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Developing Strong Hamstrings

According to the Journal of Sport and Health Science, hamstring strains are one of the most common sports injuries. The journal reports that, “a review of the medical database of the National Football League (NFL) between 1987 and 2000 indicated that 10% of all injuries in American college football players likely to play in the NFL were hamstring strain injuries.” It’s also been reported that “12% of all injuries in NFL training camps were hamstring strain injuries, making it the second most commonly seen injury.”

One of the main causes of hamstring injury is fatigue—both systemic and muscular. The December issue of the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research reported that, “47% of hamstring injuries were sustained during the final 15 minutes of the first and second halves of match play in soccer.”

Combine excess fatigue with deficits in hamstring strength-endurance and the athlete is at greater risk to sustain a hamstring strain, or tear, which takes significantly longer to recover.

One exercise, the Single Leg Hamstring Bridge, has been used as a gage to hamstring risk relative to strength-endurance, when the test subject fails to perform at minimum 25 repetitions in each leg.

Single Leg Hamstring Bridge:

In a supine position with one heel of your foot on a 60-cm box or supported chair—place the elevated, working leg at a 20-degree bend into knee flexion. The non-working leg is bent and in close proximity to working leg. Place your arms across the chest and push through their heel to lift their hips off the ground, such that the working hip achieves full hip extension. Then lower down again. If you need additional support, the heel of the bent, non-working leg can be in contact with the ground to aid the lift of the working leg. Perform repetitions to tolerance.

Remember, you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise, diet, or nutritional supplementation program.

Mackie and April share exercises every Wednesday on WWL-TV