Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hamstring Injury Prevention

There are few injuries as bothersome and harder to recover from than hamstring injuries. Prevention of hamstring injuries is the best solution.

Similarly, weak hamstrings can lead to other serious injuries. For example, female athletes tend to have weaker hamstrings because they use their quadriceps muscles more while walking and running.

This means females use their strong quadriceps muscles and do not adequately activate their weak hamstrings. The hamstring muscle group acts to protect the anterior cruciate knee ligament (ACL) and the opposing quadricep muscle group places stress on the ACL. Therefore, quadricep dominant muscle work demonstrated by any athlete places excessive stress (and many times serious injury) on the ACL.



Every athlete runs a higher risk of serious knee injury when the quadriceps are significantly stronger than the hamstrings. The best prevention for hamstring injuries and hamstring-related injuries are adequate flexibility and strength.

The athlete is also at risk of a hamstring injury when the gluteus maximus doesn't fire properly. When the hip flexors are tight, they cause weakness in the gluteus maximus.

This often leads to the hamstrings doing the work that the gluteus maximus should be doing. And, since the hamstrings are not equipped to handle this type of workload, injury to the hamstrings is the result. Therefore, it is critical to have flexible hip flexors. Below is a good hip flexor stretch:



Bridges are a good exercise to activate the glutes.

Try these flexibility and strength exercises for your hamstrings:

Hamstring Flexibility - walking lunges, resistance band eccentric stretch and static stretch (static stretch should be done after workout or game).

Hamstring Strength - lying or standing hamstring machine curl, deadlift, good morning exercise (with or without weights) and russian hamstring curl.

Injury prevention is definitely better than the cure! In part 4 of this series, I will cover an injury called throwers elbow.

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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  3. Hi there,
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