Body Specific Injury Prevention:
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Posted June 03, 2010
By Doug Hix
Playing explosive sports like football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, tennis, baseball and softball can lead to strained (pulled) hamstrings. Hamstring strains generally occur in sports that demand explosive starting and stopping movements. One thing that most people experience when they strain a muscle is that it is not necessarily a traumatic impact injury. You cannot actually see the strain occur. When an athlete sprains an ankle, oftentimes you see it happen. When an athlete separates their shoulder you can see the cause of the shoulder separation. However, with strained hamstrings there is no single observable event.
So what causes a hamstring strain? There are two primary factors leading to strained hamstrings. These two factors are biomechanical issues and muscular imbalances.
The primary biomechanical issue that may cause a strained hamstring is a hip functioning problem. When the hip is not functioning properly, the muscles have to over work to make motion happen. A hip functioning problem needs to be diagnosed by a professional. If you are hindered by chronic hamstring problems you may want to seek out a biomechanical specialist. We would be happy to provide a referral if you need one.
The second factor that may cause a strained hamstring is a muscular imbalance when one muscle group is over developed compared to another. When dealing with hamstrings, an overdeveloped quadriceps muscle will lead to an imbalance. Muscular imbalance is an issue that can be avoided with a proper training program.
Another type of imbalance is eccentric training compared to concentric training. Concentric training is moving the body by creating strong forces and eccentric training is stopping the strong force that has been created. Hamstring strains most often occur during an eccentric contraction of the hamstring because that is typically the hamstrings role. You project your body forward by using the quadriceps (concentric/producing force), however your hamstring actually has to stop the leg from going forward and pull it down towards the ground (eccentric/stopping force). This is important to understand because traditional training doesnâ€™t focus so much on eccentric (stopping force) as concentric (creating force).
You can prevent a hamstring injury by training for balance in your legs. To ensure balance in your lower body training regimen, include eccentric training in your routine.
Click on play video below the picture and you will see an example of a hamstring and quadriceps eccentric training exercise. If you enjoy the exercise shown in the video and would like to see more exercises, you will want to sign-up for our online membership for only $10 a month by clicking here. You will get access to training programs, drill videos, goal setting and motivational videos that are updated weekly. In addition you will get access to all of our lower body training programs that include “Eccentric Training.”