In our previous blog we talked about causes of hamstring strains. Now we will concentrate on what to do to prevent hamstring strains or the re-occurrence of hamstring strains. The three primary causes we focused on were eccentric (muscle lengthened) hamstring strength, pelvic positioning, and glute activation.
In order to strengthen the eccentric (lengthened) component of the hamstrings we need to utilize exercises that eccentrically load the hamstrings. Two exercises that are good at improving eccentric strength of the hamstrings are the Nordic hamstring curl and single leg RDL. For both exercises the key is the slow lowering to stress the eccentric activation of the hamstrings.
In order to work on pelvic positioning, 90/90 breathing is the initial starting point. By bringing the legs up to a 90/90 position on the wall, it brings the pelvis into neutral position as well as the low back. You should not be able to fit a hand underneath your low back, this makes sure you are not overarching the low back. The most important part is working to breathe deep into the pelvis to generate pressure (intra-abdominal pressure) to help stabilize the low back and pelvis. The goal is to progress to doing it without the support of the wall, and eventually adding movement of the legs while maintaining a neutral spine and intra-abdominal pressure. The progression is key because that is how we start to retrain maintaining neutral spine with movement.
There are many exercises to activate the glutes. Split squats is one that falls under both glute activation and eccentric hamstring strength. They are very good at activating the glutes during the exercise, as well as still getting some eccentric activation of the hamstrings with the hip going into flexion.
Hamstring strains are very common and can be a nagging injury that lingers. We discussed the role of the hamstrings and three common mechanisms of injury. The exercises discussed above are important in preventing and recovering from a hamstring strain, and should be implemented into training or rehab programs. If you have any question or want to learn more contact our office today for a complementary consultation with one of our highly qualified doctors. TROSS proudly serves the Cottleville, St. Peters, St. Charles, O’fallon, and St. Louis, MO communities.