Hamstring It

As an athlete it's crucial to never neglect the "Go" muscles of the body. What are the "Go" muscles you ask? Sometimes when people lift they stand in front of the mirror and work on the "Show" muscles. Anterior, front, of the body is for show and posterior, back, is for Go. Aside from being a dangerous path to idolizing the temple, this decreases a persons athletic potential.

The most common imbalance I can think of is the Quad and Hamstring. [a little anatomy] The Quad is made of 4 strong muscles and is anterior. The Hamstring is made of 3 muscles and is posterior. They both originate around the hip and innervate, end, around the knee and tibia. The Quad is responsible for extending the knee and flexing the hip and the hamstring is the antagonist, does the opposite. Ideally the strength ratio of Hamstring to Quad is between 2:3 and 3:4.

To achieve this ratio an athlete has to spend a lot of time either moving with a full range of motion or training hamstring specific. It's very easy for an athlete to work out their Quads by doing pulls, dead lifts, high squats, and assisted upper body movements. When the athlete then goes to the field to run both quad and ham are being worked, never allowing the hamstring to catch up. A very common consequence is a pulled hammy. Exercises such as: back peddle running; deep [below parallel] squats; RDL; Glute ham machine; even using a leg curl can assist in some of your training. As a side note, I believe anything machine related should only be in a therapeutic exercise setting.

The consequences of poor hamstring strength stretch further than a muscle tweak. A study was done on athletes who had poor hamstring quad strength ratios [peak torque was less than 45 Nm]. They tested the mechanical compromise of them during the landing phase of a jump. The compromise led to increased ACL loading and a higher possibility for injury [1].
weak hamstring on the left
If an injury in the hamstring does occur there are ways to increase recovery. Number one is rest. Without proper healing and laying of collagen at first, full contraction will be almost impossible. One research showed that following normal recovery protocol it took an athlete 6 months AFTER RETURNING TO A SPORT to reach optimal strength even due to heavy scar tissue [2]. The research suggested that neural strength could compensate for muscular atrophy. However, by having a rehab protocol that breaks down collagen build up can make buildup stronger. Techniques such as pressure ball and foam rolling can be used.

Every training regimen should have specific Posterior chain [hamstring, glute, etc.] specific workouts. If what you're doing lacks these things you should without a doubt do some "Go" work.  What you can't see in a mirror is more important than what you can.

Matt 6:21 - "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"

  1. Wild CYSteele JRMunro BJ. (Oct 2012) Insufficient Hamstring Strength Compromises Landing Technique in Adolescent Girls.
  2. Sanfilippo JSilder ASherry MATuite MJHeiderscheit BC. (oct 2012) Hamstring Strength and Morphology Progression after Return to Sport from Injury.

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.