Hamstring Injuries are one of the most common injuries among athletes, and one that can drag on if not addressed properly. With now decades of research of physiology and functional anatomy, we know know and have a better understanding of how to decrease hamstring strains with Eccentric Training (ET).
Eccentric Training is the negative resistance (the lowering of something) away from the center of the joint or mass. The most popular example is the bicep curl, the lowering of the dumbbell is the eccentric portion of the movement, it is also the slowest and most controlled, movement elongating the muscle fibers. This elongating of fiber while under tension is the key to improving muscle fiber strength and reducing injury. Let's take a second to reverse engineer this process...
The Hamstring is not a solo artist, it is part of a group made up of hip extensors and knee flexors. What we have found is that the underlying cause to Hamstring strains are two fold. One: a shortened adductor complex that has caused a anterior pelvic tilt, which doesn't favor the hamstrings because the Quads are the antagonist to the hamstrings. Two: a shortened Calf-Achilles complex due to athletes being in plantar flexion majority of the time. These lead us to approach the athlete slightly different through The Ground Up Method™
Here are a few hamstring prehab training exercises we use in a superset or individually.
1) One of the Prehab Steps we take in preparing for Hamstring Training is lengthening the adductors with rockbacks.
2) Creating more Internal Rotation with 90/90 Hip Mobility. The Adductors and the Hamstrings have Internal Rotation attributes to the Femur.
3) The Single Leg Glute Bridge is a Activation Drill to help fire off the glutes and hamstrings, even a great stretch for the quads!
" 1Hamstring strains account for 12–16% of all injuries in athletes1–5 with a reinjury rate reported as high as 22–34%.2Failing to increase an athlete's eccentric strength in a lengthened position after a hamstring injury may predispose an athlete to subsequent reinjury. Incorporating lengthened state eccentric training may help reduce the rate of reinjury."
4) Eccentric Loading the Hamstrings is the best, and most backed training exercise in current times. There are lots of variations to ET for the Hamstrings however the Nordic Curl is the most researched.
The Second part to Hamstring Prehab is the ability to absorb force. "2 Proponents of hamstring injury during early stance phase of sprinting suggest it is during this phase in which the muscle absorbs the most force as a result of high ground reaction forces. In vivo studies of the Achilles tendon in sprinting and patella tendon in jumping and hopping."
There are several ways you can create more GRF (Ground Reaction Forces) such as Deadlifting, but we are focused strictly on Absorbing the Force of our Mass, Depth Drops would be a good example. Here we have a 14 yo athlete performing depth drops.
Training your hamstrings for agility, speed and strength should become a priority for performance benefits. If you have had a previous hamstring injury or are looking to continue to reduce your risk head over to to grab your prehab training exercises on our home page