One of your hamstring muscles is probably stronger than the other, an imbalance caused by the fact that most active adults have a dominant side – whether that’s the right or left. A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exerciseexamines whether this imbalance and hamstring weakness are risk factors for team sports injury.

Researchers tested the hamstring strength of 210 Australian football players before and after pre-season training. They found that low hamstring strength increased the risk of a strain up to four times, but that a strength imbalance of 10% between limbs didn’t have an effect on injury.

True Strength Moment: If this research is correct, it’s possible to train your way into a reduced risk of hamstring strains. Researchers suggest that stronger hamstring muscles can even reduce the risk of strains in older athletes as well as players with previous strain type injuries.