Thursday, 27 January 2011

Hamstings

Following Tuesday evenings 3 x 10 min session, my hamstring was again very tight all the following day. As a result I was reduced to an easy 4 mile on Wednesday evening.

Anyone who has been reading any of my recent posts will realise that I have been having some hamstring issues over the past couple of month. Like most runners I know, when you pick up an injury you are immediately looking for a quick fix/cure/magic, in order to maintain your training schedule.

Invariably we never find the 'magic cure' but it does not stop us looking. So I thought I would share some of the tid bits I have come across during my recent searches.

If you have read any athletics/running magazine over the last year or so you will have had it drummed into you that static stretching is no longer considered best practice.

Static stretching encourages the muscle to relax in order to create elongation. Because a static stretch is done passively, it may create an imbalance with the opposing muscle groups, making the muscle less sensitive to neural messages sent to it by the brain, which reduces its ability to generate force.

The type of stretching we should be doing is active or 'dynamic' stretching.


A dynamic stretch involves actively taking the muscle in and out of a stretch. This will lengthen the muscle, but also prepare it for quick / explosive activity. Therefore, training your hamstrings to stretch dynamically can greatly reduce the risk of tears and other injuries.

For example in the stretch shown the back is stable against the floor using the abdominal muscles and all the muscles of the legs, the gluts,hamstrings and quadriceps, are active to maintain the extension of the knees and to create resistance against the band. When the leg is brought towards the body, the hamstrings are elongated, but the opposing muscle groups are active and the spine and pelvis are stable.

Also quite a useful book I have come across is 'Sports Pilate's - How to prevent and overcome sports injuries' by Paul Massey. The book covers a variety of different sports, with specific exercises / preventative measures/ remedies for each sport. I have found the book to be detailed and well explained, with clear advice.

4 comments:

Antony Bradford said...

Thanks for all that info Alan.

The 'Sports Pilate's' book may turn into the most useful book you have read. After being convinced by a physio to do some Pilate's some months ago I would recommend Pilate's to anyone. It's not a 'magic cure' but very useful to improve running form and for injury prevention.

I don't know how far into the book you are but my understanding of pilate's is; to increase balance, flexibility, core strength and stability through the holistic(all the body) approach. Most runners would argue that the it's only the legs and lungs that they use, whilst ignoring the benefits of a strong core, back and greater flexibility.

All the exercises are done whilst your relaxed and under control with the spine and pelvis remaining stable and in a strait line.

Best of luck with it.

Henry Heavisides said...

Thanks for the ideas on overcoming hamstring problems & injuries in general. Good luck with getting your injury sorted out.

Alan Dent said...

Thanks Antony - for years I was one of those runners who only 'stretched in phases or as rehab from an injury, only to stop again when the problem seemed to be sorted. But a new year and a new me!

Antony Bradford said...

Cheers Alan - I look forward to the updates to let me know how you get on.

Kind regards.