Hamstring injuries are common in sports, they can happen despite player’s position, activity or time of the year. A study from the Journal of Sport Orthopedics Physical Therapy suggests that hamstring strains usually occur when the athlete is in the accelerating or decelerating phase when performing high speed running. The reason behind this statement is that the quad muscles are stronger than the hamstrings. Depending on the severity of the strain, this injury may take up to 6 weeks to recover.
During baseball or softball season, hamstring strains might be difficult to manage and because the probability to get re-injured is higher, it can create a lot frustration in injured players. To decrease the rate of hamstring injuries among baseball and softball players, it is important to have a prevention program that targets the 2 main causes of injury: lack of flexibility and muscle weakness. Here, are 6 exercises that can help prevent injury to the hamstrings. These exercises need to be done twice a week, performing 2 sets of 15 repetitions each.
Also we suggest that, before any kind of physical activity, a 10-minute warm up should be performed, incorporating dynamic and static stretching. In our next article, we will talk about the best warm up exercises and stretches that can be performed to help avoid injury.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL):
Start with both feet together and hinge forward while balancing on your left leg (as pictured). As you are hinging forward, reach with right hand toward the left shoe. The right leg will act as a counter balance and try to keep it in line with the torso as you bow forward. As you return to standing, think about pushing through your mid-foot and heel to engage your glutes while helping you return to standing. To progress this, you may hold dumbbell or kettle-bell to make it more difficult. (2-3 sets of 15).
Make sure your first movement is to sit your hips back. Try to keep the knees from moving forward. Keep the back straight, not vertical…it will be hinged forward at the hips. To stand, push your feet into the ground — focusing on pushing through your mid-foot and heel to help engage your hamstrings and glutes (2-3 sets of 15).
Bow/hinge forward keeping your knees and back straight. Go forward until you feel a hamstring stretch, then engage your glutes as you push your heels into the ground to help you stand back up (2-3 sets of 15).
Single leg bridge:
Start as pictured above, push through the heel on the floor to extend your hip toward the ceiling. Make sure you actively engage your glutes as you perform the movement (2-3 sets of 15).
Physioball Hamstring Curls:
This exercise has 4 motions: 1. Legs straight and hips elevated 2. Bend knees and bring ball back 3. Roll ball away from you 4. Lower hips to the ground (not pictured) (2-3 sets of 15).
Nordic Hamstring Exercise:
Have your teammate hold your ankles, bow/hinge forward at your knees while keeping your body straight, then return to the starting position. Make sure you don’t go too far forward (2-3 sets of 15).
Frank Ovalles, A.T.C
By Frank Ovalles / March 11, 2015