Objectives: To evaluate the effect of a Nordic hamstring exercise or Diver hamstring exercise intervention on biceps femoris long head, semitendinosus and semimembranosus muscle's fascicle length and orientation through diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) with magnetic resonance imaging. Methods: In this three-arm, single-center, randomized controlled trial, injury-free male basketball players were randomly assigned to a Nordic, Diver hamstring exercise intervention or control group. The primary outcome was the DTI-derived fascicle length and orientation of muscles over 12 weeks. Results: Fifty-three participants were included for analysis (mean age 22 ± 7 years). Fascicle length in the semitendinosus over 12 weeks significantly increased in the Nordic-group (mean [M]: 20.8 mm, 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 7.8 to 33.8) compared with the Control-group (M: 0.9 mm, 95% CI: −7.1 to 8.9), mean between-groups difference: 19.9 mm, 95% CI: 1.9 to 37.9, p = 0.026. Fascicle orientation in the biceps femoris long head over 12 weeks significantly decreased in the Diver-group (mean: -2.6°, 95% CI: −4.1 to −1.0) compared with the Control-group (mean: −0.2°, 95% CI: −1.4 to 1.0), mean between-groups difference: -2.4°, 95% CI: −4.7 to −0.1, p = 0.039. Conclusion: The Nordic hamstring exercise intervention did significantly increase the fascicle length of the semitendinosus and the Diver hamstring exercise intervention did significantly change the orientation of fascicles of the biceps femoris long head. As both exercises are complementary to each other, the combination is relevant for preventing hamstring injuries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-406
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number4
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • diffusion tensor imaging
  • fascicle length
  • hamstring injury
  • pennation angle

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