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Bye, Bye Hamstring Pulls

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Hey RIF REVers! 

There is confusion as to what part of running, and your running gait is responsible for on-setting hamstring injuries: pulls, tears and even ruptures.

People think hamstring injuries are caused from the “push off” in to the movement phase of running. This, in most instances, is not correct. “Pushing off” is generally caused using your Achilles and calves and injuries in those areas are often because of this occurrence. Hamstring injuries are actually most commonly because of “Pulling” your leg backwards in that next phase of movement, but let me explain:

When you over-stride and plant in front of your hips this causes a “braking” effect, your hips commonly sink, as do your knees. From this position, if you’re sunken through your knees (hyper-flexed) and hips, then you have to seriously over-work your hamstrings to bring your leg back from this position (with the hamstrings and gluteal muscles mainly responsible for bringing the leg backwards when running).

When you over-work your hamstrings in this way, particularly in your shorter, faster races, the muscles are being over-worked - shortening and lengthening (working concentrically and eccentrically) - which not only increases the production of lactate, makes your muscles work too hard, but is more likely to become inflamed and develop small tears, causing pain. 

The key to prevent hamstring pain is to learn how to move using gravity (please refer to our “finding your ‘sweet spot’” video, planting behind your hips. With movement created using the upper-body, your feet will comes backwards naturally (even with your lower body relaxed) because of friction at your feet make contact with the ground. If you do this, you don’t have to “push” using your calves or importantly “Pull” by over-working your hamstrings.

So learn how to move efficiently without relying on “Power” and give your hamstrings a nice break!

Bye, Bye Hamstring pains!


William Wragg

Warning: This blog is intended as a starting point for runners to understand their body and begin to address weaknesses and tension that can lead to injury. It does not constitute advice and is not a treatment tool. If you have any health condition or injury whatsoever, check with your personal health care practitioner before attempting any strategy listed. Use at your own risk and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.



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