Have you ever experienced a pulled hamstring?
If you haven’t consider yourself lucky. It’s not much fun at all.
And once you’re in this situation there are definite limitations on what you are able to do. For example you can’t run off and join a marching army if you had that in mind.
So what can you do?
Well, besides rest, maybe a trip to physio or massage you need to figure out what lead to this problem in the first place? I mean it’s great if you can get treatment for your immediate symptom(s) but what caused you to become injured in the first place?
Well that’s a more loaded question. But you’re in luck as a pulled my hamstring yesterday running sprints.
And hopefully I’ve learned my lesson and will do what I would tell all of you to do in order to get healthy and back to activity as soon as possible.
With that in mind here are my Top 6 Tips to Get Myself Back to Running ASAP.
***Before you should read on you need to understand this is not meant to diagnose an injury. And I am speaking of my own personal situation which is different from everyone else’s. Lastly, don’t disregard the need for manual therapy to ensure a complete recovery.***
Tip #1 – Listen to Your Body
When you push your body to the limit it will give you feedback. It will tell what was sore and tight. It will tell you where you absorbed most of the load. It will give you insights into what you need to address before you get to the point of injury. Ignore these signs and pay the price later. Looking back I’ll admit there were signs I ignored.
Tip #2 – Stop Sitting Around
This last week has had me at the computer more than usual. And for longer days than usual.
What does this mean? It means poor posture, tight hips, lengthened glutes and contracted hamstrings. Nothing that lends itself to sprinting.
What should I have done? Changed my position more frequently. Taken more frequent breaks from sitting. Stretched every now and again as well as tried to activate the muscles I was sitting on.
Tip #3 – More Unilateral Training
We never pull both hamtrings at the same time, do we? Picture a sprinter in a race reaching back to grab their hamstring as it pulls. They don’t reach for both, do they?
No it’s always one at first. But recently my training has been more bilateral. I’ve done 2 legged front squats and 2 legged deadlifts. Where is the single leg work in my program which would train my legs as I use them in sprinting? My bad 🙁
Tip #4 – More Recovery & Regeneration
When I get busy I trim things from my schedule which I think I can get away with. And unfortunately some of the post workout stretching gets eliminated when I’m busy. I can think of at least a few workouts where I’ve completed the work and not done a complete cool down and stretch.
Tip #5 – More Lower Abdominal and Hip Flexor Work
Similar to my point above regarding unilateral (single) leg training I know I should be doing more lower ab and hip flexor training. I know it. And as these muscles don’t get the attention and strength they deserve there is an unbalanced relationship regarding the tension on the other side of the leg, namely the hamstrings.
Tip #6 – Get My A#$ Working
On of the first terms I remember learning when I started out in this profession was synergistic dominance. This is a fancy way of saying the neighbouring muscle will pick up the slack of a weaker or inhibited muscle.
And we already saw how if I don’t train my hip flexors and lower abs there will be an imbalance with respect to the hamstrings. Since the hamstrings are already doing extra work, and the glutes aren’t, there is even more demands put on the hammies to help me sprint.
So a little bit of bridging and glute activation may go a long way to helping ease the burden put upon the hamstrings.
It’s easy when we get injured to think the cause is at the site of the injury. Hopefully this article will help you realize the problem is little bigger than that and there are a number of things you can do to fix the problem and return to activity sooner.