You’re running and feeling good, then you decide to sprint. TWANG! Hamstring pull. The back of the leg cramps up and you cannot bend your knee. Muscle pull can happen any time and it’s painful. So what are things you can do to make it better?
First, is to rest and stretch the muscle. Depending on the severity of the pull, you will need to rest that leg longer than expected. The hamstring muscles activate when you bend your knee, so it is vital to avoid exercises that requires a lot of bending in the knees. Then comes the stretching aspect. Reaching for your toes, bringing your leg towards you, anything that promotes lengthening of the hamstring is beneficial.
Secondly, is to strengthen those glutes and hamstrings. Bridges. hip thrust, deadlifts, hip abduction, all are great to develop those areas. Being strong is one thing, but you also want to have stamina in those muscles. For example, the rowing machine is great to challenge the lower half. The constant bending and straightening of the leg challenge the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. When you train, always combine strength and cardio so your body doesn’t have any weaknesses. I have attached two exercises that are great for the glutes and hamstrings at the bottom of this blog.
Lastly, you have to train at the speed you want to perform. Practice makes perfect. For example, if you want your body to be used to sprints, then you have to train at that speed. I like to run intervals at the highest speed on the treadmill (level 12) for 10-15 seconds because I still want the ability to sprint. I run 5k races here and there and usually sprint at the end of the race to finish strong. One of my clients injured his knee during a race when he sprinted at the end. Was this due to a lack of preparation? It’s hard to say, but I know that training at his sprint speed would have helped prepare for the intensity. If you like to run, then it is vital to vary the speed: slow, moderate, and fast.
Overall, hamstring pulls suck. It hurts and it is uncomfortable. So when it happens, rest and stretch. To prevent this from happening, make sure to incorporate exercises that target the glutes and hamstrings. Also, make sure you incorporate sprints in your training program so your body is used to that speed. Hope you liked this week’s blog. Stay tuned for more next Wed……………..Kei