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Try This Revolutionary Exercise to Prevent Hamstring Injuries!

July 19, 2017 in Articles
Posted by Jason Arnett
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If you’ve ever experienced a hamstring injury, you know the pain and rehabilitation time accompanying it are not fun. You may also be scared of injuring yourself again if you are an active individual. Fear not! There’s a better way to prevent hamstring injuries that don’t involve reducing exercise intensity or hours of ice packs.

WHY DOES A HAMSTRING INJURY OCCUR?

Most, but not all, hamstring injuries occur when someone is running really fast or their sport requires explosive bursts of speed. During the running cycle, your hamstring functions to slow down your lower leg when the other leg is way out in front of you. In the PT biz we call this an eccentric contraction. The muscle is contracting but it’s also allowing the muscle to lengthen. This type of movement requires a lot of force, and therefore demand on the muscle. It’s working much harder than when you bend your knee during a typical hamstring curl and this type of force is exactly why hamstrings become injuries. If you aren’t training the hamstring to withstand this type of eccentric load, then you are more susceptible to an injury.

HOW TO PREVENT HAMSTRING INJURIES

Minor hamstring injuries can be treated with rest, elevation of the leg, and icing but wouldn’t it be easier and safer to prevent the injury in the first place?

Enter the Nordic hamstring exercise. This revolutionary exercise has shown promising results to decrease the hamstring injury rate by 60% and decrease hamstring injury reoccurrences by 85% following a 10 week training program in elite soccer players [Peterson, et. al., 2011].

HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT:

Start in the kneeling position on the ground with your upper body held rigid and straight. Have a friend secure your ankles to ensure that the feet stay in contact with the ground throughout the movement. Then, slowly lean forward toward the ground to contract the hamstrings {this mimics activating the eccentric phase}. Use your hamstrings to brake the forward fall for as long as possible. Use your arms/hands to buffer the fall and let your chest touch the ground, immediately pushing upright to begin the exercise again. Be warned – this exercise can be difficult so start off easy and work your way up!

 

If you are interested in learning more injury prevention techniques, or are looking for tools to maximize your athletic potential, contact Carrie or Jason at Virginia Therapy & Fitness Center today!

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Source:

1. Peterson, Jesper, Kristian Thorborg, and Michael Bachmann Nielsen. "Preventive Effect of Eccentric Training on Acute Hamstring Injuries in Men’s Soccer." The American Journal of Sports Medicine. N.p., 08 Aug. 2011. Web. 19 June 2017.

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