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LTAD - a critique
Demands of the game
Profile of players
Functional screening
Resistance training
Speed and agility training
Integrated game conditioning

Range of motion testing

Test 3: Hamstring test

Assessing hamstring ROM helps indicate whether the player has:

  • Normal hamstring ROM about the hip
  • Restricted ROM about the hip

Figure 4a. The player bends the knee and hip to be tested to 90 degrees.

Figure 4b. The player straightens his lower leg about the knee. Normal ROM is achieved when the player’s lower leg is within 20 degrees of the vertical line (that is >80 degrees).

The hamstring popliteal* test requires the player to lie on their back and with the knee flexed to 90 degrees and the hip flexed at 90 degrees in the starting position. From this start position, the player attempts to straighten the raised leg without changing the position of the knee. The contralateral leg should be rested in a straight leg position on the table or floor. The player is instructed to extend or raise the lower leg until tension is felt in the hamstrings. The angle completed at the fulcrum of the knee is then noted. In Figure 4b above, the angle completed is 75 degrees. Note, attaining an 80 degree position is considered normal.

Please note in Figure 4 that the player has slightly raised his rested leg from the floor thereby tilting the pelvis to a more accommodating position for what may be mistaken as a greater ROM about the knee. This is a common fault in completing this test and the coach must pay careful attention to the rested leg position.

This test is also known as an active straight leg raise (SLR). Other tests such as the ‘sit and reach’ or passive SLR can also be used to indicate hamstring flexibility.

*The popliteal muscle is located at the back of the knee and is active during knee flexion and knee internal rotation.

The evidence

While a history of a previous hamstring strain is a major risk for future hamstring strain, several other factors have been associated with hamstring strain including strength deficits within the eccentric and concentric contraction modes of the hamstring, imbalances between flexors and extensors (hamstrings and quadriceps), weak gluteals, pelvic instability and hamstring flexibility (Woods et al 2004, Koulouris and Connell 2003, Gabbe et al 2005). The latter’s role in hamstring strain is still relatively unclear. Nevertheless, a normal ROM about the knee and hip - as determined by the Modified Thomas Test, facilitated by a normal hamstring ROM - is important for the player.