Feeling a bit Hamstrung?
Hamstring tightness is one of the most common complaints that we hear from runners and field athletes.
What are the hamstrings?
The hamstrings are a group of muscles that make up the back of your thigh, and the main function of these muscles are to bend your knee, and to extend your hip backwards. The hamstrings are very active while running, and even more so while sprinting. It’s therefore not surprising that this muscle group often feels tight during and after a run.
How come stretching hasn’t got rid of my hamstring tightness?
While it’s true that hamstring tightness can be relieved by performing stretching or foam rolling before and after a run, it is not always the answer. The sensation of tightness can be caused by hamstring weakness, and that will require a more involved strengthening program to solve.
If your hamstrings are weak, stretching and foam rolling will relieve the sensation of tightness temporarily, but it will not solve the issue in the long-term. This is because if your hamstrings are weak and constantly feeling tight during and after a run, they are likely fatigued and are unable to tolerate the load that is placed through them.
It is especially important to strengthen your hamstrings if you are returning to running or sport after a long gap in training, as you are at a higher risk of sustaining an injury.
What kind of exercises can I do to strengthen my hamstrings?
There are a number of different exercises that you can perform to strengthen your hamstrings, but a favourite of ours is the Nordic curl. The Nordic curl works the hamstring eccentrically, meaning that the muscle is working while it is lengthening, similar to the load that is put through it while you are running.
If you are looking to add the Nordic curl into your exercise program, make sure to come in and see one of our physios to ensure that you can perform the exercise safely and effectively.
Have a look at our recent Team Tuesday post on Instagram or Facebook of our physios trying out the Nordic curl!