7%; p = 0.003), NHE-BPA (+35.5%; p = 0.0002), and STEMG (+33.7%; p = 0.02) increased after NHT. A group × time effect was observed (p = 0.003) in BFEMG, revealing an increase only after ECC (+41.1%; p < 0.0001). Similar neuromuscular adaptations were found after both training modalities. Therefore, ECC provides similar adaptations as NHT and may serve as an alternative form of KF training for those unable to perform NHE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2158-2166
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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