According to the data given in table 1, the isometric treatment set for the pre and post measurements remained dissimilar at a 95% confidence level for the entire left and right single leg bridge test and had a mean of 29.85 and 28.80 respectively. Additionally, the standard deviation was 7.34 for the left and 4.62 for the right. In contrast, for the eccentric set the mean was 26.97 and 29.42 for the left and right while the standard deviation was 5.59 and 6.72 respectively. This indicates that isometric training is more effective compared to the eccentric training; therefore it should be applied during exercises. The first main finding of the study is that there is that eccentric hamstring muscle training is less effective compared to isometric training. The results indicate that eccentric exercises did not produce the expected muscle activation levels therefore putting the participants at risk of re-injury.
In this study, one of the main reasons why hamstring muscles are susceptible to injuries is because of their structural arrangement. The hamstring muscle group is a biarticular group which work by extending the hip and flexing the knee. During daily movements, flexion of the knee and the hip take place simultaneously, with contrasting effects on the length of the hamstring. In Gaelic Football, hamstring injuries normally occur when players are running.
The other finding of the study is that the phase of muscle contraction that takes place when muscle shortens is referred to as concentric whereas the contraction phase that takes place when the muscle lengthen is referred to as eccentric. In daily activities, concentric action initiate movements while eccentric ones slow or stop activity. For example, when a Gaelic Football player is running with the ball, the quadriceps muscles propel him forward with concentric actions whereas the hamstrings can reduce running by slow the running. In order to prevent injury and main top performance throughout the entire process, it is important to strengthen the two phases of muscular contraction.
The study also establishes that resistance exercise programs are highly recommended for strengthening of muscles. Eccentric muscle strengthening is particularly important to athletes involved in physically demanding sports like Gaelic Football and rugby. Some of the common resistance training programs range between two to six months are normally designed overload or overwork the muscle therefore increasing its strength, size and power (Schache et al., 12). Many of these programs concentrate on overloading the muscle during the concentric phase, like in biceps or leg extension.
Comparison between interventions in the study and those from past research
Compared to interventions from past research, the ones contained in the research are superior because they take into consideration two factors that previous research ignored. To begin with, the interventions in the research are based on superior and more advanced muscle physiology (Kyrolainen et al., 14). Moreover, these interventions are designed for specific muscles groups therefore making them more effective. As pointed out earlier, training programs from past studies concentrated on overloading the muscle during the concentric phase, like in biceps or leg extension. Thanks to training science, the interventions in the study emphasize the eccentric phase of muscle action.
Due to the fact that an individual can lower more weight than can lift, programs and equipment in the study are designed to take advantage of this. It is normal for individuals to feel like they are exercising at a low level of muscle effort during eccentric workout compared to concentric workouts. Traditional eccentric hamstring exercises involved lifting a weight during the concentric stage and lowering a weight during the eccentric phase. These exercises were designed to maximize strength gain (Kyrolainen et al., 11).
Practical implications and recommendations based on the results
The findings of this research are important because they can help athletes and trainers understand how muscles function and the risk factors for hamstring injuries. Despite the fact that there are many studies exploring hamstring injuries and the best muscle training techniques to stay injury free, very few have compared eccentric and isometric muscle strengthening techniques as far as Gaelic Football is concerned. With this in mind, this study contributes towards understanding the maintenance of eccentric muscular activity among athletes and the likely interaction between eccentric strength and training methods (Schache et al, 11). The findings of this study could also be valuable to training professionals who handle Gaelic Football players, especially when determining the muscle functions to be taken into consideration when designing training equipment.
How the sample was collected
The participants in this study were picked from senior football clubs in Fermanagah, Country Cavan, and Leitrim who met the set criteria. The sample comprised of players who played Gaelic football and had a history of hamstring injuries. Any players with a history of spinal conditions or were lower-limb and required immediate medical attention and could not withstand the exercise were excluded.
The sample that was used in the study comprised of 12 Gaelic footballers who were divided into two groups (Devlin, 29). The sample was collected randomly and the cohorts were informed of their responsibilities during the experiment. The participants were divided into two separate groups with one group undertaking an eccentric program and the other an isometric strengthening program. The cohorts were required to act as their personal control measurements because there was one experimental cohort.
Limitations of the study
The main limitation of the study is that it concentrated on Gaelic Football only and did not consider other games. The findings would have been more conclusive if the muscular demands of other sports like volleyball, cricket, tennis, soccer, rugby and athletics were included. The fact that the study only considered Gaelic Football means that other muscles were not taken into consideration (Devlin, 23). The other limitation of the study is that it did not take into consideration the age of the participants. It would have been important to consider their age because muscular activity declines with age. This means that the muscular ability of an old person is less considered with a young one.
Future research should take into consideration the age of the participants and whether they have been physically active or not. There is no clear research into the difference between active and inactive aged athletes. This is important because muscular activity declines with age. This means that the younger you are, the stronger your muscles are.
Hamstring injuries are common among athletes who take part in sports that involve jumping, running or kicking like Gaelic Football. They usually occur in the late swing phase when running. Hamstring injuries in Gaelic football can be prevented through eccentric and Isometric muscle strengthening (Schache et al. 12). These two muscle training methods are designed to overload or overwork the muscle therefore increasing its strength, size and power. Some common examples of eccentric exercises are Nordic hamstring curl, lowering a dumbbell or calf press off of a stair ledge.
Devlin L. Recurrent posterior thigh symptoms detrimental to performance in rugby union: predisposing factors. Sports Med2000; 29:27387. Web.
Kyrolainen H, Komi PV, Belli A. Changes in muscle activity patterns and kinetics with increasing running speed. J Strength Cond Res. 1999; 13:400-6. Web.
Schache AG, Kim HJ, Morgan DL, et al. Hamstring muscle forces prior to and immediately following an acute sprinting-related muscle strain injury. Gait Posture 2010; 32:136-40. Web.
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